Bay Tree Spring, Idyllwild, CA


Posted: May 16, 2009

Category: California, North America, United States, View All

20150 Banning Idyllwild Panoramic Hwy
Idyllwild, CA 92549
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NOTE: This spring is currently closed.  Find out more information here:


Contains Spout. Shaded area. Spring surrounded by rocks. Sign by the spring clearly says “Bay Tree Springs”

Nearest Address

20150 Banning Idyllwild Panoramic Hwy, Idyllwild, CA

Directions from Nearest Address

This is the best spring water in So. California. Off of Banning Hwy. Outside Idyllwild.

Vital Information

  • Fee: No Fee
  • Access: Public
  • Flow: Continuous
  • TDS: N/A
  • Temp: N/A
  • pH: N/A

Hours Spring is Open:



N 33° 49.177 W 116° 47.367

Map Link: Bay Tree Spring Map

  1. Matt Snell-Callanen says:

    I've made 2 trips up there to collect water and thought it was great. The third trip (months ago), there was a sign hanging in front “CLOSED”. The only answers I've been able to get from the local rangers is that they test the water monthly and there's some sort of contamination, which has happened in the past. They couldn't tell me anything else. I would definitely call the Idyllwild Ranger Station before you make a long trip up there and check on the status. Here's the number: 909-382-2922. I never had any ill effects from the water and I drank 20 gallons of it, so I'm not claiming to know what the situation is, just wanted to let others know. The water IS flowing last time I checked.

  2. raymon demeritt says:

    I get water here on a regular. The water is great. There are signs about their being coliform bacteria in the water. Coliform bacteria is said to be found in most springs from what I have read. It doesn't mean it is from animal feces or human feces and it also doesn't mean there is e coli in the water either. It just means coliform is present in the water. Like I said I drink it everyday and I am fine. I have also met people up there that have been going to that spring for 30 + years. Also the signs say it is closed but you can still harvest water. Nobody can stop you. It flows from a pipe that is drilled into the mountain. So I don't see how anything sketchy can contaminate the water.

  3. Joe Blackburn says:


    We have been using the Bay Tree Spring for 5 years. We had the water tested in the spring of 2008 and it tested positive for coliform. We boiled, but this altered the great taste of the water. We tested again in November 2008. And it passed. When we saw the everything short of a “skull and crossbones” warning on April 21st, we built an ozone generation system. It is great.

    But now the US Forest Service has interim “capped” the spring to prevent usage. State DHS has driven this policy.

    'Met with US Forest Service yesterday. They want the spring open. But those pesky recurring coliform. We proposed real-time ozone treatment of this water, solar powered.

    The domain: was procured yesterday. Now we need to put content up. Build the support and activist community and get this valuable resource reopened. HELP?


  4. letitflowforthosethatknow says:

    correction, please see>>>>>

  5. djspeez says:

    FOR EVERYONE'S INFORMATION: My wife and I drove to Bay Tree Springs this morning, Sunday, July 19, 2009 and the Forrest Service has capped the spring with concrete. No more wonderful, great tasting spring water. The moron bureaucrats have screwed us again ! We've been drinking the water from that spring for over two years, never any problem.
    Such a shame.

  6. rawku says:

    thanks for the info… too bad… i just found this site and was excited to see that there might be a spring near LA — oh welll

  7. If, and only if, we fight back (non-violently of course) we will get this spring reopened.

    Join the Friends of the Bay Tree Spring to save the Bay Tree Spring!


  8. Anthony says:

    why not bust through with a sledgehammer? haha… I saw the pic of the concrete and it is such a shame. How reasonable is it to cap this spring when MUCH more than humans depend on it? Who is the USFS working for?

    If someone does this, they will be my personal hero.

  9. inspire2act says:

    Just found this link and this one is near me. I was just hiking in Idyllwild today. I was planning on coming back and harvesting some water. Big time bummer. I'll go to the sites mentioned above and support the opening of this spring.

  10. chrissy11 says:

    I am sorry to report that this spring is no longer active or available!!
    It has been shut down for about two months! We went there over a month ago, looking forward to filling up our glass gallon bottles, only to find it closed off, dry, full of bugs & derelict.
    There was a sign saying the spring water was found to be hazardous to health & contaminated with 'so & so' coli..!!

  11. chrissy11 says:

    OOOPPS!! Hey Daniel, I only just saw the other comments on this spring & that you had already posted that it was closed..!! & there I was thinking that I was breaking the news..!! :-))

  12. terri says:

    Please make a note that this spring has been closed due to contamination so that other's don't make a special trip like I did and find out the hard way.

  13. almadeus says:

    how do i support 'friends of bay tree springs'???

