March 18, 2024 | Allison Robertson

The Best Natural Hot Springs in the U.S.


Hot Springs in the US

Join in on this spring’s newest hot trend—geothermal springs.

Known for their healing properties, hot springs are filled with warm mineral water that is heated naturally from the Earth itself.

This is a list of 15 of the best—and free—naturally occurring hot springs across the U.S. that anyone can access.

hot springs split image

Leave No Trace

All of the hot springs in this article are naturally occurring, which means they usually lie within public land. It is important for all visitors to following the Leave No Trace principles, such as:

  • Plan ahead and prepare—know the access rights & restrictions of where you’re going.
  • Dispose of waste properly—pack it in, pack it out. Leave nothing behind.
  • Leave what you find—leave natural objects in place, avoid building structures or digging.
  • Respect wildlife—do not feed or disturb wildlife in their natural habitat.

hot spring Blue LagoonAlla Laurent, Shutterstock

Cell-Phone Service Warnings

A lot of these hot spring destinations are remote and require a bit of hike to get to them. This also means that cell-phone service can be spotty.

Be prepared and download offline maps, and contact your friends before you lose signal.

Huckleberry Trail at Glacier National ParkMartina Sliger, Shutterstock

Temperature Warnings

It is important to remember that the temperatures of these hot springs can get very hot. Depending on the exact location, and depth of the pools, many hot springs can reach temperatures of up to 104-130 degrees.

Be prepared for varying temperatures, and feel the water before dipping in.

swimming in thermal water poolTanyaZhe, Shutterstock

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Clothing is Optional

As most of these hot springs are located on public land—and far away from the actual “public”—it is common for visitors to treat the springs as clothing optional, meaning you are very likely to see some folks in their birthday suits.

Relaxing in a natural hot bathGorodisskij, Shutterstock

What to Pack

Before heading to the hot spring, it is suggested you make sure you pack the following items:

  • Swimwear and towel
  • Water shoes—a definite must.
  • Water bottle—to stay hydrated during your sweat-sesh.
  • Dry Bag—for phones, cameras, music, etc.
  • Garbage bag—for ALL of your waste.

packing a suitcaseGustavo Fring, Pexels

High-Traffic Areas

As of recent years, hot springs have become a very popular spot with both locals and tourists.

If you’d like to avoid busy times, it is suggested you go in early morning or later in the evening—which can both be prime times for sunrises and sunsets.

Hot Spring in Long ValleyUnwind, Shutterstock

Party Goers

As with all natural hidden gems, once the public finds out about them a new crowd emerges. Unfortunately, hot springs are not just enjoyed by the quiet crowd and can become quite busy on weekends and hot summer nights.

Please enjoy responsibly.

Woman relaxes in hot springKris Wiktor, Shutterstock

Do Not Drink the Water

It is advised that visitors do not drink the water from the hot springs. Although they are naturally occurring, some of the hot springs contain particles that can lead to a serious disease called primary amoebic meningoencephalitis. 

Not to mention there are numerous bodies bathing in these waters daily.

Bathing in hot springsGuido Amrein Switzerland, Shutterstock

Best Season to Visit a Hot Spring

The best season for hot springs in the US would be spring, when the outside temperatures are not scorching hot yet and the bugs are minimal.

Now, let’s dive into the 12 best hot springs in the U.S.

hot springsCarly Zeiser, Pexels

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Kirkham Hot Springs - Lowman, Idaho

Located on the South Fork of the Payette River below a highway campground.

Visitors enjoy soaking in popular Hot Springs on the banks of the river and exploring the scenic Kirkham Ridge Trail, including small steaming waterfalls.

Idaho hot springsWander in Raw

Kirkham Hot Springs

The hot springs are available for day use only between 7:00am-9:00pm, and while the use of the springs is free, parking at the gate will cost $5.00 per vehicle.

A Vault Restroom is available on site.

Kirkham Hot Springs in Idahodrewthehobbit, Shutterstock

Travertine Hot Springs - Bridgeport, California

Located in Bridgeport about 90 miles north of Bishop.

Travertine Hot Springs has 3 rustic and natural rock bottomed tubs, with snow-capped views of the Sawtooth Mountains.

