15 of the Best Natural Hot Springs You Can Find around the Country
Earth's warm, mineral-rich tonic soak away stress and soothe the body's aches and pains. Sound tempting? Here's where you can take a relaxing dip in one of nature's beautiful baths.
Pung/ShutterstockChena Hot Springs, Fairbanks, Alaska
The state’s only year-round 100-plus-year-old hot springs resort, Chena Hot Springs parallels the Chena River. Along with the private resort and campground, you’ll want to take a dip in the adults-only Rock Lake. (Here are some of the best campgrounds in the country.) Situated at the center of a 40-square-mile geothermal area, the entirety of the springs generate a steady stream of sulfur-enhanced water, where several indoor and outdoor tubs, Jacuzzis, an indoor swimming pool, and the aforementioned outdoor Rock Lake reside. At Rock Lake, you’ll score an incredible view of the northern lights in winter. Go from September to March when the lights are at their best.
Calistoga Hot Springs, Calistoga, California
The quaint city of Calistoga was built around abundant natural mineral hot springs, and now many of the hotels, resorts, and spas feature mineral pools. Head to the boutique hotel called Calistoga Hot Springs, where you’ll find geothermal mineral pools, volcanic ash mud baths, and a mineral whirlpool beneath a covered patio. Offering soaks ranging from 80 degrees to 102 degrees, you can enjoy the experience year-round.
Dunton Hot Springs, Dolores, CO
Situated at 8,600 feet in the San Juan Mountains near Telluride, there are six ways to soak at the all-inclusive resort of Dunton Hot Springs. Waters range from 85 to 106 degrees, and are rich in calcium-bicarbonate, iron, and manganese with a hint of lithium. Indulge in one of the resort’s many pools: inside the restored, 19th-century bathhouse, under the stars at the source, behind the Dunton Store cabin, or Inside Well House cabin out on the river. The hottest option will surely be at the source, while the most private resides in the Well House cabin for two.
Breitenbush Hot Springs, Detroit, Oregon
Situated on 154 acres of wildlife sanctuary in the Willamette National Forest of the Oregon Cascades, this secluded retreat offers clothing-optional natural stone pools, as well as overnight retreats, where you can cozy up in a rustic cabin at night, and spend your time hiking in the day. Check out the Meadow Pools, where three soaks await, ranging from hot, hotter, to hottest, including a pool where no talking is allowed to encourage meditative thought. These are the benefits of meditation.
Allegheny Springs at The Omni Homestead Resort, Hot Springs, Virginia
For some true Southern hospitality and historic charm, check out The Omni Homestead Resort, which prides itself on being a “premier destination for 23 U.S. presidents dating back to the 18th century”. (The resort’s “Jefferson Pools,” were named for Thomas Jefferson, who visited the mineral waters in 1818.) Residing on more than 2,000 acres, the resort features some of the best hot springs Virgina has to offer. Two major springs from the Allegheny Mountains flow through the property, providing the two-acre water park natural mineral waters that are naturally heated and do not require any chemical treatments.
Bram Reusen/ShutterstockHot Springs State Park, Thermopolis, Wyoming
Ideal for someone looking to escape the resort life but enjoy something spa-like, this state park features hot water cascading down brightly-colored terraces alongside the Big Horn River, with 8,000 gallons flowing in per day. The park offers a free bath house coming in at 104 degrees. The indoor and outdoor soaking pools will surely soothe your sore muscles after exploring the many miles of nature trails all day long. (Here are some off-the-beaten path state parks you’ll want to visit.)
Riverbend Hot Springs, Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
Riverbend Hot Springs is New Mexico’s only hot springs spa, residing on the banks of the Rio Grande River. This is the perfect place for someone looking to indulge in a desert escape. The laid-back vibe of this gem makes it a no-fuss but peaceful experience. Soak in the tiled communal geothermal pools and private soaking tubs ranging in temperature while taking in the breathtaking views of Turtleback Mountain.
Gold Fork Hot Springs, Donnelly, Idaho
There are so many incredible hot springs in Idaho to explore, from off-the-beaten-path pools to gorgeous resorts. Some of the best are at Gold Fork Hot Springs, nestled in a mountain forest, where the water is 100-percent natural, and features a topnotch alkaline rating along with other minerals. Lithium is the most abundant here, while potassium, calcium, sodium, fluoride, chloride, arsenic and boron come close behind. There are six pools to soak in, with every pool flowing through in four hours.
