|Oscar's Hot Springs Lists
This page is divided into a list of my favorite hot springs, and a list of all the springs I've visited.
I'll just comment briefly here on a few of my favorites, among the many hot springs I've enjoyed and would like to re-visit some day. I'll be happy to answer any questions you may have about those, or the others listed below, if you e-mail me. Bear in mind, though, that since I live on the East Coast, far from prime hot springs territory, I don't have a lot of experience with any of these springs, and so my comments won't count as much as those of the "regulars."
Noncommercial hot springs at the end of a hike: I have two very different favorites here, both in the middle of national forests, and requiring hikes of at least two miles one-way, and with an elevation gain of at least 800 feet. That was about the limit for my "couch potato" so-called physique fifteen years ago (I'm not sure I'm up to those hikes anymore), but at least I was able to soak away my aches at the end of the uphill hikes.
Goldbug Hot Springs, in a national forest in Idaho south of Salmon, is spacious, out of the way, and apparently doesn't gets a lot of visitors (so I've heard -- the only time I've been there was on a summer weekday), so there's more elbow room and privacy than is usual. There are several pools scattered along both sides of a creek, ranging from hot to cold, and some where you can soak in both at once where hot and cold water meet. There is also a hot waterfall, as well as an interesting little warm waterfall popping up in the middle of the cold creek.
Scenic Hot Springs, in Washington northeast of Seattle, when I visited in 1996 had four pools with different temperatures (the uppermost called the "lobster pot;" the others not so hot, and are more to my liking), with lots of visitors to fill them. The great view of the forest just west of Stevens Pass earned Scenic its name. CAUTION: Scenic was closed indefinitely in October 2001, but reportedly has been reopened on a limited invitation-only basis. Check soakersforum.com for the very latest information.
"Drive-up" noncommercial hot springs: Travertine Hot Springs (closer view), south of Bridgeport, California, is my favorite in this category. It can be reached by a short unpaved road, which has been improved over the years, and as of July 2011 could easily be navigated (slowly and carefully) with even a low-clearance passenger car, at least in dry conditions. Once you get there, you can park within feet of a cement-lined hot pool, or take a short, easy walk down to a few more rock-and-silt pools with a choice of temperatures to suit just about everybody, or if you're more adventurous, hike a little farther downhill to at least one other pool.
Commercial hot springs: The Orient Land Trust's Valley View Hot Springs, in Colorado a few hours west of Pueblo, is a very nice place to relax for a few days and socialize with fellow hot springers. There are several hot springs scattered over a large property, including a large waist-deep body-temperature main soaking pool (a/k/a "party pool"), with room for a few dozen people, near the lodges and campsites; three hotter pools on a hillside with a terrific view of the San Luis Valley; plus a large warm swimming pool, and a new sauna next to the pool.
List of hot springs I've visited:
The following are organized by state/province/territory, with the years I've visited them. Commercial or other developed hot springs, or other hot springs with admittance fees, are in CAPITALS. Hot springs are listed under the names in Marjorie Gersh-Young's book Hot Springs and Hot Pools of the Northwest, and its counterpart for the southwestern states (except a few springs not in either guidebook).
This list includes commercial establishments that specialize in offering
soaking and related spa services (such as saunas) to the general public,
even if their waters are artificially heated. Not included are hotels,
resorts, etc. that have hot tubs but focus mainly on lodging and other
Comments, questions? Please e-mail me.
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