10 Healing Hot Springs Across the United States

Soak up America’s geothermal wonders in these rugged springs, historic bathhouses, and relaxing wellness retreats.

A hot tub reflecting clouds in sky with snow-dusted mountains in the background

The mineral-rich waters of Durango Hot Springs make for a welcome place to heal any aches and pains after a day on the slopes.

Photo by Isaac Dean

Nothing warms the bones and soothes the soul like soaking in mineral-rich waters heated deep below the earth’s surface. Add open sky and a killer view to the picture, and you’ve pretty much achieved nirvana. It’s no wonder that people from all walks of life have long sought out hot springs across the United States.

Most of the country’s hot springs are concentrated in the western United States, a region particularly conducive to producing geothermically heated water. Regular soakers tend to have their favorite spots, and here we’ve gathered 10 of ours. With isolated natural pools for ambitious outdoor enthusiasts, historic bathhouses that have been going strong for more than a century, and thoughtfully designed retreats for those seeking total relaxation, this list recognizes that there is more than one way to soak up the healing powers of a hot spring. And if you’re seeking more of a full vacation than a quick visit or day-spa experience, check out our recent story on America’s best hot springs resorts next.

A hot spring pool backed by snow-covered evergreen trees and a mountain

In the winter, soakers can snowshoe or snowmobile to Granite Hot Springs Pool near Jackson, Wyoming.

Courtesy of Visit Jackson Hole

Granite Hot Springs Pool, Wyoming

This hot spring–fed swimming pool in the scenic Bridger Teton National Forest sits among tall evergreens on the banks of Granite Creek, just above Granite Creek Falls. About 30 miles southeast of Jackson, Wyoming, the family-friendly spot is beloved by locals and has a strict no-alcohol policy. It’s open from late May to late October and again from early December to early April. Summer visitors can drive the winding, 11-mile access road to the springs (be warned: it can get bumpy), but in the winter, soakers arrive via snowmobile, cross-country skis, fat bike, or dog sled. There are changing rooms and toilets on site, and entry is $12 for adults and $7 for children.

Stone steps at left leading to two small rock-lined pools at Goldmyer Hot Springs

Goldmyer Hot Springs once served as a retreat for loggers and miners.

Photo by hundertmorgen_/Flickr

Goldmyer Hot Springs, Washington

Thanks to a daily admission cap of 20 people, large crowds are never a concern at Goldmyer Hot Springs, located 60 miles east of Seattle in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. Ancient forests surround these three minimally developed hot pools (and one cool pool), which were privatized as part of a mining claim in the early 1900s and served as a retreat for loggers and miners. One of the pools sits at the entrance of a horizontal mine shaft, creating a cave-like atmosphere. The 4.5-mile hike to the clothing-optional springs begins at the end of an unpaved forest service road. Facilities include an open-air cabana, outhouses, and campsites. Reservations are required (no groups larger than eight are permitted) and can be made by phone through the Northwest Wilderness Program, a nonprofit that now manages the site. Costs include a national forest pass ($5) and entry fees ($30 for adults, $25 for seniors, and free for children 17 and under); camping is an additional $10 per person, per night.

Aerial view of a complex of pools and hot tubs surrounded by green lawn and trees, with mountains in distance

Many of the pools at Durango Hot Springs are ADA-accessible.

Courtesy of Durango Hot Springs Resort and Spa

Durango Hot Springs Resort and Spa, Colorado

After a morning on the slopes at Purgatory Ski Resort, give your bones a rest at this sprawling complex, eight miles outside of Durango in southwestern Colorado. There are 32 hot spring mineral pools (some adults-only, many ADA-accessible), plus two cold plunges, a swimming pool, Japanese-inspired cedar soaking tubs, a mineral-water rain tower, and a reflexology path. Unlike some of the wilder springs on this list, Durango Hot Springs is a proper spa, offering a full menu of massages and treatments. This is the only hot spring in the world that infuses nanometer oxygen bubbles into the water (1 trillion per liter!), which helps with clarity and mineral absorption; the water naturally has a unique blend of 32 minerals and ranges between 99 and 112 degrees Fahrenheit. Reservations are required, and the resort is open daily from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., with prices for adults running $39 for two hours or $49 for three hours.

