Stewart Mineral Springs Bathhouse Retreat and Center for Spirituality A True NorCal Hidden Gem …
By Raquel LeBaudour
While many of us devour modern technology and LOVE being connected, we also seek some pretty innovative ways to find balance, recharge our batteries and disconnect from life’s distractions. On a smokey Sunday in early August, I was off to experience an ancient treatment used to detoxify, rejuvenate, and rebalance the body by reconnecting with nature and it was right up the road, in our very own, Northern California backyard.
Neatly tucked into the foothills of Mount Shasta just outside of Weed, CA, and a mere 5 miles from Interstate-5, you’ll discover a true hidden gem, Stewart Mineral Springs Bathhouse and Retreat, a serene spot of sacredness just burbling, gurgling and percolating mineral-rich water from an amazing set of underground springs. Rich in Sulphur, Silica and other powerful minerals, the waters that flow from these springs are said to be among the most healing in the world.
The property has a new arc of stewardship and is cared for by the Pneuma Institute, a foundation offering academic, artistic and spiritual programs centered around transpersonal experience, inner work, transformation and meditation.
Artfully surrounded by a fragrant forest of towering pine trees that line “Parks Creek,” which tumbles down through the property, along a bed of smooth boulders, falling and separating into several smaller pools below—the creek itself, gives life to the landscape; sound to the experience.
It’s a roughly-textured environment offering private healing mineral bath soaks, a wood-burning sauna, a cool-creek plunge, massage therapy, as well as a wide-range of overnight accommodations, including cabins, apartments, hotel rooms and camping sites. There is also a Creekside café on-site available for catering retreats and events, as well as a gift shop where guests can purchase various items such as Palo Santo smudging sticks, unique jewelry, and essential oil mister-sprays which are bottled on-site using the healing waters of Stewart Springs.
When we got to our destination, I headed straight to check-in by following a small trail toward the office. Once inside, I glanced around the small, tidy office/gift shop and noticed there were several signs posted that read, “Quiet Please,” so immediately I
surrendered myself to a whisper. Kayla, the front desk attendant, welcomed me, while Jaime, the manager, spoke with me at length about the bathhouse, retreat and grounds. I was surprised to learn that we had just missed the morning rush. “Your timing is perfect,” whispered Suzanne, my spa bathhouse attendant. Instantly, with her soft voice, her calm energy and soothing vibe, she created a serene and therapeutic space. My own breathing began to slow. And, I did the unthinkable, I turned OFF my phone.
Mineral Water Healing …
One of the most unusual facts about Stewart Mineral Springs is that, here, exists both a red AND a white spring within just a few feet of one another, something that is not only extremely rare, but also considered to be profoundly sacred. The red spring is high in iron and magnetic energy, while the white spring is high in silica, giving the waters a “liquid silk” feel. The red mineral and white mineral springs combine synergistically with the fresh water run-off from Mount Shasta, and all flow together into the creek where they are siphoned to the bathhouse for the private mineral bath soaks, a 90-minute treatment involving a 3-part cycle consisting of: soak, sauna and cold-creek plunge. A cycle that is repeated three times.
In the bathhouse, you’ll find 13 private tub rooms each with a hot mineral bath, drawn and presented to each guest in a timeless claw-foot tub. A sarong and several sets of towels are provided to each guest. Complementary tea and fresh spring water are also provided, and guests are encouraged to bring their personal containers to be filled with fresh spring water during their visit. The rooms are simple, making it clear, the only purpose here is to soak in the tub. In each room there is a small window, to bring in some of that fresh mountain air, as well as an analog clock, hanging on the wall, directly above the wall so that you can easily time your soak in the silica-rich waters as those with sensitive skin should watch their time, limiting themselves to 5-7 minutes. Do heed the warnings and don’t stay in the waters too long, no more than 15 minutes at a time for first-timers or highly-sensitives. For my first time, I was especially cautious and went with the suggested 5 to 7-minute soak, opting for a 7-minute top-out on each soak time. Also, do not rub, scratch or otherwise exfoliate your skin.
I entered my tiny room, with steaming tub, and towels piled high. Slowly, I lowered my body into the tub and slipped beneath the heated liquid, layered with minerals that heal and hydrate. I leaned back against the cool porcelain, relaxed fully into the moment, and drew in a deep, cleansing breath. As the liquid soothed my physical body, my mind also began to ease. Once acclimated to the water, I dropped my face and head beneath the surface, listening to the quiet movement of the liquid as it sloshed inside the basin.
The Fire Inside: Wood-fire Stove/Dry Sauna …
Adjacent to private-soak rooms is a beautiful wood-fed sauna, the largest in Northern California, which provides further detoxification through the sweating of toxins. Dressed in the sarong provided, and fresh from my first mineral soak, I shuffled my relaxed body in through the hot, wooden door. I abruptly stopped at the entrance, taken aback in surprise, I realized—there were men in there! Once over the initial surprise of the sauna being co-ed, I casually took my seat. I must have looked as miserable as I felt in that heat, fidgeting and exhaling with such fury, that one of the men quietly called over to me: “It gets easier the second and third time,” his eyes were kind and reassuring. I smiled and thanked him for the reassurance, and then continued to sit for what seemed like an eternity—2 minutes longer—and with a heaviness to my lungs, I bolted for the door, some fresh air, and the final step in the 3-part process: the “cold-creek plunge.”
Cold-Creek Plunge …
Prior to settling yourself back into the hot mineral bath for a second, or third and final soak, you are encouraged to take part in the final step in the detoxification process, the “cold-creek plunge,” where guests simply walk just outside the bathhouse, out onto the sundeck, to access the stairs that lead off to the cold-creek pools where you gently wade in and plunge yourself into the cool liquid. This step allows you to gently, and naturally, rinse the minerals from your skin. I enjoyed the sarong provided, but make sure to bring your swimsuit as an option for this portion.
Once your 90-minute soak time is up, guests are encouraged to continue use of the sauna and creek pools, and can also explore the grounds for the remainder of the day. While here, get comfortable—within yourself—rediscover nature, and rediscover YOU.
If luxury and refinement are more your style, this getaway probably isn’t the best choice for you. Conversely, if healing, transformation and nature are your touchstones, then this is the ideal place for you. Stewart Mineral Springs is a body-mind-soul-kind of place. Here, the wild beauty of the natural landscape, and the sacred mineral waters are used to rebalance, realign, and reinvigorate.
From the mountains to the valleys … Happy Trekking!
Hours of Operation:
Monday: 12PM to 7PM (last bath 5:30PM)
Tuesday and Wednesday: 12PM-6PM (last bath 4:30PM)
Thursday-Sunday: 10AM-8PM (last bath 6:30PM)
530-938-2222 • Stewartmineralsprings.com