MARKLEEVILLE, Calif. — For a long time, only the Washoe tribe knew about scalding hot waters of Grover Hot Springs.
The mineral rich water remained hidden below the Jeffrey pine trees and the stark mountains of Alpine County until 1844 when explorers came along. John Freemont and Kit Carson got stuck in the snow, and the Washoe people rescued them and showed them the hot water that melted through the snow and ice.
Today, the secret is out, and the once hidden hot spring has become a popular tourist attraction just outside Markleeville, California.
Grover Hot Springs has six different hot water areas that percolate out of, what is now, Hot Springs Valley. The 148 degree water is cooled down and pumped into a family friendly pool. It's a beautiful area with cascading creeks, scenic hiking trails and stunning mountain views.
The valley was discovered and rediscovered by many early settlers, but Alvin Merrill Grover was the first to capitalize on the hot springs. Only 14 years old, he ended up at the hot springs in the 1860's during the silver rush. He and a partner used wagons to shuttle visitors to the hot springs. Eventually, Alvin Grover bought the land and the hot springs. He even built a hotel in Markleeville.
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Eventually the thermal springs became a family business and the name "Grover Hot Springs" stuck. The Grover’s became prominent members of the community.
The family helped in the break away from El Dorado County and started Alpine County. Alvin and his son, Charles Grover, each held the position of sheriff at one time.
The Grover's maintained ownership of the hot springs up to the 1900's. The property changed hands a few times before California State Parks purchased it in 1958.
Grover Hot Springs is definitely not a secret anymore but, it would seem that word of the warm waters are still hush, hush. Alpine County is still the smallest and least populated county in California, so if you're reading this. Don't tell anyone else.
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