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Ready to shake off winter's chill? While you wait for summer temperatures, sink into steaming hot springs, where you'll come out revived by the warmth and minerals. From rugged natural pools with stunning surroundings to hot spring resorts with ample amenities, there's a perfect hot spring for every type of traveler.
The purported health benefits of hot springs include nourishing the skin, boosting blood circulation, and, of course, reducing stress. And while countries like Iceland (opens in new tab)are famous for their geothermal springs, you don’t have to head out of the country to experience their healing powers. Below, 10 of the hottest destinations (literally) around the United States where you can take a dip.
Pagosa Springs, Colorado
The Springs Resort (opens in new tab) in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, is home to the Mother Spring: the deepest hot spring in the world. At 1,002 feet deep, the Mother Spring feeds 25 soaking pools on the shores of the San Juan River, where overnight guests get 24/7 access to the hot tubs.
The benefits of the geothermal waters include 13 minerals that promote healthy skin and increase energy. The name Pagosa, given to the waters by the Southern Ute Indian tribe, comes from the Ute word meaning, “healing waters.” The Springs Resort offers aqua yoga, where guests can move through modified routines while taking a dip in geothermal soaking pools. The high content of sodium in the water makes it easier to hold positions while the warm temperature leads to deeper stretches.
At the end of the day, swing by one of the locally-owned breweries which use the heat of the geothermal springs to make beer.
Glen Ivy, Southern California
Glen Ivy (opens in new tab) is a day use hot springs spa at the base of the Santa Ana Mountains in the Temescal Valley near Corona, California, that promotes "taking the waters" in their 19 pools. This is followed by a visit to Club Mud—California’s only therapeutic red clay mineral bath. After a mud bath, either bake in the sun or in their Wafa cave, letting the clay draw out impurities and exfoliate your skin. Finish your day with The Grotto, a moisturizing body treatment where your body is painted with warm aloe vera, coconut oil, eucalyptus, shea butter, and a lavender masque in the warm cavern.
The Southern California climate is perfect for those who don’t want as much of a temperature shock getting out of the mineral baths, even during the coldest months of the year. For additional relaxation, book the Winter Warm-Up package, which includes access to all gardens and pools, Club Mud, The Grotto, a massage or facial at the spa, a robe for the day, and a warm drink.
Castle Hot Springs, Arizona
Head to Arizona’s desert and immerse yourself in the restorative Castle Hot Springs (opens in new tab). Pumped from natural aquifers deep in the Earth, these healing waters are known for their soothing and detoxifying properties. Located just 50 miles from Phoenix, Castle Hot Springs offers breathtaking surroundings from wandering wild burros and ancient indigenous cacti to unparalleled views of the Sonoran sunsets over the Bradshaw Mountains.
The thermal hot springs have been naturally forged into the land over 13,000 years and are filled with rich minerals known to remedy aches and pains, improve mobility, and boost skin health. The waters paint the land with a spectrum of hues reflective of the minerals running through them—lithium bears a deep purple shade, while iron evokes rusty red and oxidized copper merges into blues and greens. The two top thermal pools, which average between 96 and 106 degrees, both have the Earth as a floor, making this a truly grounding experience.
Sol Duc Hot Springs, Washington
Sol Duc Hot Springs (opens in new tab) offer three natural mineral hot spring soaking pools with temperatures ranging from 99 to 104 degrees. The pools are fed from rain and melted snow that seep through cracks in sedimentary rocks and mix with the gasses from cooling volcanic rocks, then rise via surface cracks.
Sol Duc Hot Springs is located in the Olympic National Park, the most Northwestern point in the contiguous U.S. The park is so blissfully disconnected from the modern world that the 922,651 acres of preserved wilderness stands suspended in time. With that comes a more rugged experience; Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort offers 32 rustic cabins.
