10 incredible hot springs in the USA

It’s time to get your soak on. From comfortable resorts that revolve around effervescing pools of hot water surging up from underground to remote hot springs that require you to snowmobile or dogsled in for the soothing reward, the western half of the USA in particular is home to some of the most diverse spots on the planet for a bath in naturally fed pools. Read on for a rundown of some of the best hot springs to count on for an au naturel wellness experience catered by Mother Nature.

Make the most out of every adventure with help from our weekly newsletter delivered to your inbox. Iron Mountain Hot Springs in Glenwood Springs, ColoradoIron Mountain Hot Springs has 16 natural soaking pools just off the Colorado River © Iron Mountain Hot Springs

1. Iron Mountain Hot Springs, Colorado 

Average water temperature: Between 96 and 108°F 

Fastest way to get to the hot springs: Drive 180 miles west from Denver along Interstate 70 through the Rocky Mountains to reach the town of Glenwood Springs. 

Overlooking the mighty Colorado River in the historic town of Glenwood Springs, Iron Mountain Hot Springs offers a more intimate and varied soaking experience than the nearby (and better known) Glenwood Hot Springs Resort. You can choose your own adventure at the 16 geothermal mineral soaking pools here (ages 5 and up only), all connected by heated walkways. Or take younger kids to the family pool and adjacent jetted spa, where the water hovers around the 100°F mark.

All of the property’s mineral pools are fed from on-site springs, with no chemicals added. Called Mother Lode, the hottest mineral pool maxes out at around 108°F (there are markers outside each pool to let you know the heat intensity to expect). You can tickle your toes in reflexology pools with smooth river rocks at the bottom. And for the best views, look for the Garnet and Diamond pools, which have infinity edges and hang over the river in a way that might make you feel like you’re actually soaking in it.

Planning tip: Visit on a weekday at 9am, just when the springs open, for the most peaceful and crowd-free experience.

2. Homestead Crater, Utah 

Average water temperature: Between 90 and 96°F 

Fastest way to get to the hot springs: Drive 51 miles (less than an hour) southeast of Salt Lake City to reach Homestead Crater Mineral Dome. 

As long as you’re okay with a hot-spring soak that’s not as hot as most of them (temperatures max out around “just” 96°F here), Utah’s Homestead Crater definitely delivers the biggest range of on-site experiences of any hot springs we know. Here, you not only can float in womb-like waters but also scuba dive in them (if you’re certified), snorkel and even try some SUP yoga within the beehive-shaped dome of the hot springs’ natural limestone setting.

It’s an otherworldly location for wellness, to be sure, bolstered by naturally present calcium and sodium bicarbonate in the geothermal waters that are said to soothe muscles and promote relaxation. The hole at the top of the crater lets in sunlight and fresh air, setting the scene for some pretty spectacular photos, too. 

Planning tip: For the best photos, plan your visit for spring or summer when there’s less steam inside the crater and you can be sure to photograph its impressive interior expanse with good visibility all around. 

Two people in a hot spring set in a desert canyon landscape in Castle Hot Springs, Arizona, USAThe canyon views stun at Castle Hot Springs, Arizona © Ryan Donnell / Castle Hot Springs

3. Castle Hot Springs, Arizona

Average water temperature: Bubbles up at 115°F, with pools maintaining temperatures between 85 and 106°F

Fastest way to get to the hot springs: Drive about 55 miles (roughly one hour) northwest of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport to reach the resort and hot springs.  

Tucked into a scenic canyon in the Bradshaw Mountains just an hour from Phoenix, Castle Hot Springs has been luring tourists since the late 1800s – and Indigenous peoples for far longer – with its healing waters. Now an all-inclusive luxury wellness resort, this destination is well worth an overnight stay, thanks to exceptional stargazing at night, a thrilling onsite via ferrata course and (naturally) 24-hour access to mineral hot springs that cascade across three pools of varying temperatures.

Open to resort guests only, the geothermal hot springs here are rich in calcium and nerve-calming magnesium as well as lithium, which has been called the “happy mineral” for its mood-stabilizing properties. Take a soak surrounded by towering saguaro cacti, palms and layer upon layer of weather-worn rock, colored purple and rusty red from the spring’s mineral content. 

Planning tip: After a long hike on the property, soak in the hot springs to ease muscle soreness and joint pain: bicarbonates in the water help remove lactic acid from your muscles. To have the hot springs to yourself, arrive before 6am or around 8pm, when other guests are likely still asleep or at dinner. 