  14. Name says:

    I was at this spring today 09/19/09 and the water is flowing again. Someone has broken through the capped off pipe, and the water continues to flow. I stopped with my wife and filled up one 32 oz bottle. I tried the water on the way down the mountain and so far so good. Tastes exactly the way I remember it when my Dad took me there 25 years ago (my first time).

  15. Mike says:

    It's definitely closed again, unfortunately. We went up a few week ago (late Nov) and it's completely dismantled.

  16. Mike says:

    It's definitely closed again, unfortunately. We went up a few week ago (late Nov) and it's completely dismantled.

  17. Harris Kight-Moore says:

    Bay Tree Springs is not only sealed off by USFS, they even ripped out the 100 yr.old log sign. They say they will return the spring to it'd natural state. I guess this means ripping out 100 yrs. of rock work as well. How sad. Another beautiful, tranquil site to count among our losses. Does USFS have a soul, somewhere?

  18. Kvfarnan says:

    We need to take back our spring. What about physically reopening the spring ourselves, without asking anyone. When there is no way, there's a way.

    It's our land to utilize.

  19. Eagleheartsong says:

    we were there a couple days ago. This spring is closed as was reported. It was located in a bad spot on the side of a busy road, when we got out of our car to go look at it, a cop was driving by and yelled from his P.A. to get off the road! So much for that, we went up the road a few miles to Marion campground.

  20. Kvfarnan says:

    This spring needs to re-open. That is public land and a public spring.

  21. Mr.Angry says:

    What a bunch of pieces of shit for shutting this down!!!!

  22. Yea fuck this , its our planet , thats human rights violation ! Why did they shut it down! ? hit me up on facebook and im down to protest ! I want some structured fucking water!!!

  23. Kevin says:

    Requested the re-opening of Bay tree spring.  Here is the response from the forest service.


    you for your December 29, 2011 email concerning Bay Tree Spring.


    2010, the Bay Tree Spring, man-made water system was decommissioned (dismantled and sealed) and the spring waters allowed to take
    their own natural course.  


    the interest of public health and safety, I decided to proceed with the decommissioning
    project and restore Bay Tree Spring to its natural condition.  The water pipe at Bay Tree Spring lead the
    public to believe the water may be quality drinking water, when, in fact, it
    was not. 


    The water at Bay Tree Springs tested
    positive for coliform on a regular basis, and did not meet California State
    Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) standards for safe drinking
    water.  Forest Service direction for
    unprotected/untreated water sources is that the site must be kept in an
    undeveloped condition, in its natural state. (FSM 7421.12).  To restore Bay Tree Spring to its natural
    condition, the existing pipe was removed to allow the seasonal water flow to
    follow its natural path.


    There were further safety concerns for
    the motoring and pedestrian public near the Bay Tree Spring area due to unsafe
    parking near a blind curve on State Highway 243


    We appreciate your comments and thank you
    for your interest.






    /s/ Laurie Rosenthal



    Jacinto District Ranger

  24. Anthony Anderson says:

    I just heard from the folks at Pure Joy Town that the spring is flowing again!! Life-giving water is flowing through the landscape again – you just can’t stop what IS.

  25. Joe Blackburn says:

    Thank you for this insightful video! I would do some work and contribute some money to resurrect this treasure “Earth First” style.

    This is a tragic loss for spring water lovers. More blind bureaucratic blundering. We used this water for years. The first time we saw this spring, we found a man that said he previously worked for Riverside County and the water always tested fine. But, do to budget cuts they no longer tested and put up the sign saying “Boil before use.”

    After a couple of octogenarians, that carried themselves like college professors, told us that we should be careful because the water sometimes got “bugs.”

    We tested the water and found coliform. We tested again six months later to quantify and speciate the coliform. None was detected.

    I wrote to the USFS proposing an in-situ solar powered ozonation system. My stick drawing and rough cost estimate fell on deaf ears.

    Looking at this video, the upper spring box could well be the source of the contamination.

    I’m truly sorry that my duties as my 97 year young mother’s Conservator has preempted my full engagement in this ridiculous fight against this overreach by the USFS.

  26. jay dee says:

    Went to BayTreeSping in May 2014, easy to find on the side of the road, and flowing even in this drought. There are no spring box that are in proper working order and any spouts are long gone. Not sure about the source, hiked up a bit and could not find the source but did drink some water and tasted clean. Would want to do a testing before I filled up bottles.

  27. Dustin Davis says:

    Just moved into the area. Wanted to see if there any updates on this spring. Website says it’s closed but comments say otherwise. Also any updates on bacteria issue?

  28. Norman Bettis says:

    Is the spring closed. I drove up today 5/26/18. Looks like its been closed for awhile. Long drive from San Diego to come back with no water. Anybody have a status update????

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