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Desert Hot Springs

Desert Hot Springs, California

Located in Riverside County, CA, Desert Hot Springs is also referred to as DHS. It is a city in Coachella Valley, and occasionally called Desert Empire. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 25,938, which increased from 16,582 since 2000. There have been various developments within the city, with a quick grown in population since the 1970s when it had a population of 2,700.

The city’s name, Desert Hot Springs originated from the various natural hot springs around it. It is one of few locations worldwide with both hot and cold naturally occurring mineral springs. In addition, DHS is the home of the largest warm mineral springs collection within the United States. With over 20 natural mineral springs lodges around the city, it is a popular tourist destination. Furthermore, the mineral springs within town are odorless, unlike other hot springs.


Prior to the 20th century, the only people that resided within the regions north of Palm Springs were the Seven Palms village of Cahuilla Indians. While Cahuilla people did permanently settle within the area now known as DHS, they commonly camped in the area during winter months due to the warmer climate.

Based to Cabot Yerxa, an early homesteader and writer had published a newspaper column for the Desert Sentinel newspaper. The first homesteader within the DHS area was Hilda Maude Gray, taking claim to a piece of land in 1908. In 1913, Cabot Yerxa arrived in the area and quickly found the hot water aquifer located on Miracle Hill. One side of the aquifer is cold, while the other side is hot because of the San Andreas Fault’s Mission Creek Branch.

In addition, over a period of 20 years Cabot had hand built his Pueblo Revival style structure, and remains among the oldest adobe-style structures located in Riverside County today. It is the location of Cabot’s Pueblo Museum, which was designated as a state historical site after Cabot’s passing in 1965. In February 2008, the Cabot Trading Post and Gallery opened.

On July 12th, 1941 the city was founded by L. W. Coffee, originally being centered at the Pierson Blvd and Palm Dr. intersection. The original town was 1sq mile in size, the name was decided by Coffee based on the natural hot springs in the area.

During the 1950s, many tourists made Desert Hot Springs their destination due to the boutique hotels and spa hotels.

In 1963, Desert Hot Springs was incorporated as a city that had 1,000 residents, while streets and lots were laid out over a 6sq mile radius.

During the 1980s and 1990s, Desert Hot Springs encountered times of great growth, with the majority of vacant lots being filled with duplex apartments and houses. In the 1980s, the population doubled, while the 2000 census recorded an increase of 5,000.

In 1999, the Desert Hot Springs High School was opened.

In 2014, Desert Hot Springs was the first city to officially legalize medical marijuana cultivation within Southern California, being overwhelmed with marijuana growers and developers ever since. Later being featured in a CNBC special as being the first permitting city in California for commercial marijuana cultivation.


Based on the U.S Census Bureau, Desert Hot Springs today spans a total of 23.6sq miles, where 0.11 percent is water, and 99.89 percent is land. The location of Desert Hot Springs is between two mountain ranges: San Jacinto Mountains and the San Bernardino Mountains. Meanwhile, being positioned south of Joshua Tree National Park and Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, and within the Colorado Desert area of Sonoran Desert.

Prior to beginning development during the 1930s, DHS had no trees growing, being known as a treeless location in the Colorado Desert.


The desert climate of Desert Hot Springs is similar to that of Coachella Valley, receiving under six inches of annual precipitation. During the summer, temperatures get extremely hot, commonly being above 107 degrees F during July through August, and the low temperatures at night ranging between 78 to 90 degrees F. Meanwhile, winter days are mild, with temperatures commonly ranging between 68 to 82 degrees F, with lows during the night ranging between 50 to 65 degrees F.

It is not unusual for heat waves throughout summer to increase temperatures above 110 degrees F. Because of the elevation and summer winds in Desert Hot Springs, the climate averages 5 to 7 degrees lower than that of neighboring communities within Coachella Valley. Although, winter months may be warmer because of the mountains blocking northern winds.


There are two aquifers that are separated by the Mission Creek Fault, which branches off the San Andreas fault. Because of this, the Sub-Basin on one side of the aquifer is hot water, which helps to support the resorts and spas in the area. Whereas, on the other side of the fault, the sub-basin at Miracle Creek provides cold water, which offers the city fresh water and has been awarded for its exceptional taste.


The demographic diversity within DHS is very diverse, with several ethnic or racial groups living in the area. The largest portion of the population are of Central American ancestry and Mexican. Additionally, there’s the Korean American ethnic region, from 8th St and Cholla Dr. Meanwhile, the city is home to thousands of American Jews. According to National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Desert Chapter, over 10% of the city’s population are African Americans. There is also a large portion of Native Americans, most being Cahuilla tribe members which are within proximity to Agua Caliente Cahuilla tribal boards located within Palm Springs.

In 2000, the census reported 16,582 residents with 3,755 families and 5,859 households. The population density being 713 residents per sq mile.

In 2010, the census reported 25,938 residents, with the population density being 1,097 residents per sq. mile.