Granite Hot Springs, Wyoming
Located in Bridger-Teton National Forest in Sublette County, about 30 miles from Jackson, Granite Hot Springs (opens in new tab) offers jaw-dropping panoramic scenery with views of the southern Gros Ventre Range and Granite Creek.
While the Granite Hot Springs soaking pool is man-made, it sits above Granite Creek Falls in a spruce, fir, and pine forest, which makes it even more magical with snow. From December through April, the hot springs are only accessible via snowmobile, dog sled, skiing, snowshoe, and fat biking (opens in new tab). Jackson Hole’s Iditarod Sled Dog Tours (opens in new tab) offer half- and full-day excursions to the hot springs.
Iron Mountain Hot Springs, Colorado
Iron Mountain Hot Springs (opens in new tab) is located in historic Glenwood Springs, a quaint mountain town overlooking the Colorado River. With expansive vistas and spectacular sunsets, this year-round hot spring destination offers natural geothermal mineral waters to promote relaxation, rejuvenation, serenity, and good health.
The 17 pools range from a mild 98 degrees to a toasty 108 degrees, and come in various shapes and sizes, including a family-friendly, freshwater pool with an elevated jetted spa. There are pebble-bottomed reflexology pools, waterfalls, a heart-shaped pool, and cold water rain showers, all with incredible views. More than 14 health-boosting minerals are found in the water and a quiet zone surrounds the soaking pools to ensure a tranquil atmosphere.
Mountain Village Resort, Idaho
Idaho has more soakable hot springs than any other state (more than 130!) thanks to its unique geological location. While many of the state's hot springs are reached via strenuous hikes or off-the-beaten-paths—a.k.a. "ask the locals where it is" routes— there are much easier and just as scenic options for soaking in one of the state's many private hot springs.
Mountain Village Resort (opens in new tab) and its private hot springs are located in Stanley, Idaho, one of the coldest places on Earth. So, it's the perfect place to warm up with a soak and a cup of coffee on a frigid, quiet morning. The semi-indoor pool is inside a rustic log building with a large barn-style door that opens to allow in the fresh mountain air and, most importantly, incredible views of the nearby creek and surrounding Sawtooth Mountains.
Homestead Crater, Utah
One of Utah’s best-kept secrets, Homestead Crater, is a geothermal hot spring that was created more than 10,000 years ago as melting snow seeped deep into the Earth, which percolated upward by being heated by the Earth’s interior, resulting in the beehive-shaped deposit known today as Homestead Crater.
A visit to this natural phenomenon is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, with year-round water temperatures remaining at 90 to 96 degrees while the brisk outdoors and crisp mountain air sits overhead. One of the most special wellness experiences offered is stand-up paddleboard yoga—aptly dubbing Homestead as one of nature’s “oldest yoga studios.”
Knot Springs, Oregon
Lavish Knot Springs (opens in new tab), with enviable views of downtown Portland and the Willamette River, has recently reopened. The urban springs are a serene respite after a hike, like crossing the Burnside Bridge from downtown to the YARD building where Knot Springs is located. The signature experience at Knot Springs is the “springs visit,” which includes a circuit through the sauna, steam room, two hot tubs, and a cold plunge.
Jemez Hot Springs, New Mexico
Located on Scenic Byway Highway in Jemez Springs, New Mexico, Jemez Hot Springs (opens in new tab) has four geothermal pools that are rich in natural minerals. The springs’ water originates about 17 miles up the mountain from beneath the Valles Caldera National Preserve. Long ago, ancient seawater was trapped on the mountain and became infused with calcium, magnesium, lithium, potassium, iron, silica, and other minerals over time.
Lodging is available on-site or guests can stay in the charming town of Jemez Springs. In addition to day spa springs like Jemez Hot Springs, the area even offers hot springs located on public land, which are accessible via hike and surrounded by nature.
Michelle Stansbury is a San Diego-based freelance writer who writes about travel, food, cannabis, and relationships. Misuse of the word "literally" drives her figuratively insane.
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