Located in the heart of Sonoma Wine Country, in a place known as the Valley of the Moon, this diverse geothermal springs sanctuary borders Sonoma Creek and is nestled among a canopy of large oaks, open meadows and rolling hills – perfect for picnics, reunions, family recreation, corporate retreats and meetings, birthdays, weddings, and class field trips.
Morton’s Warm Springs Resort is a property rich in beauty, history, and tradition. The healing properties of the geothermal mineral springs here have been recognized for centuries and many have considered these abundant waters sacred.
The known story of Morton’s Warm Springs goes back to the Mishewal (Wappo), the Native American tribe who inhabited the Napa and Sonoma valley regions for centuries. The Mishewal would camp, trade and meet in ceremony on the land with neighboring Pomo and Miwok peoples, and many arrowheads and artifacts have been found in and around the springs over the years. In the 1800’s the springs came to be known by the Spanish name Los Guilicos after Rancho Los Guilicos, named after the nearby Mishewal village called Wilikos along the headwaters of Sonoma Creek in what is now Sugarloaf Ridge State Park.
These springs were reportedly the first geothermal springs in the area to then be further developed as white settlers came and stayed here in tents to take in the healing waters. In the 1880’s the first bath house was established and you can still see today the original stone work of these pools, which were much closer to the Sonoma Creek than the current pools built above them. The spring water was later pumped and piped to various surrounding houses as a fire prevention strategy. That infrastructure remains today in what is now one of the smallest, private water utility companies in the state of California, Sonoma Springs Water Company, which serves 21 local residences.
In 1909, a small lodge, cabins and grand Harmonic Music Pavilion was built at Los Guilicos Warm Springs to accommodate overnight stays and “retreats” of those escaping the bustling city life of San Francisco and Oakland. The property was then purchased in 1946 by Ethel and Harold Morton who began operating it as Morton’s Warm Springs Resort, the name it bears today. By the 1950’s most of the original cabins and the Pavilion had been dismantled or destroyed with no remains to be found. The current pool house and pool structures that you see today were begun in the 1950s when the Morton’s established the resort as a popular summertime destination for picnicking, barbecue, recreation, and of course swimming in the spring-fed geothermal pools. For many decades Morton’s enjoyed a heyday of classic Americana, the best that middle-class life in Sonoma Valley had to offer.
The Morton family finally sold the property around 1980. Since then, the land and springs have been passed down through a series of owners, each of whom has tried to reimagine Morton’s in the changing social and economic times, and through the transformations many Sonoma Valley communities have witnessed these last decades. Each successive owner had strong visions of how to reinvent this grand beauty and many drew up big plans, trying various things to expand its use and season, but without first garnering neighborhood support or prior county approval. This resulted in the county finally issuing a resolution in the mid 2000’s which clarified and limited Morton’s exact use and scope to that of its 1950’s and 60’s business model. So, like the bygone era it evokes, Morton’s has been frozen in time in it’s mid-century roots while remaining for now protected from potential development into another pricey tourist spa destination.
A New Era for the Springs
Over the generations these mineral springs have come to fill a very special place in the lives and hearts of this community. Many love Morton’s as a time-honored tradition and a tranquil and affordable place to enjoy the Sonoma summertime outdoors. But what does this place have to say? What might it want to become, in better harmony and in service to the needs of our surrounding communities?
In January of 2016, Morton’s was purchased by a small group of family and friends, many of whom hail from Sonoma County or have once called this valley home. As the new stewards of this incredible place, along with its hundreds if not thousands of years of history, we take our responsibility to restore and protect the springs very seriously. To that end we are working towards slowly reestablishing Morton’s Warm Springs as a center for multigenerational community life and local resiliency, as well as a model for regenerative ecological stewardship and watershed restoration. Anchored in and supported by the community which surrounds us, our aim is to revitalize and protect these warm geothermal waters bubbling from the earth for their pure and original purpose – to gather the community and to heal.
Individual, Family and Group Recreation
This property is an ideal setting for company or family daylong outdoor retreats. Rejuvenate in the two natural mineral spring pools, relax under the oak canopy, and picnic on the grassy hills. Walk along the natural paths and winding creek to enjoy the beauty and tranquility of this historical gathering place. Woven throughout the resort are a number of sites designed to accommodate up to 2000 people.
• 2 Natural Mineral Pools • Wading Pool • Shower & Changing Rooms
• Creekside Picnic and BBQ Sites • Baseball Field, Beach Volleyball Courts, Sports Areas
Whether guests come to swim in one of our mineral pools, host a corporate picnic, company meeting, host a family reunion, birthday party, or wedding, we promise to make it an experience to remember.
Also, please note that our cafe is closed for the 2016 season while we focus on maintaining and upgrading our pool systems to ensure the purest mineral springs experience possible. So remember to bring picnic food and drinks with you to BBQ and enjoy during your time here!
We are now accepting group reservations for our 2017 season.
::: Check out our September Membership Special for Member prices and perks! :::
|Open to the General Public (∗Pools Close at 5 pm∗)|
|May||Opening Day: May 13, 2017
Weekends & Holidays Only
|10am to 6pm|
|June, July & August||Tuesday through Sunday
|10am to 6pm|
|September||Closing Day: September 30, 2017
Weekends & Holidays Only
|10am to 6pm|
|School & Youth Group Reservations: May through September|
|Schools may make reservations for dates during the week, Tuesday through Friday, from May through September. Visit our reservations page for more info.|