4 Unique Mud Baths to Get Filthy in Calistoga

Mmmmm, warm squishy mud between your toes, and all over your body and face. It’s a bit of dirty bliss when enjoyed as a mud bath at a spa. Besides being relaxing, mud baths are good for detoxifying, for their anti-inflammatory benefits, and for helping skin conditions like eczema and rosacea.

Sure, you get filthy and smell fragrant for a while, but after you clean up, you look especially gorgeous. That’s because your skin cells are rejuvenated and stimulated, causing them to plump up for a refreshing glow.

The natural muds of Calistoga are famous for their curative, beautifying properties. The land’s original residents, the Wappo tribe, settled Calistoga some 8,000 years ago. The Wappo believed the geysers’ steaming mineral water had healing powers. Calistoga baths are particularly coveted since they combine two cherished ingredients: natural hot springs water rich with minerals, and volcanic ash that’s abundant in the area’s soil from the eruption of Mount St. Helena millions of years ago. Mixed together, they become an elixir.

Calistoga offers variety in mud bathing, from posh to rustic. Whichever style you choose, the results are sure to be therapeutic.

OOH LA LA LUXURY – Solage, an Auberge Resort: It’s called a “mud bar,” because it’s just that stylish a set up. The sleek white bathhouse features a fire pit lounge, geothermal pools, eucalyptus steam rooms and a cool plunge. Other amenities include a 130-foot landmark swimming pool with private cabanas, and treatments like exotic massages (Thai-Swedish!), plus collagen or hydrating facial masks. NOTEWORTHY: The Starlight at the Bathhouse experience is exceptional as a private retreat for couples after the spa has closed. Soak, steam and slather, and then sip wine and nibble dessert.

ROMANTIC – Baths at Roman Spa: Two tiled tubs share the same room with two soaking tubs and two showers. So, this place is best for couples. The mud here tends to be hotter than at many other spas, good for relaxing sore muscles. Finish with lounge time at the pool, the area’s saunas, and lavish gardens with lots of flowers. To note: the spa is well known for its excellent massage services.

WINE COUNTRY GLAM – Calistoga Spa Hot Springs: The entry shimmers with a dramatically uplit, tiled fountain and glass pyramid lobby, while a glass gazebo shelters one of four outdoor geothermal mineral pools. Lovely mountain views complete the postcard experience. There’s flexibility with water ranging from 80 to 104 degrees, and besides mud, mineral and steam baths, massage and reflexology options promise a soothing time. To note: The signature package is a treasure: a mud bath, chromatherapy mineral bath, eucalyptus steam bath, and relaxing blanket wrap nap.

QUIRKY CHIC – Indian Springs Resort & Spa: Opened in 1861 as a geyser-fed spa and lodge for elite Bay Area families, the 17-acre oasis has recently enjoyed a $20 million renovation to add new, modern luxury accommodations. Yet, it still maintains its signature 1910 Olympic-sized mineral pool set in bare concrete, its steaming geyser ponds flanked by Buddha statues, and its humble concrete mud tubs in a water pipe-lined bunker-like space. While the resort is ultra fashionable, the baths are a salute to early Calistoga charm. To note: Gussy up your mineral bath with an add-in of Chardonnay wine and pomegranate essence.