The Best Natural Hot Springs in the U.S. for the Fall

Patricia Sá

Published on
The Best Natural Hot Springs in the U.S. for the Fall

There’s nothing quite like a breathtaking wonder from mother nature herself to make us realize the world that surrounds us and all that it has to offer. While there still might be some uncharted mysteries to discover, today I found myself daydreaming about nature’s own bubbling wonders—hot springs. And don’t be mistaken if anyone tells you hot springs aren’t a year-long travel experience because, just like when that character from every horror movie suggests splitting up is the way to go, they’re wrong.

As nature’s hot tubs, they offer a relaxing and soothing experience with the perk of soaking you in mineral-rich waters with therapeutic properties. Yes, you’ve read that right. Known as balneology, this therapeutic use of thermal waters was coined back in the late 19th century as a cure for all afflictions. Currently, hot springs are also encouraged for people who suffer from rheumatism, arthritis and sore muscles.

All around the U.S. there are many remote and stunning hot springs with sceneries that are sure to take your breath away. While some might be easily accessible, others might require a bit of hiking to get to those thermal pools. With fall coming up on the horizon, I handpicked a list of the 9 best hot springs in the U.S. for you. But don’t thank me. It’s all courtesy of our big blue planet that we call home.

Hot Springs State Park, Wyoming

Just a few hours away from the Yellowstone National Park, along the waters of the Big Horn River, there’s Hot Springs State Park. Enjoy soaking up in their 104-degree thermal pools while you greet roaming bison from afar. If staying indoors is more of your kind of thing, then worry not. They also have indoor pools that are just perfect after a long hike.

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Hot Springs State Park by @_the_traveling_ot

Hot Springs National Park, Hot Springs, Arkansas

Also known as the American Spa, Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas is the oldest national park in the U.S. and you can find it just an hour away from Little Rock. But don’t be fooled by its age. Due to the high temperatures of their 47 natural springs, the town’s founders built several bathhouses in order to regulate the temperature for a soothing experience to their visitors.

As of today, you’ll only see two original bathhouses functioning, even though the structures of the rest still remain for anyone who wants to check them out.

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Hot Springs National Park by @souladventurersteve 

Castle Hot Springs, Morristown, Arizona

If your dream has been to visit the hottest natural non-volcanic spring in the world, then look no further. An hour away from Phoenix you’ll find Castle Hot Springs surrounded by the Sonoran Desert, but be advised: you can only access it if you’re a registered guest and over 16 years old. Even the trip to Castle Hot Springs is an adventure on its own. You can only navigate your way through the dirt road with a special vehicle.

When you finally arrive, just soak in the natural waters from their three on-site pools, or perhaps, the tubs in a private guest room? If you happen to crave something else during your stay, this resort has yoga classes, available bikes, and much more.

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Castle Hot Springs by @johnsessen 

Dunton Hot Springs, Dolores, Colorado

Quietness. Just the sounds of nature surrounding you and mountains for days. That’s what expects you at Dunton Hot Springs in Colorado. After a flight into Durango and some driving, you’ll find a rugged log-cabin, but make no mistake, these hot springs are pretty much a five-star hotel in disguise.

Besides having your own cabin with a fireplace, you’ll surely enjoy their indoor and outdoor springs and the feeling of calm they bring you. If being alone with your thoughts with just nature surrounding you is what you seek, then this is your ideal getaway. Oh, and did I mention there’s a dinner hosted every night for the guests?

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Dunton Hot Springs by @casswiesner

Umpqua Hot Springs, Glide, Oregon

Remember when I told you that there were a few hot springs that required some hiking? Well, the Umpqua Hot Springs in Oregon is one of them. After a moderated .3 mile hike along the North Umpqua Trail, you’ll finally arrive at your destination. A series of small thermal pools surrounded by lush trees will greet you with their warm waters.

Due to its proximity to nearby attractions like the Toketee Falls, many hikers choose these hot springs as an escape to soothe their pains and take in the peaceful views of the surrounding area. But be advised, Umpqua Hot Springs are a “clothing optional” spring. Under-clothed visitors might make an appearance.

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Umpqua Hot Springs by Melissa via @sacagawea_hikepennsylvania

Travertine Hot Springs, Bridgeport, California

Travertine Hot Springs is one of the most stunning hot springs in Northern California. Surrounded by the mountains of Sierra Nevada, the Travertine Hot Springs are a sight to behold. Their warm water pools are filled with soft mineral deposits that are vibrant shades of green, red, and orange, making them unique in this region.

If you happen to be in the area, or road tripping up California’s coast, this is the perfect pit stop to take.

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Travertine Hot Springs by @katerina.jennifer

Goldstrike Canyon Hot Springs in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada

Contrasting the noise and hustle of Las Vegas, you’ll find a calm oasis at Goldstrike Canyon Hot Springs just an hour away. But there’s a catch. A two-mile hike kind of catch. If you happen to be an experienced hiker, then this will be a piece of cake for you. If not, don’t sweat it. There are some strategically placed ropes to help you make your way up to an amazing oasis filled with pools and steamy waterfalls.

If you take your time looking around, you’ll be surprised to find that some pools are deep enough for a swim!

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Goldstrike Canyon Hot Springs by @juanfbgm

Jordan Hot Springs, Near Silver City, New Mexico

This might be the toughest of the springs we’ve chosen. Starting with a six-mile walk, you’ll find yourself face to face with a slot canyon. After making around 15 crossings with water flowing up to your calves—or waist, depending on the day—you’ll finally come across a vibrant and colored valley with cliffs and spires. This is when you know you’ve reached the Jordan Hot Springs. With warm water rushing from a cascading waterfall, these springs are surrounded by lush trees that will provide you with some much-needed shade after spending hours in the sun.

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Jordan Hot Springs @h5e6lo

San Antonio Hot Springs, Jemez Springs, New Mexico

Home to volcanic activity, the Jemez Mountains have quite a few hot springs scattered all over its valleys, and San Antonio Springs is the one that will take your breath away. With a constant flow of steaming hot spring water, it runs down several natural pools with sandy bottoms and rock walls. The view of the river and valleys is worth the trip by itself. For the fall, we recommend taking the ten-mile round trip hike. But don’t worry, most of it is flat and a well worth hike for an hour or two in the springs.

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San Antonio Hot Springs by @mario_bros_ 

Patricia Sá
Writer
Lisbon, Portugal
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