Ahalanui Warm Pond, Ahalanui Park, Hilo, Hawaii
Hilo is a haven for nature’s beauty, including its two active volcanoes, one of which is the world’s largest. (Have you been on any of these extreme travel adventures around the world?) There are several hot ponds and hot springs to explore, the most popular residing in Ahalanui Park, where a man-made lagoon measuring almost two Olympic pools awaits. Its waters from the natural thermal springs are cooled to the low 90s thanks to the waves washing over. Because locals and tourists alike love this pond, it is suggested to avoid coming on the weekends and arrive early in the morning on a weekday to get the utmost peace while you soak. Try to get there before 9 a.m.!
rarena/ShutterstockHot Springs, Arkansas
An hour outside of the state’s capital, Little Rock, one of the country’s oldest hot springs resides. The city, in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas, just so happens to be called Hot Springs, where naturally heated springs, many of them in Hot Springs National Park to the north, await you. There is Bathhouse Row, which has eight bathhouses from the 19th and 20th centuries including Buckstaff Baths, with thermal baths. Various acclaimed hotels also reside in the city of Hot Springs, where day spas utilize the surrounding geothermal waters for your soaking pleasure. Arlington Resort and Spa, Quapaw Baths and Spa, and The Springs Hotel and Spa are great options.
Chico Hot Springs Resort, Pray, Montana
Located just outside of Yellowstone and not far from Bozeman, Chico’s healing waters have been serving people since 1900, when the hotel opened. The hot springs at Chico flow into two open-air mineral hot springs pools, with temperatures averaging 96 degrees in the large pools, and 103-degrees in the small pools. Guests can soak every day of the year, with the hot springs included in your stay at the resort. Day guests are also welcome. (You should know these 15 etiquette rules before you book a spa day at a resort.)
Chinati Hot Springs, Ruidosa, Texas
This funky little hot springs retreat is off the beaten path. Though only 53 miles from Marfa, Texas, it takes at least two-and- a-half hours to reach it, with 4-wheel drive highly recommended. Another helpful hint? Follow the website’s directions, not the GPS, which the people at Chinati will urge you over and over to do. If you choose not to, you might find yourself stuck on an old riverbed. That aside, when you arrive, be prepared for a desert paradise where you can soak in the hot pool on cold nights, and enjoy the cold pool during the hot, sunny days. There is no day use available of the springs, so prepare for a nice relaxing stay.
Nathan Chor/ShutterstockTravertine Hot Springs, Bridgeport, California
One of the Eastern Sierra’s most popular geothermal locations, Travertine Hot Springs offers incredible Sierra views and sensational healing waters—for free! With four pools to choose from, all lined with a rich gray travertine mud known for its restorative properties, the hot springs can get very crowded, especially during the colder months, so be prepared to share a tub. Also be aware that many visitors enjoy Travertine in the nude. The gravel road is not well-marked, and diverges several times before the destination is reached. Because the road is not maintained in winter, the heavy snowfall cuts off access to the springs, so it’s best to come before the dead of winter, unless you’re looking for a little adventure. (Here’s how you can stay active all winter long.)
Glen Ivy Hot Springs, Corona, California
Located in sunny Southern California, Glen Ivy Hot Springs is a luxurious hot springs experience with the full spa day feel. Offering wellness seekers topnotch treatment for more than a century, the hot springs are nestled at the base of the Santa Ana Mountain Range in Corona, stretching across 12-acres. There are 19 pools and whirlpools to choose from, including the historic geothermal mineral baths with a temperature of 104 degrees. Directly from the earth, the mineral baths are circulated every 10 minutes to a holding pond reserve. When you’re not soaking in the mineral water, there are various other ways to indulge, including skincare treatments, massage, and body rituals, along with healthful cuisine, fitness classes and workshops, self-guided activities like a leisurely, mindful stroll through Glen Ivy’s Labyrinth, exploration of the lush botanical gardens, and so much more.
Fifth Water Hot Springs, Springville, Utah
Not your luxury resort experience, this is the place to truly reconnect with nature in the most relaxing of ways. First, though, you’ll have to hike 2.5 miles from the Diamond Fork Canyon trailhead; the hike is moderate, and definitely well worth it. There are several soaking pools to choose from. Varying in temperature,they’re all gorgeous—sparkling with an incredible turquoise color thanks to the minerals. The hike itself is beautiful, following the bank of Fifth Water Creek. Even in the winter months, you’ll be able to make the trek, since the spot is popular enough that the snow is usually packed down. Nudists rejoice in this spot among a gorgeous waterfall. However, it’s not legal to dip in the buff, so beware!