10 Hot Springs in the U.S. Where You Can Soak Your Weary Bones
Hot springs eternal.
Is there a better feeling than letting the waters of a naturally fed hot spring soak your weary bones (and soul)? It’s like getting a reassuring hug from the earth itself. Whether you prefer to experience hot springs in the lap of luxury or in the natural beauty of the wilderness, there are plenty of hot springs located in the United States just waiting to welcome you into their healing waters.
Just a little up the road from the famous wine country of Napa Valley is the city of Calistoga. For over a century, visitors have made their way to this picturesque town looking to soak themselves in the many natural hot springs that spring out of the ground here. There are a number of different resorts that offer a hot spring experience for their guests, including Calistoga Spa Hot Springs, which has four different pools that allow for a mix of hot spring experiences—relax in the soaking pool or practice your breaststroke in the 80-degree lap pool.
Doug Letterman [CC BY 2.0]/Flickr
Even when it comes to natural hot springs, we tend to think of them in the same terms as we would a Jacuzzi. Small, contained, still. But Yellowstone’s Boiling River makes for an entirely different experience. There is a point where a nearby hot spring enters the Gardner River to create a water temperature that’s perfect for soaking in while you take in the incredible natural beauty of the National Park.
Chena Hot Springs
What could be better than shaking off the Alaskan chill with a dip in a natural hot spring? Chena Hot Springs Resort near Fairbanks Alaska has a couple of different ways to experience the water. There is an indoor pool area, but the real star is the outdoor wading lake that’s wonderful any time of year but is especially picturesque on winter nights when you might have a chance at glimpsing the Northern Lights.
Conundrum Hot Springs
Conundrum Hot Springs requires that you put in a little more work than just slipping on your bathing suit and paying an entrance fee. Before you even dip your toes in, you’ll have to undertake an 8.5-mile hike during which you’ll gain 2,400 feet in elevation. (By the time you’re done you’ll be at an elevation of 11,200 feet.) But once you make it to your destination you’ll have reached a beautiful hot spring with an even more beautiful view.
Hot Springs National Park
Hot Springs National Park is perhaps is particularly unique as its main draw is not an expansive wilderness but the historic bathhouses that are fed by an ancient spring. While you can’t soak in the great outdoors, you can visit one of the famous bathhouses—Buckstaff and Quapaw —where you can relax in the waters that gave this National Park its name.
Allegheny Springs at the Omni Homestead Resort
The various aquatic activities at the Omni Homestead Resort are fed by a natural spring. Guests of the resort can sink into the waters of the Spa Garden for a relaxing experience surrounded by the resort’s stately elegance. And, though these amenities are currently closed, the resort is also home to a full-on water park, including water slides, a lazy river, and a family pool.
Courtesy of The Omni Homestead Resort
Strawberry Park Hot Springs
Strawberry Park Hot Springs is all about creating a natural hot springs experience. The mineral pool is surrounded by the beautiful, rustic Colorado landscape. Strawberry Park Hot Springs’ dedication to creating a natural environment extends to guests as well. After dark, the springs become clothing optional (note that visitors under 18 years of age are not allowed after dark).
Goldmyer Hot Springs
These hot springs require a little more work than simply driving up and hopping in, but the experience of getting to and then sinking into these waters is well worth it. Visitors will start their journey through the forest by following a trail that abuts the Snoqualmie River. After 4.5 miles, you’ll find yourself at the springs where (with reservations) you can indulge while meditating on the staggering grandeur of the Pacific Northwest.
Monty VanderBilt [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0]/Flickr
Travertine Hot Springs
California’s Eastern Sierra’s make for an ideal destination for the nature lover that enjoys a rewarding soak after a challenging hike. There are several hot springs in the area to choose from, but Travertine Hot Springs are perhaps the most accessible (and most popular). Just a good walk from the parking area, you’ll find a series of pools—all of which feature breathtaking views of the mountains.