Soda Springs, California – WorldAtlas

Soda Springs is a small community and popular tourist destination in Nevada County, California. Soda Springs has been a tourist magnet since the 1800s, when the first resort was founded here. It is surrounded by lush nature with great sights. In winter, people flock to this city to reach the nearby snow-capped mountains and enjoy incredible winter sports. Brimming with history and nature, Soda Springs is home to a Central Pacific Railroad station that’s considered one of the top attractions in the area.

Geography and climate of Soda Springs

Soda Springs
A car driving through Donner Pass Road into the Soda Springs area. Editorial Credit: Chris Allan /

Soda Springs is located south of the Tahoe National Forest and west of Boreal Mountain in a mountainous area with many scenic hills and luxury resorts. The city covers an area of ​​0.34 square miles, making it one of the smallest communities in the region. Beautiful coniferous forests cover the hillsides surrounding this community, making Nevada a perfect destination for travelers.

Based on the Koppen climate classification, the area experiences a dry-summer continental climate with warm and dry summers and cold and wet/snowy winters. Temperatures in Soda Springs can reach as low as 10°F in January, the coldest month. On the other hand, summer temperatures average around 60°F during the months between June and September. While Soda Springs’ rainfall is fairly light, about 35 inches per year, there’s no dearth of snow in this location, which is what it is one of the snowiest cities in California. It receives about 192 inches of snow a year, seven times the national average!

Brief History of Soda Springs

Soda Springs
Historic headquarters of the former Soda Springs Resort at the end of Zzyzx Road in the Mojave Desert. Site is home to the CSU Desert Study Center. Editorial Credit: Trekandshoot /

This city’s past revolves entirely around its prominent resort and tourism industries. While the exact details of the early settlers are unknown, the first confirmed occupation of this area occurred in the late 19th century. At the time, the community was called Summit Valley and was home to a small community with a few homes and a post office. Between 1870 and 1880, the community went through various name changes including “Soda Springs Station”, “Hopkins”, “Hopkins Springs”, etc., until finally receiving the name Soda Springs. In parallel, during this period, Soda Springs was the site of a Central Pacific Railroad station called Tinkers Station. This station was active from 1867 to 1873 and was named after JA Tinker. The route carried cargo from the nearby Forest Hill Divide mines.

However, things changed completely for Soda Springs in 1880 when American railroad director Mark Hopkins and industrialist Leland Stanford opened the famous Soda Springs Resort. This resort was a perfect complement to take advantage of the region’s unspoilt natural beauty. Over time, popularity grew and Soda Springs became a leading tourist destination.

The population and economy of Soda Springs

Only about 94 people live in Soda Springs, including 73 White, followed by 12 Hispanic or Latino. The racial composition of the remaining population is either Asian, Native American, or two or more races. However, because the data for Soda Springs is not comprehensive, these facts and figures are not updated as regularly as they would be for other major cities.

The number of housing units in Soda Springs, 131, far exceeds the total population. However, more than 85 of these are vacant, and as of 2020 only 43 units are occupied. According to census data, 100% of people in the municipality are employed and the poverty rate is 0%. That’s significantly better than California’s poverty rate of 12.3% in 2021.

Attractions in Soda Springs

Soda Springs Mountain Resort

Soda Springs
A snowboarder jumping in the air at Borreal ski resort in Spring. Editorial Credit: Chris Allan /

For those planning a winter vacation in Soda Springs, Soda Springs Mountain Resort has everything you need! With great accommodation, children’s play areas, skiing, snowboarding and much more, this is the place to be if you want to indulge in some fun in the snow. The place offers all kinds of winter sports with cross-country ski runs from beginner to advanced. Additionally, the convenient location just off I-80 makes getting here super easy, and there’s no need to worry about confusing maps to find this family-friendly winter resort.

Van north meadow

Skiers start the Sugar Rush race at Van Norden Meadow. George Lamson/Flickr.

Located not far from Soda Springs, Van Norden Meadow is the perfect retreat for nature lovers. Covering 458 acres, this meadow is part of the Tahoe National Forest and provides a safe haven for animals, plants and even the local waters. Several hiking trails along this meadow provide the perfect opportunity to spend time exploring and appreciating the beauty of the natural surroundings.

Royal Gorge USA cross country ski area

This resort is the ideal place for true cross-country skiing enthusiasts. It includes North America’s largest cross-country ski area and eight unique trail systems, each offering breathtaking natural attractions. Whether you want to snowshoe, practice, or walk a pet, there are trails of all kinds here. There are also experts here who offer XC lessons for those who want to become a pro at the sport.

Soda Springs is packed with attractions that cater to the needs of the whole family. Great winter sports and spectacular natural landscapes are the major attractions that create unforgettable memories for all who visit this small California town.