From soaking and splashing to sipping, who can resist the rejuvenation of hot springs? Whether you are looking for a sophisticated resort-style experience, a trail-mission rustic pool, or a historical gem, the United States has a hot spring that will hit the spot!
10 of the Best Hot Springs In the U.S.
Note: Hot springs can be dangerous, so be sure to use caution and only swim where it is safe.
1. Calistoga, California
Situated in the breathtaking Napa Valley, Calistoga is well-known as a hot spot for hot springs. With several resorts in the area for people to immerse themselves in, the region has established itself as a wellness mecca. One popular resort is the stunning Calistoga Spa Hot Springs, which has four geothermal mineral pools, including a hot whirlpool. Those seeking a more contemporary-casual setting complete with a mountain backdrop should visit UpValley Inn & Hot Springs.
2. Castle Hot Springs, Arizona
Tucked away in the Bradshaw Mountains, just an hour from Phoenix, the Castle Hot Springs resort is perfect for the traveler that wants a more luxe hot springs experience. Secluded pools framed by a dreamy desert setting offers a magical soaking opportunity, with access to the springs as well as activities like guided hikes and farm tours.
3. Dunton Hot Springs, Dolores, Colorado
Located in a former ghost-town dating back to the 1800s is the meticulously restored Dunton Hot Springs resort. Nestled deep in the rugged mountains of Colorado, the resort offers an upscale hot spring experience set in the picturesque southwestern wilderness. Enjoy a soak in the bathhouse, the outdoor swimming pool, or indulge in your own private hot spring escapade in the Well House.
4. Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
Formerly known as Hot Springs, Truth or Consequences is a popular destination for wellness tourism. The unusually named city – locally nicknamed “T or C” – is touted as America’s most affordable spa town. Situated on the banks of the Rio Grande, the Riverbend Hot Springs resort is the only hot springs resort on the famed riverbank and offers enchanting views of Rio Grande while you soak.
5. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho
With over 60% of the world’s geysers and hot springs found here, Yellowstone National Park has established itself as the unofficial geothermal capital of the country. Famously known for its Old Faithful geyser, what most people don’t know is that the park is also home to the Grand Prismatic Spring, the largest hot spring in the US and the third-largest in the world. Most of the hot springs in Yellowstone are not safe for swimming, but the Boiling River spring has a designated swimming and soaking area.
6. Hot Springs National Park, Hot Springs, Arkansas
No list of the country’s best hot springs would be complete without the Hot Springs National Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Predating Yellowstone National Park, this national park is the oldest national park in the country. With 47 thermal springs nestled between the glorious Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas, the park offers scenic drives, picnicking spots, and hiking trails.
7. Hot Springs State Park, Thermopolis, Wyoming
With a name akin to an ancient city, Thermopolis – Greek for “hot city” – is named for its many natural hot springs and is home to the Hot Springs State Park. With free admission, visitors can soak in the communal bathhouse’s 104-degree mineral waters at no cost. The Big Spring is the park’s “main attraction”, a mineral spring flowing at a rate of 8,000 gallons per day over the Rainbow Terraces. Keep an eye out for the park’s bison herd!
8. Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Located in the heart of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, Glenwood Springs is situated on the confluence of the Colorado and Roaring Fork rivers. Aptly known as Colorado’s Land of Water, the region is ideal for hiking, hitting the ski slopes, and of course, soaking in hot springs with splendid views of the rugged Colorado scenery. Visit the world’s largest hot springs pool at the Glenwood Hot Springs Resort. And enjoy your pick of over 16 geothermal pools overlooking the Rocky Mountains at Iron Mountain Hot Springs!
9. Travertine Hot Springs, Bridgeport, California
Soak in the Sierras at Travertine Hot Springs near Bridgeport, California. Situated on California State Park Land, on several sizeable travertine terraces, these rustic springs are the perfect way to soothe your tired feet and aching muscles after a day of hiking. Offering uninterrupted views of the High Sierra mountains, the Travertine Hot Springs make for a majestic soaking experience.
10. Chena Hot Springs Resort, Fairbanks, Alaska
For a secluded and magical hot spring experience, Chena Hot Springs Resort in Fairbanks, Alaska, is the one for you. One of the most remote hot spring locations, the resort also includes year-round activities like the Aurora Ice Museum. But the most magical feature is the chance to witness the otherworldly beauty of the Aurora Borealis, or northern lights.
Do Hot Springs in the U.S. Really Have Healing Powers?
Archaeological evidence on the settlement of Paleo Indians traced the use of thermal springs to 10,000 years ago. This sacred geothermal resource provided warmth, healing mineral water, and cleansing. Do they have healing properties though?
Widely accepted in Europe and Japan to naturally treat various common ailments, hot springs are reputed to have significant therapeutic effects. In fact, many scientists from study balneology or the “study of medicinal springs and the therapeutic effects of bathing in them.” Some of the benefits of soaking in a hot spring include:
- Improved blood circulation
- Reduced stress and better sleep quality
- Chronic pain relief
- Heals skin conditions
The Western states are well-loved for their thermal springs: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming. However, the rest of the country also boasts interesting hot springs.
No matter the season or reason, geothermal hot springs offer much-needed cleansing and relaxation. From Alaskan pools that are the idyllic setting for viewing the northern lights to the national park with famed geothermal features, the powers of hot springs have been used for thousands of years.