7 Must-See Hot Springs in the U.S.
There are few things more relaxing than soaking in a natural hot spring while you take in the incredible scenery. These waters are perfect for easing sore muscles, relaxing your mind and soothing your soul. Here are seven incredible hot springs in the United States to visit and soak your cares away.
Travertine Hot Springs (Bridgeport, California)
With stunning views of the Sierra range, this clothing-optional hot spring is one of the most popular in California. Located off a dirt road not far from U.S. Route 395 in Bridgeport, Travertine Hot Springs feature several small pools, each surrounded by lovely rock formations. Because these springs are so well known, they can get busy on the weekends. Your best bet for crowd-free soaking is to visit during the week in the fall, winter or spring.
Goldbug Hot Springs (Salmon, Idaho)
A well-traveled, two-mile trail will bring you to Goldbug Hot Springs, a series of pools interspersed among gorgeous waterfalls. The hike is considered strenuous by many, but it is well-marked and offers beautiful views heading up the mountain. The springs are located in the Salmon-Challis National Forest, just south of Salmon, Idaho, and primitive camping is permitted nearby. Visit Goldbug Hot Springs in the fall when foliage is changing and the temperatures are cool.
Spencer Hot Springs (Austin, Nevada)
The remote location of Spencer Hot Springs in Austin, Nevada, is the key to this spot’s appeal. Located in the North Central Valley, on public land, the hot springs consist of several pools, many of which have been improved by local volunteers. Cattle troughs and tubs of various shapes and sizes make for an interesting soaking experience, and there is also talk of a herd of wild burros that occasionally come to visit. The water at Spencer Hot Springs can reach temperatures of 140 degrees Fahrenheit or more, so be sure to test it before fully immersing.
The Boiling River (Gardiner, Montana)
The geothermal activity in Yellowstone National Park is legendary, drawing thousands of visitors every year. While much of Yellowstone’s hot springs are boiling hot and off-limits for public soaking, there is one place where you can enjoy a good swim in the warm thermal waters. The Boiling River is a fun Yellowstone destination, where cold water from the Gardner River mixes with the Boiling River Hot Spring, creating the perfect outdoor spa. Swimming is only permitted during certain hours and bathing suits are required.
Strawberry Park Hot Springs (Steamboat Springs, Colorado)
While primitive hot springs are awesome, there’s something to be said for the ubiquitous hot springs resort. That's why Strawberry Park Hot Springs makes this list. In addition to relaxing in 104-degree Fahrenheit thermal pools, Strawberry Park also maintains unique, rustic cabins and a small tent-camping area. Massages can be booked daily, and there is a changing and picnic area for your convenience.
Umpqua Hot Springs (Idleyld Park, Oregon)
Umpqua Hot Springs are located in the Central Cascades near Idleyld Park, Oregon, and are easily accessed year-round. Situated above the Umpqua River, these intimate hot springs feature three stacked pools and clothing-optional bathing. There are two campsites, picnic tables and a toilet nearby, but otherwise the Umpqua Hot Springs are very primitive. During most of the year, the springs can be reached by hiking a ¼-mile trail. In the winter, when the forest access road is closed, hikers will have to walk two miles to reach the springs.
Fifth Water Hot Springs (Diamond Fork Canyon, Utah)
Soaking in Fifth Water Hot Springs requires a 2.5-mile hike into Diamond Fork Canyon. If you’re willing to put in the work, you will be rewarded with some of the most picturesque hot springs you’ve ever seen. The springs at Fifth Wheel consist of several rock-lined pools that flow gently into a small stream. The best time to visit is in the spring and fall when the crowds are minimal. The access road is gated in the winter, and while you can still hike to the springs, it doubles the distance you will have to walk.
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