A Good Session of Hot Springs Never Harmed Anybody!
Some might say that the word “spa” is an acronym for the Latin phrase Sanus Per Aquam, which means “healing through water.” Deep, right? Others think it came from the springs of Spa, Belgium, where a famous health resort was established.
Or, it could also come from the Walloon word for “fountain.” Who knows? But we definitely love it. Who wouldn’t love the feeling of mineral-rich hot spring water in outdoor pools, especially after a tiring hiking day? The whole combo of calcium, magnesium, sodium, iron, and other dissolved minerals can soothe any aching muscle. As some folks claim, it can even provide miraculous cures.
The western US is quite rich in hot springs. In fact, the range is very wide, from humble holes out in the woods all the way to water channeled into manmade pools at luxe resorts. Here are some of the cutest springs where you can stay overnight in comfort while also taking in the healing waters. Or, you can ask for a day pass.
Crane Hot Springs, Burns, Oregon
The wide pool and views of sagebrush, mountains, and plenty of snow are probably the best parts of visiting southeast Oregon’s Crane Hot Springs. This is a rare hot spring pool that’s big enough to swim in, and it’s also extra deep.
In fact, it almost has seven feet in some places. Crane’s is a bare-bones resort, with plenty of RV hookups and small but comfortable dog-friendly cabins with a communal bathhouse. The more upscale rooms also have private soaking tubs.
Quinn’s Hot Springs, Paradise, Montana
Native Americans knew about these hot springs long before. After seeing these communities gather here, Irish miner and entrepreneur Martin Quinn decided he would also develop a resort in the area. In the 1880s, Quinn built bathhouses and early glamping facilities here.
Obviously, plenty of guests came to treat their illnesses but also get a well-deserved cleanse of tobacco, alcohol, and mine poisons. Nowadays, Quinn’s has five gorgeous natural pools, which also include one for cold plunging and two salt-treated pools. Also, we should warn you: you will also see some gorgeous mountain views.
Belknap Hot Springs, Blue River, Oregon
It’s really hard to imagine a more beautiful spot than Belknap Hot Springs. The large and well-developed pool has a direct view of the rushing McKenzie River. In late summer, huge sunflowers frame the entire area.
When you’re not soaking, you can simply explore the forest trails and look for the Secret Garden. It has some interesting old pillars and fountains, like a misplaced Roman ruin. It’s quite the view! You can also spend time in the lodge beside the pool or even a mile away at Camp Yale, which has plenty of RV sites and modern vacation rentals.
Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa, Ojo Caliente, New Mexico
Only 45 minutes west of Taos, New Mexico, you can relax and soak in cliffside mineral water pools rich in lithium, iron, soda, and arsenic. You can also take a mud bath or book a relaxing spa treatment using some local ingredients such as prickly pear, blue corn, and, naturally, lavender.
Ojo Caliente has many trails for hiking, but also plenty of hammocks for relaxing. You can bring your tent or RV, or even rent a vintage trailer or a room in the historic hotel.
Carson Hot Springs, Carson, Washington
This extremely relaxing spot in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge provides the full 1930s bathhouse experience. Enjoy the waters in an old clawfoot tub or even soak with others in a public mineral pool. At Carson Hot Springs, you can simply stay in the old 1901 hotel or another modern hotel building.
Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort, Port Angeles, Washington
Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort is right in Olympic National Park, so you should expect to see towering evergreens and probably some rain. The resort has three mineral hot spring soaking pools and one freshwater pool. Guests can rent rustic cabins for their hiking and hot springs headquarters.
Trinity Hot Springs, Featherville, Idaho
Because of the exceptional purity of its water, Trinity is certified by the European hot spring authority, Institut Fresenius, for its “Naturliches Heilwasser.” To translate, for its natural health, water. I know; don’t worry, no one understands German here. You can camp, stay in the lodge, or even rent a cozy Idaho cabin. There are also many onsite yoga and meditation classes, too.
Chena Hot Springs, Fairbanks North Star Borough, Alaska
Sixty miles northeast of Fairbanks, Chena Hot Springs offers you the perfect chance to get outside in your swimsuit throughout the year. We have to be honest; this is quite a rarity in Alaska. The huge pool is, of course, surrounded by plenty of rocks.
You know, just to get that beloved natural feel with astounding mountain views in every single direction. There’s also plenty of room to float or paddle around, if that’s your thing. China also brings a ton of other fun activities, like snowmobiling, dog sledding, Northern Lights viewing, and even an interesting ice museum.
Azure Palm Hot Springs and Day Spa Oasis, Desert Hot Springs, California
At Azure Palm Hot Springs, you can easily hang out with other folks in a free-flowing mineral pool with beautiful views of Mount San Jacinto and the Coachella Valley. Or, if you prefer, you can soak privately in an ensuite mineral spring tub. This upscale SoCal report also offers various relaxing wellness retreats. Do you want to be treated like royalty? No problem: they also have luxury guest rooms and a full spa menu.
Castle Hot Springs, Morriston, Arizona
Castle Hot Springs managed to effortlessly combine the swanky with the natural. The pools and the canyon setting in the Sonoran Desert outside Phoenix are absolutely to die for. The dining room is also a five-star place.
Some activities include desert e-bike tours or exploiting a private slot canyon. If you’re in the mood for pickleball, they also have that. And nothing compares to a good session of wine tasting at the end of a full day, right?
If you enjoyed reading this piece, you also need to try: 6 Incredible US Adventure Vacations You Won’t Want to Miss