A suspension bridge in distance next to travertine stone cliffs beside expanse of water

A pedestrian suspension footbridge offers views out over the colorful travertine terraces.

Photo by melissamn/Shutterstock

Hot Springs State Park, Wyoming

Located in the town of Thermopolis (Greek for “hot city”), Wyoming’s first state park was established in 1897. When the federal government bought the land from the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes, they agreed that access to the therapeutic mineral springs would remain free forever, and today, there’s still a free bathhouse where visitors can take in the 104-degree waters. Note that the water has actually been cooled down: More than 1.8 million gallons flow out of the ground and over colorful travertine terraces along the Big Horn River every day, and it starts out at a scorching 128 degrees Fahrenheit. The park is also known for its suspension footbridge and a herd of bison that you can watch getting fed by park staff during late fall and winter each day at 8:30 a.m.

Aerial view of small town with a complex of pools in foreground surrounded by mountains under a pink-cloud sky

In Ouray, the mountain views are almost as awe-inspiring as the geothermal waters.

Photo by Jacob Boomsma/Shutterstock

Ouray Hot Springs, Colorado

The western Colorado mining community of Ouray (10 miles over the mountain from Telluride as the crow flies, but about an hour’s drive) is surrounded by snow-capped, 13,000-foot-tall peaks that have earned it the nickname “the Switzerland of America.” Right in the middle of town, you’ll find this nearly century-old hot springs complex, where the geothermally heated waters are full of iron, manganese, zinc, and other minerals—though, luckily, no sulfur, which leaves it blissfully odor-free. The facility includes five pools (three are heated), two waterslides, a climbing wall, and an inflatable obstacle course. The pools are open year-round, and one of the most spectacular ways to experience them is on a brisk day, surrounded by snow. And that’s not uncommon, considering that Ouray sits at about 7,800 feet above sea level in the middle of the Rockies. Admission is $26 for adults between 18 and 61, with discounts for youth ($16) and seniors ($18), and it’s free for children under 4 and adults 75 and over. Water temperatures fluctuate slightly and are posted daily on the facility’s Facebook page.

Two small turquoise pools surrounded by streaked rocks at Travertine Hot Springs

The rocks at Travertine Hot Springs have a streaked patina from the mineral-rich water.

Photo by Shutterstock

Travertine Hot Springs, California

This well-known soaking spot on public land near the border of California and Nevada is free, easily accessible, and a good pit-stop for folks road-tripping along Highway 395. The pools enjoy sweeping views of the Sierras and are surrounded by craggy rock formations and marshy fields. A concrete-lined tub near the parking lot is the largest and most convenient of the pools, but visitors can easily find many smaller natural pools in the area. The rocks lining these pools have an interesting multi-colored, streaked patina in spots where mineral-rich water has flowed over them. Plan for the possibility of nude folks; this is a clothing-optional spot. To find the springs, head south on route 395 from Bridgeport for half a mile, then turn left at Jack Sawyer Road, just before the ranger station. There is a pit toilet on site.

A hot spring lined with sandbags and backed by a rock wall with reddish stains and white patches

One way to reach Arizona Hot Springs is via a strenuous hike and a climb up a ladder.

Photo by Beth Schroeder/Shutterstock

Arizona Hot Springs, Nevada

These springs are located about 45 minutes southeast of Las Vegas in an area known for its slots, but not the kind you find in Sin City: The three clothing-optional pools sit inside a scenic slot canyon near the Colorado River. Visitors can arrive via kayak or raft, but most opt for the strenuous hike that culminates in an ascent of a tall metal ladder. The trail starts at the White Rock Canyon trailhead just south of Hoover Dam on U.S. Highway 93. Because hot springs and hot weather are not a good mix, the springs close from May 15 through September 30; ample water and sunscreen are essential year-round on the sunny hike.

A large stone hot tub on landscaped grounds next to a river, with boardwalk over water in background

The pools at Riverbend Hot Springs overlook the Rio Grande.

