ColoradoTop Nature Vacations

Taking The Waters: The Hottest Natural Springs in the United States (and Where to Stay)

By , March 13th, 2015

Mineral spring bathing has long been hailed as being extremely beneficial for healing numerous ailments. The heat increases blood circulation, in turn eliminating toxins and helping with cell oxygenation and regeneration. It aids with digestion as well as having a therapeutic effect on skin diseases and healing wounds. With an abundance of natural springs in America, many of which are easily accessible to the public. Surrounded by beautiful scenery or quaint spa towns, “taking the waters“, as it was called in the Victorian era, is sure to at the very least help relax you!

Saratoga New York activities

Unique formations at the Pinkerton Hot Springs outside of Durango, CO. Photo by Frank Swift CC BY

The Hottest Natural Springs in the U.S.

Glenwood Hot Springs


Hot Springs Colorado

Glenwood Hot Springs steaming up winter. Photo by Dekan Naked CC BY

Follow the suit of the Ute Indians and make a pilgrimage to the sacred Glenwood Hot Springs in Colorado. Originally opened as a resort and spa in 1888, it is one of the largest hot mineral springs pools in the world, the full length of a football field and warm as a bath- about 90-93 degrees. A smaller therapy pool heats up to 104 degrees, complete with bubble chairs and submerged marble benches. The waters themselves are rich in minerals but the health benefits aren’t the only attraction: the blanket of white snow surrounding the area in the winter makes it a beautiful experience. Book over weekend across the street at the Hotel Colorado since your day pass to the Hot Springs allows you to come and go as you please, all the way till the facilities close at 10 p.m.

Truth or Consequences


Truth Or Consequence hot springs

Truth Or Consequence is less dry than it looks. Photo by Joseph j7uy5 CC BY

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The waters of Truth or Consequence run pristine and pure with temperatures anywhere from 98 to 115 degrees and overflowing with helpful mineral in a neutral pH setting. The mineral water here is odorless, despite being one of the most heavily mineralized waters in the USA. The whole town was built on the idea of a strict wellness regime of 21 days of soaking to potentially cure any and all ails — well, maybe not, but you’ll certainly feel better after taking the waters, relaxing and indulging in massages, mud wraps, and reiki sessions. Your best bet for equally relaxing accommodation is the Pelican Spa, located right among all the bathhouses.

Calistoga Hot Springs


Calistoga Hot Springs

A fountain of healing water. Photo by Donna Sutton CC BY

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Balneology, the act of “taking the waters” has been taking place at the Calistoga Hot Springs since the early 1900’s. The mineral content in the water is said to have a calming effect on the user- as will the serenity of beautiful Calistoga. Not only can you immerse yourself in the geothermal mineral water, you can also bathe in the local mud, a combination of volcanic ash from Mount St.Helena mixed with the healing waters to fully beautify your skin. Regardless of whether you see a shimmering difference in your pores or health, the hot springs need no excuse to merit a visit to the charming Calistoga Spa Hot Springs hotel. Don’t neglect the local Napa Valley wines either!

Lava Hot Springs


Oregon Trail Hot Springs

Hot water freezing at the Lava Hot Springs

Follow the steam trail through the town of Lava Hot Springs, the old route of the Oregon Trail. This resort town boasts numerous hot springs throughout the city with 2.5 gallons a day pumped through the Portneuf River keeping the spring water so clean and staying 102˚ to 112˚ even during the freezing Idaho winters. The water is mineral heavy, but sulfur-free meaning the stinky egg smell won’t be hanging about. Following your soak, trot over to the Riverside Hot Springs Inn where you can continue to take the waters in one of their three pools also supplied by the hot springs or get a massage at the spa.

Strawberry Hot Springs & Steamboat Springs


Colorado Springs

Join the crowds at Steamboat Springs. Photo by Andrew Magill CC BY

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Imagine plunking down into a natural hot spring after a day of incredible skiing. Sounding like The Dream? Head to the Yampa Valley area of Colorado to the city of Steamboat Springs, aptly named after the bubbling sounds that made early settlers think a steamboat was constantly on route down the river. There are two hot springs open to the public, the Old Town Hot Springs which has multiple pools and slides for the kids (or giddy adults). The other, Strawberry Park Springs, a few miles out of town has natural rock features around its pools for a more authentic natural experience.

Hot Springs


Arkansas hot springs

Hot Springs boiling in Arkansas. Photo by Ken Lund CC BY

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The subject of many Native American legends, the spa town of Hot Springs is the oldest federal reserve in the USA. The city has been ripe with activity since 1851 including illegal gambling, a whole slew of speakeasies, and it was a favorite stop of gangster Al Capone when hiding from the law in Chicago. Today it has a more relaxed feel of a spa town than anything else. Prepare to feel absolutely rejuvenated following your 90-minute treatment including a 20-minute soak followed by a steam, a cool shower and a full body Swedish massage. Check into the Embassy Suites Hot Springs and enjoy their complimentary shuttles to Bath Row.

Eureka Springs


Photo by Doug Wertman CC BY

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Travel back to the Victorian era to take the waters in style in the resort village of Eureka Springs. Winding roads lack traffic lights and old stone cottages and manors will charm the pants right off you, effectively readying you to jump into the bathhouses or the Blue Spring Heritage Center where you will find the source of all the heat. This flawless town, nicknamed The Little Switzerland of America will give you ample opportunity to relax and enjoy the fresh air of the Ozarks.  Hang out in the center of all the action at the Basin Park hotel, located right on the corner of one of the famous winding streets.

Saratoga Springs


Roosevelt Baths Saratoga Springs New york

The Geyser at the Roosevelt Baths in Saratoga Springs. Photo taken from the Roosevelt Baths Facebook page.

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A fault line in the city of horse-racing fame, Saratoga Springs, allows heaping amounts of mineral rich healing water to rush to the surface. While these springs do smell a bit sulfurous, the odor is more than bearable. The taste of the water, however varies from clear freshwater to a touch of salty or sodium bicarbonate. Bring a bottle of water to take home as a souvenir to bring the healing properties to family and friends. Visit the Gideon Putnam Resort and Spa which uses the Saratoga Springs water for their very luxurious spa treatments or just soak away all your sores in one of their private bathtubs.

* Cover image by Loco Steve CCBY