Thermal is an unincorporated community within the Coachella Valley in Riverside County, California located approximately 25 miles (40 km) southeast of Palm Springs and about 9.5 miles (15.3 km) north of the Salton Sea. The population was 2,865 at the 2010 census. Agricultural development from canal irrigation made the area thrive in greenery by the 1950s, followed by the former Camp Young U.S. Naval Air station converted into Thermal Airport by 1965. In the early 1990s, a four-lane highway, State Route 86 was constructed over an earlier transportation route.