Iconic Wilbur Hot Springs for sale: ““The water contains lithium, which is a natural mood stabilizer, and a super-saturated solution of sulfur,” he says. Sulfur was the antibiotic of choice before we had penicillin. By sitting in sulfur one is doing an amazing job of detoxifying the dermis, or what we call skin.”
In the oak-sided foothills of the Coast Range 120 miles northeast of San Francisco, the fabled Wilbur Hot Springs is seeking a new owner to take over the property and its lithium-rich waters that have soothed wellness-seekers for centuries.
The 1,700-acre off-the-grid health retreat, where clothing is optional in the pools, went up for sale quietly last year for $10 million. Now, the property near Williams (Colusa County) is officially listed with Sotheby’s International Real Estate.
“I’m looking for a person who is a health fanatic like I am — someone who will appreciate what I mean when I say, ‘Capital R, small x, capital N,” says Miller, a longtime practitioner of yoga and alternative medicine. “What that stands for is ‘prescription grade nature.’ I made that up.”
The sale features a European-style inn with multiple cabins and a central building with two large dining rooms, a library, a kitchen and a wraparound porch. A bevy of outbuildings and facilities include massage rooms, yoga studios, saunas, camping sites, hot baths and cool springs. A 1,560-acre nature preserve is criss-crossed with hiking trails, and there’s even a geyser that erupts every hour. All of this is located at the end of a scenic dirt road and powered by solar panels.
“It’s an extremely unique property and in addition to the spa, which uses the mineral waters, they have wonderful accommodations, all of which were rebuilt in 2016 after the 2014 fire,” says listing agent David Gilbert of Sotheby’s.
The 2014 fire severely damaged the top two floors of the historic lodge built in 1910. A restored building opened in January 2015, marking the hot springs’ 150th anniversary.
For centuries, American Indians soaked in the naturally occurring springs bubbling up along Sulphur Creek. In 1865, settlers built a hotel and resort at Wilbur for wealthy San Franciscans seeking rejuvenation.
For Miller, the property’s biggest highlight is the water from the springs.
“The water contains lithium, which is a natural mood stabilizer, and a super-saturated solution of sulfur,” he says. “Sulfur was the antibiotic of choice before we had penicillin. By sitting in sulfur one is doing an amazing job of detoxifying the dermis, or what we call skin.”
After multiple ownership changes, Miller bought the dilapidated resort in 1972 to relocate his San Francisco Gestalt psychotherapy practice. Wilbur has since evolved into a year-round destination with guest rooms, spa treatments, guest chef weekends, yoga retreats and meditation seminars.
Over the years, Miller has collected a lifetime of memories. He raised his two daughters on the property and says they both have “a sense of being in the flow of nature rather than observing nature.”
Among his accomplishments, he notes hosting the first-ever home-birthing seminar in the 1970s and launching a drug and alcohol program that ran for 10 years, which he claims treated 1,500 people. An artist-in-residence program at Wilbur included Marin author Anne Lamott.