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 35,972 at the 2010 census, up from 25,869 at the 2000 census making it the fastest growing city in Merced County. 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 Joaquin Valley. The original Spanish spelling was Los Banos, meaning "the baths" in reference to the adjacent water source. Its official spelling is without the ene. Official signs do not insert the tilde above the n. It can be pronounced as if the ene were present as in "los banyos," or as it is spelled - an anglicized "loss bannos", though the latter is often preferred[by whom]. The city is served by Los Banos Municipal Airport for air transport access.