Franklin’s Hot Springs, a Paso Robles treasure

July 8, 2023


Franklin’s Hot Springs in Paso Robles has been a local staple for over 60 years. It all began with an oil company, the discovery of the springs and an old man named Franklin who had an entrepreneurial spirit and love for his community that set the foundation for a remarkable journey.

Growing up, I often heard stories from my mother Arora O’Hagan about the intriguing lake located just a few miles from our home. She would warn me not to venture into its waters without giving Mr. Franklin 50 cents, as he would playfully shoot us with salt rocks. Those tales of adventure sparked my curiosity, and one day, fueled by youthful enthusiasm, a few friends and I set out to find this mysterious lake.

Our expedition to locate the legendary hot spring became an all-day quest. We explored every nook and cranny, determined to unravel its secrets. However, when my family discovered our little adventure, I found myself grounded for a month. Nevertheless, that unforgettable journey with my friends remained one of the coolest and most thrilling experiences of my childhood.

Fast forward to 2009 when, after almost three decades away from Paso Robles, I decided to return home. The nostalgia of my childhood memories led me to embark on a quest to find the lake once again. This time, armed with experience and determination, locating the place proved much easier at the age of 39.

Upon arriving at the site, I met current owners Norman Franklin and his wife Cindy and shared the tale of my childhood search for their lake. To my surprise, they both blushed and proceeded to tell me the captivating story of how their lake came into existence.

Franklin’s Hot Springs was born out of a drilling expedition. More than 60 years ago, an oil company determined there was a pool of oil below the property. Old-man Franklin allowed them to drill, but instead of oil they struck the hot spring and an area filled with water creating the lake.

Following the failed oil exploration, Mr. Franklin ingeniously transformed the property into a place of health and wellness for the entire community. Water from the spring now flows to the Salinas River, on a path that provides water for several vineyards and its own ecosystem.

Located at 3015 Creston Road in Paso Robles, the lake is stocked with fish to the delight of local fishermen. Community picnics, outdoor movie nights, and charity fundraisers are regular occurrences, further solidifying the pond’s reputation as a gathering place for all.

The Franklins ask for a minimum donation of $8 for children and $10 for adults to maintain the property.

During the summer months, Franklin’s Hot Springs hosts special events such as “Ponda Palooza,” a local festival that brought talented musicians and family-friendly concerts to the area. Norman even claims the pond possesses special healing powers, and after spending a day there, I couldn’t agree more. As I float in the pool, the stresses of my day seemed to dissipate into the warm water.

As word spread about the wonders of Franklin’s Pond, more and more people have flocked to experience its magic. Visitors can camp, fish, swim, and even jet ski, all within minutes of Paso Robles. The pond is a hub of joy and relaxation, a sanctuary where people can escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Norman and Cindy’s dedication to maintaining the authenticity of Franklin’s Pond extends beyond its natural beauty. Community picnics, outdoor movie nights, and charity fundraisers are regular occurrences, further solidifying the pond’s reputation as a gathering place for all.

Franklin’s Pond has become synonymous with the spirit of Paso Robles — a testament to the town’s close-knit community and the enduring beauty of its surroundings. It stands as a reminder that even in a fast-paced world, there are places where time slows down, and families can create lasting memories together.

And so, the tale of Franklin’s Pond continues to unfold, promising new adventures and unforgettable experiences for those who seek solace, joy, and connection amidst the natural wonders of Paso Robles. The legacy of the Franklin family lives on, ensuring that this local gem will forever be a beacon of happiness and tranquility in the heart of Northern San Luis Obispo County.

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Um yeah let’s just go with “Hillybilly Hot Springs”. The whole place has a real “Appalachian aesthetic” with random junk strewn around, dilapidated out-buildings and a ghetto vibe. The hot springs water is just plain filthy. When you get in, your feet sink into a thick slimy oozy layer of the devil’s algae. I went with a group of people and half of them got some weird red bumpy rash over half their body from who knows what in the water. The owner was playing a bootlegged movie that was still in theaters on the projector while encouraging people to bring and drink their own liquor straight from the bottle. Many people smoking weed, one guy had what looked like a crack pipe. I’m pretty sure there was one couple in the corner working on conceiving their next child. Basically anyone can just do whatever the f they wanted. But hey, if that’s what you are into, no judgement!

Absolutely love this secret place. Norm and Cindy are amazing people and so down to earth, our family enjoyed many camping trips to Franklin as well as day swims due to the healing waters for my disabled son. They even built a little platform he could sit on when not in his wheelchair

That old timer’s name was Wes Franklin, his wife was Lydia. Solid people, they used to permit me to go frogging after dark.

Worked with Ed for many years. Stand up guy.


Legend has it that the oil company tapped into a deep water source, that falls 1000’s feet under the water basin Paso is fighting over,. Supposedly the water originates “chemically” from Sierras. Once discovered and tapped the flow was severely restricted.

If true, we have a potential alternative, albeit stinky, water supply to the region.

Surprised the Resnick’s haven’t bought them out yet. Here pump and pool wouldn’t hurt us.

There is an aquifer down below about 1200-1400 feet. The local well drillers who know their stuff can tell you about it. There’s a big stratum of blue clay down there, the skilled drillers know not to punch through the blue clay. The water underneath is hot but also loaded with boron and other minerals that make it non-potable without expensive treatment. But apparently there is a lot of it.

I remember place a little west of Paso Robles called Resthaven. It was a park in the pool that we used to go to in there early and mid-1970s. Everybody know what happen to it, when it went out of business?

I remember Rest Haven. It now resides in the dim mists of memory along with Beno’s, Ed’s Hamburgers, the Obispo Theater, and Fish Bowl 1.

Resthaven went the way of heavy regulations and high litigation. Filled in, and all the toys and buildings dismantled, it is now but a small meadow, surrounded by the trailer park/campground that was always there.

I went swimming there more than three decades ago, and had a great time. It is a place one can enjoy the benefits of a hot spring without spending a lot.

Franklins Yard Sale

Lived here 30+ years… never heard of it.

Me, neither.

Well, you’d have to be an actual local…