Los Banos is a city in Merced County, California, near the junction of State Route 152 and Interstate 5. Los Banos is located 26 miles (42 km) southwest of Merced, at an elevation of 118 feet (36 m). The population was 25,869 at the 2000 census. As of 2006 the World Gazetteer calculates the population as 35,054. The name los banos has its origins with Spanish and was named after a natural water spring that feeds natural wetlands in the western San Joaquín Valley. The original Spanish spelling was Los Baños, meaning "the baths" in reference to the adjacent water source. However, Los Banos means "the bathrooms" in common Spanish. Its official spelling is without the eñe. Official signs do not insert the tilde above the n. It can be pronounced as if the eñe were present as in "los banyos," or as it is spelled - an anglicized "loss bannos", though the former is often preferred. The city is served by Los Banos Municipal Airport for air transport access.