By Tami Thompson

We live in a world of IPhones and IPads that steadily lead us into a life of work and stress. But a wonderful experience awaits those searching for a sense of peace and quiet to their hectic lives.

Tucked away in the upper reaches of Modoc County, in the most northern corner of our state, is a hideaway that rivals the better-known hotspots of California. The Surprise Valley Hot Springs is a vacation destination for those who long for a sense of seclusion that is often lost in our busy, work oriented world.

For those of you driving, the stunning landscape of Northern California can be traversed via Hwy 395 north from Susanville to Alturas and then east on 299. Roads lead to the small Hamlet of Cedarville at the base of the Warner Mountains on the California Nevada border. The views are spectacular with sightings of deer, antelope, an occasional cougar, and the myriad of waterfowl and high desert birds. The drive takes you through the well-known Modoc National Wildlife Refuge where birding and wildlife viewing is a year around event.

The Hamlet offers a quant little bookstore, or visitors can eat homemade pastries and treats at the Country Hearth Café.  Dinner and breakfast fare is fresh and homemade. It’s like stepping into the aromas and ambience of Grandma’s kitchen.

Warner Mountain Range feels like dropping into a different time and place. Surprise Valley is just that; a pleasant surprise that waits for those who make this exciting journey.

Surprise Valley Hot Springs Resort proprietors Ken and his wife Leanna come from a long line of family that has welcomed guests to their little hideaway since the 1950s. Many changes have happened over the years and the establishment continues to update and change as a newer, younger generation takes the wheel.

I spoke with Ken and Leanna’s son, Curtis Rose, who now leads the family’s hands-on enterprise.  He shares that there are 18 rooms available, all very unique in style and ambience.  They offer the Standard, Deluxe and Suites options, available with differing pricing. Call ahead for rates and business hours.

Each room has it’s own privacy-fenced hot tub with free-flowing water straight from the springs.  Cold water is added from a nearby artesian well allowing guests to easily regulate the temperature of their individual tub. The hot tubs offer a refreshing experience, and are just a few short steps from the door.

A massage service is also available from two, on-site licensed message therapists.

For those who have a sense of adventure, there are many tours available nearby. They include Native American history, wildlife viewing, lava caves and a volcano. Outdoor activities include fishing, hunting, hiking and rock hounding. For stargazers, bring your telescopes. You can’t get any more remote from the interfering lights of the cities then this unique location.

There are numerous hot pools on the property, and the main hot springs spews forth an astonishing 75,000 gallons a day of fresh flowing water. It is the family’s hope to develop a geothermal energy source for the future, not only for their own use but to sell excess heat as a source of Green Energy for public use.

As my trip drew to an end, I re-entered the world of busy schedules and life on a clock. But I take a piece of this little valley back with me to calm my spirits.

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