The trail is intermediate level and around two miles one-way. It can have loose sand and rocks in places, and sometimes on inclines and declines, so you'll want to be careful at those areas.
While the route to the hot springs passes several unmarked trail crossings and roads and can be pretty confusing without navigation, a map is posted at the trailhead for hikers to take a picture of, which will help when reaching these forks. Rocks on the route have also been painted with turquoise/blue dots to mark the correct route.
The hike is dry, hot, and has no coverage. So you'll want to protect yourself from the sun (hats, sunscreen, etc.) and bring plenty of water. If you go in the summer, it can be brutal sometimes. Lots of people go really early so it's cool out.
The trail starts at Deep Creek Hot Springs Campground. You can park there for the day or overnight though all users are required to pay a day use ($10 per person) or camping ($15 per person) fee. Upon reaching the bottom of the trail, hikers will need to swim across the brisk creek in order to reach the hot spring pools.
The trail is reached by parking at the far lower end of the campground and proceeding toward a tall pole. Several signs in the campground point hikers in the right direction as well. Near the base of this pole is a map which hikers can take a picture of to help with navigating the network of trails to reach the springs. There are a lot of little off trails, but if you stick to the map and pay attention you'll be fine. Make sure you are paying attention so you know how to get back. The trail isn't idiot proof - you can get lost! Keep an eye on the Hiking Project mobile app
Bring a light! If you stay late, and the sun goes down, it is PITCH BLACK outside. I have seen many people returning on the way back struggling with their cellphone lights that hopefully have enough battery power to get them back. I have helped lots of people lost entirely because, not only did they not pay attention to the trail on the way in, but they had no light at all to get back. Be prepared. Do not rely on your cellphone.
The trail is hardpacked dirt and sand. While the majority of the hike in is a gradual downhill, the final quarter mile is down steep and slippery gravel. Hikers should also be aware that there is very little shade along the hike, so water and sunscreen are essential for this route.
Descending into the San Bernardino Mountains, the path traces arid hillside, though there can be bursts of wildflowers if seasonal conditions are right, and hikers might see and hear an abundance of wildlife such as lizards, birds, rabbits, and moths during early morning or nighttime hours.
At the bottom, hikers must swim across the cool 35 foot wide waters of Deep Creek which flows from a combination of springs and snowmelt in the mountains. While the hot springs vary in temperature from warm to hot and are a welcome relief after crossing the cold water, making the second cold swim on your way out is a little less exciting.
The hot springs consist of several pools, mostly nestled into the stone boulders, but one cooler pool sits at the edge of the creek a few paces upstream from the rocks. The springs are natural. It is maintained somewhat by people who have been coming for 30+ years. There are no bathrooms, benches, tables, water that is not the creek, springs, lights, electricity, trash cans, etc. This place is 100% nature. There is nothing for miles. You carry in what you want, and carry out everything you came with. Don't litter.
Lastly, the springs is clothing optional. If nudity scares you, this is not the place for you. It is usually about 50/50 clothed vs non-clothed people. Adults and children alike. Everyone is really cool about it, too. So don't freak.
No GLASS bottles allowed.
There is wildlife. The most common is fish in the creek, lizards, and snakes. They seem to be more common at night. I have been sitting in the springs and have seen them slithering their way across the creek. I have caught and relocated a few from people who were terrified and ready to kill them as well. Just leave them alone and they will do their own thing.