Courtesy of Riverbend Hot Springs

Riverbend Hot Springs Resort and Spa, New Mexico

Before adopting its current name in 1950, the New Mexican town of Truth or Consequences was aptly called “Hot Springs.” This small community about two hours south of Albuquerque sits on top of a hot spring and has a long history as a spa town. It is home to 10 commercial bathhouses; Riverbend Hot Springs, a hotel and spa that boasts the town’s only open-air soaking option, stands out among the rest. Visitors can use the spa’s communal pools or book one of the private pools, and every option sits next to the Rio Grande and enjoys mountain views. After dark, the property is gently lit with multi-colored lighting, making for a romantic scene. Overnight guests get unlimited access to the communal pools and discounted rates on private pools; day passes start at $30 for one-hour off-peak access to the common pools and grounds. Guests must be 12 years or older to enter.

A historic three-story brick building with white columns and rows of blue-and-white-striped awnings, with a few people on chairs on front veranda

The Buckstaff Bathhouse has been welcoming guests to Arkansas since 1912.

Photo by Kit Leong/Shutterstock

Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas

Located about an hour’s drive west of Little Rock, the thermal waters of Hot Springs National Park have been federally protected since 1832, making this the oldest property managed by the National Park System (it’s actually a few decades older than the NPS). Throughout the 19th century, it developed into a European-style spa town, with a series of Victorian bathhouses built between 1892 and 1923. Over the years, many of them have been transformed into a visitor center, a nine-suite hotel, and even a brewery, but there are two where you can still take the healing waters. Known for its white columns and iconic blue-and-white-striped awnings, Buckstaff Bathhouse is the only building on Bathhouse Row that has remained in continuous operation since it opened in 1912; experiences start from $40 for a whirlpool mineral bath, or you can add on massages, manicures, facials, and other spa treatments. Nearby, Quapaw Baths opened in 1922 with a dramatic tiled dome and Native American–inspired design motifs. It has closed and reopened a few times over the years, but it’s now a day spa with public thermal pools ($25) and add-ons such as private aromatherapy and hydrotherapy baths.

Aerial view o four emerald pools at New Mexico's Jemez Hot Springs

The hot springs in this New Mexico mountain valley have attracted soakers for centuries.

Courtesy of Jemez Hot Springs

Jemez Hot Springs, New Mexico

The mountain valley village of Jemez Springs, located about an hour from Albuquerque, has attracted soakers for centuries: It was a popular spot for healing and spiritual activities among the Anasazi and later the Towa people, and in the 1870s, a bathhouse was built in these parts when one of the area’s springs erupted into a geyser and locals enclosed the spot with a rock wall. Jemez Hot Springs is a day resort that features four mineral-rich pools surrounded by gently sloping terra cotta–colored banks that blend seamlessly into the peaceful red-rock mountain backdrop. Statues of pagan goddesses, Buddha, and the Virgin Mary are scattered throughout the wildflower-dotted gardens and around the comfortable lounge areas. Guests must be 14 or older to enter, and the entry fee is $25 for one hour.

Ready to soak?

Here are a few tips to ensure a positive soaking experience.

Respect the heat
As with any hot water experience, soaking for long periods in a hot spring is not advisable. Take frequent breaks and make use of cool pools when they are available. Hydration is your best friend; always drink lots of water when soaking.

Prepare for nudity
While many developed hot springs do not allow people to wander around in the buff, some do, and primitive hot springs are often clothing optional too. Don’t let this deter you—avid soakers tend to be respectful of other people’s space.

Leave No Trace
Some of the best hot springs in the United States are located in remote natural surroundings that could be damaged by heavy human traffic. With this in mind, visitors should tread lightly by visiting in small groups, packing out any trash, and following Leave No Trace principles.

This article originally appeared online in 2019; it was most recently updated on February 23, 2024, to include current information.

Midwest-based, j-school-trained journalist and copywriter who writes regularly about travel, the outdoors, and art.
From Our Partners
Sign up for our newsletter
Join more than a million of the world’s best travelers. Subscribe to the Daily Wander newsletter.
More From AFAR