People soak in the naturally heated pools of Chena Hot Springs, AlaskaYou can enjoy a hot soak at Chena Hot Springs in Alaska no matter how cold it gets outside © Walter Bibikow / Getty Images

4. Chena Hot Springs, Alaska 

Average water temperature: Outdoor pools average about 106°F

Fastest way to get to the hot springs: Fly to Fairbanks and drive (or take the resort’s shuttle) 62 miles northeast to Chena Hot Springs. 

If there’s any state in the US that naturally begs you to seek out a hot spring, it’s Alaska. And one of the most famous ones in the state is found 150 miles south of the Arctic Circle, near Fairbanks, at Chena Hot Springs. If your luck holds here during the darker months of the year, from late August through late April, you might even get lucky and catch the northern lights swirling overhead while you soak.

An indoor pool offers cooler waters, yet it’s the steamier outdoor wading lake supplied by geothermal waters with no added chemicals and surrounded by boulders that’s far and away the most spectacular spot to dip. The sandy bottom is comfortable on your feet, and you can push along the bottom or stroll the lake until you find a spot with the perfect temperature. 

Planning tip: While there’s lodging onsite at the hot springs, there are better places to stay in and around Fairbanks (we love Borealis Basecamp).

A woman leans back into a waterfall at a natural hot spring at Avalanche Ranch Hot Springs, Colorado, USAOne of the natural waterfalls at Avalanche Ranch Hot Springs © courtesy Avalanche Ranch Hot Springs

5. Avalanche Ranch Hot Springs, Colorado 

Average water temperature: Pools range from 93 to 104°F 

Fastest way to get to the hot springs: Drive 208 miles (4 hours) west of Denver International Airport to reach Avalanche Ranch Hot Springs.

You can come as a day-tripper or stay the night in adorable cabins (including the Chuck Wagon, which sleeps only two people and sits atop actual wheels) at this inimitable hot springs resort in Colorado’s sublime Crystal River Valley. Surrounded by mountains in the White River National Forest, Avalanche Ranch Hot Springs has three hot-spring pools on the property of varying sizes – all of which cascade, waterfall-like, down the mountainside. If you’re staying at the property, access to the hot springs is included in your nightly rate and you can access the pools around the clock. 

Planning tip: The ranch hot springs are closed for cleaning on Wednesdays, when you can carve out your own little pool to sit and soak right on the banks of the Crystal River at Penny Hot Springs, just south of the cute town of Carbondale. 

6. Orvis Hot Springs, Colorado 

Average water temperature: Outdoor pools average about 106°F

Fastest way to get to the hot springs: It’s a roughly 292-mile drive southwest of Denver International Airport, through Gunnison and Montrose, to reach Orvis Hot Springs. 

Ten indoor and outdoor soaking pools beckon uninhibited lovers of lithium-infused water to this clothing-optional oasis just north of Ouray in southwestern Colorado. Water temperatures in the various pools at Orvis Hot Springs run the range from a nippy 65°F to a steamy 114°F in the “lobster pot,” so you can try alternating hot and cold dips if you really want to get your blood flowing.

The hot springs were long on the radar of the Tabeguache band of the Utes, who considered the spot a sacred healing destination. Today, it’s a free-spirited crowd that largely chooses to take the waters – sans cover-ups. Note: if you’re worried about where your gaze might wander in this liberating environment, it will be hard to resist…the views of the gorgeous San Juan Mountain views all around. 

Planning tip: After a long soak, splurge on a massage inside one of the onsite yurts. 

A wooden walkway across hot springs at Hot Springs State Park, Thermopolis, Wyoming, USARemote Hot Springs State Park in Wyoming is well worth the trek. And it’s free to enjoy, too © Angela Dukich / Shutterstock

7. Hot Springs State Park, Wyoming 

Average water temperature: The water in the bathhouse hot spring is 104°F

Fastest way to get to the hot springs: Drive 85 miles (1.5 hours) southeast of Cody, Wyoming to reach Hot Springs State Park. 

What’s better than a hot spring surrounded by nature in a state park? Free-entry hot springs surrounded by nature in a state park. That’s right: there’s no one taking tickets or sliding your credit card to access the Wyoming State Bath House at Hot Springs State Park in Thermopolis, Wyoming. Indoor and outdoor mineral hot springs flow up from the earth at 128°F and are cooled to 104°F for visitors’ therapeutic bathing benefit. Of course, you have to first get to Hot Springs State Park, in the remote north-central reaches of the state. It’s well worth the trek not only to enjoy the springs at the bathhouse and see the too-hot springs flowing along the Big Horn River but to spot big-horned animals, too – the park is home to a managed herd of bison that can be easily observed. 

Planning tip: Find your way to Ava’s Silver and Rock Shop in Thermopolis to shop for a mind-boggling range of rocks, minerals and fossils – all at largely affordable prices. 

8. Benton Hot Springs, California 

Average water temperature: The water comes out at 140°F; adjustable in individual pools

Fastest way to get to the hot springs: On the border with Nevada, the hot springs are most easily reached by flying into Las Vegas and driving 282 miles (roughly 4.5 hours) northwest. 

Camping alongside your own private hot spring-fed-soaking tub with spectacular views? We’re into it. The 11 private hot spring-fed soaking pools at Benton Hot Springs in California’s Mono County are available for overnight rentals and sit astride your own picnic table and fire pit for roasting s’mores post soaking session. Feel free to pitch a tent (or show up in an RV or camper) for the night to linger longer and enjoy the dark skies overhead. (There’s an inn here with a few rustic rooms, too, but camping is where it’s at).

Each of the private hot tubs has a different look and views – some are elevated, others sunken into the ground – but they’re all fed with natural hot spring water that flows into the pools at 140°F, which you can adjust to a tolerable feel with your tub’s hoses. 

Planning tip: There’s no restaurant on site, so if you’re not into campfire cooking, drive roughly 40 miles (40 minutes) south to Bishop, where Mountain Rambler Brewery serves up excellent burgers and craft beers.

Tolovana Hot Springs in the Tolovana River Valley of AlaskaThe very remote Tolovana Hot Springs in the Tolovana River Valley of Alaska © Courtesy of Borealis Basecamp / The Nomadic People

9. Tolovana Hot Springs, Alaska 

Average water temperature: Between 125 and 145°F, then cooled for soaking

Fastest way to get to the hot springs: Arrive by helicopter from Borealis Basecamp in Fairbanks, on dog-sledding tours or, during the summer, by hiking just over 10 miles from a trailhead some 100 miles by car from Fairbanks.

Whereas Chena tends to draw the aurora-seeking masses to its sprawling outdoor hot pool, this more remote Alaskan hot-spring destination, 45 miles as the crow (or helicopter) flies north of Fairbanks, makes you earn it – which means hiking or flying in during the summer months, or arriving by dogsled or on skis when it’s snowy. As you might imagine, arriving by dog sled to Tolovana Hot Springs pretty much takes the cake. You can head out with Arctic Dog Aventure Co. to reach the springs on multi-night dog sledding expeditions that promise one awesome adventure (and often the northern lights, too).

Borealis Basecamp can also get you to the hot springs on day trips by helicopter, which is equally splendid. The hot springs come out of the earth at between 125 and 145°F, and you soak to enjoy them in small, hot-tub-like pools. Yet what makes this place special is being deep in the wilderness of northern Alaska, so comfortable in such very wild surroundings. 

Planning tip: If you dare, be brave and take it all off: the skin feel is exceptional. And when are you ever going to find yourself in such a remote place for hot-spring hopping again?

10. Burgdorf Hot Springs, Idaho 

Average water temperature: Between 96 and 113°F 

Fastest way to get to the hot springs: Drive 138 miles (roughly three hours) north of Boise through the mountains of the Payette National Forest to reach the hot springs. 

Topping the list of Idaho’s most epic and historic hot springs, Burgdorf Hot Springs is on the National Register of Historic Places and delivers a true western experience. Open to guests who overnight in the rustic collection of onsite cabins as well as day visitors who register their visits in advance, the springs are surrounded by the lodgepole-pine-covered slopes of the Salmon River Mountains, and original wooden structures built by miners in the 1800s.

Hot water gushes up from the ground at 130 gallons per minute into the hottest soaking pools – called lobster pots – from which you’ll emerge pink as a cooked crustacean. For a soaking experience where you’re likely to last longer, float with a pool noodle in the larger, pebble-bottomed main pool, which is cooler but still plenty balmy – and let the natural lithium work its magic. 

Planning tip: While the hot springs are open year-round, they see far fewer crowds during the winter months and early spring (December to April), when the road in is closed to car traffic and most visitors arrive by snowmobile or on skis. 


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