Travertine Hot Springs Bridgeport CaliforniaKris Wiktor, Shutterstock

Travertine Hot Springs

The Travertine hot springs are located on public lands and are easily accessible via a short walk from the parking lot—which is free to park.

A Vault Restroom is available on site.

Travertine Hot Springs, Bridgeport, CaliforniaJohn Fowler, Flickr

Wild Willy's Hot Springs - Mammoth Lakes, California

Located about 20 minutes east of Mammoth Lakes.

These natural hot springs are larger than most and can fit close to 30 people, with a stunning 360-degree view of the majestic mountains.

Wild Willy's Hot Springs - Mammoth Lakes, Californiamelissamn, Shutterstock

Wild Willy's Hot Springs

Visitors will drive about 1.5 miles down a dirt road to the parking lot—where parking is free—and then walk a quarter-mile gravel path to the springs.

A Vault Restroom is available at the parking lot.

Wild Willy's Hot Spring Near Mammoth Lakes, California, USANikolas_jkd, Shutterstock

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San Antonio Hot Springs - Los Alamos, New Mexico

Located off Forest Service Road 376 (North), about 75 miles from Albuquerque.

The San Antonio hot springs include three naturally formed rock pools nestled along a steep hillside in the enchanted northern mountains of New Mexico.

San Antonio Hot SpringsJohn Fowler, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

San Antonio Hot Springs

Visitors can expect a bit more of a challenge getting to these hot springs. They are located about a half-mile hike through the Santa Fe National Forest.

The entire area is free to visit, but camping is not permitted.

San Antonio hot springLaurie Drake, Shutterstock

Goldbug Hot Springs - Salmon, Idaho

Located just south of Salmon, Idaho near mile marker 282 on Highway 93.

These natural hot springs require a bit of a hike to get to, but the payoff is worth it. The hot cliffside pools are fed by a creek and sprawl out into stunning waterfalls, and include a picturesque view overlooking the valley below.

Goldbug Hot Springs in Idahomelissamn, Shutterstock

Goldbug Hot Springs

The hike to the hot springs can be challenging for some, as the climb is 1,350 feet up a couple natural and man-made staircases. It is roughly 2 miles from the parking spot.

The entire area is free to enjoy.
A simple composting toilet is available, and camping is permitted on-site.

Final steps leading up the Goldbug Hot Springsmelissamn, Shutterstock

Conundrum Hot Springs - Aspen, Colorado

Located on the Conundrum Creek Trail near Aspen.

These natural hot springs include one large main pool and a few smaller springs that range in temperatures and are surrounded by a vast green forest and snow-capped mountains.

Conundrum Hot Springs near Aspen ColoradoKris Wiktor, Shutterstock

Conundrum Hot Springs

The trip to Conundrum hot springs requires a lengthy hike which climbs 2,500 feet over 8.5 miles through the beautiful Colorado back country.

Access is free, but camping on-site requires a permit.

conundrum hot springs aspen, coloradoKristi Blokhin, Shutterstock

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Diamond Fork Hot Springs – Springville, Utah

Located 30 minutes from Provo, Utah.

These natural hot springs are also known as Fifth Water Hot Springs, and feature several hot spring pools with glacier blue waters and a beautiful waterfall.

Diamond fork hotspringsCreekCG, Shutterstock

Diamond Fork Hot Springs

The hike is about 2.5 miles on an easy-to-moderate trail that climbs 700 feet.

The entire area is free to access, and can get busy on weekends. Unclothed bathing is not permitted in Utah.

Diamond Fork Hot Springsamyelizabethroutt, Shutterstock

Meadow Hot Springs—Meadow, Utah

Located just 4 miles south of Fillmore, in Meadow, Utah.

This natural hot spring is only one large pool but it is very warm, and very deep—allowing for diving and exploring.

Meadow Hot SpringsThe Dye Clan, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Meadow Hot Springs

Free parking is available about 150 feet from the spring. The spring is out in the open with no shade.

As well, this hot spring is located on private property, so some restrictions apply—such as no unclothed bathing.

Meadow Hot SpringKris Wiktor, Shutterstock

Umpqua Hot Springs – Oregon

Remotely located about 75 miles from Crater Lake National Park, or 235 miles from Portland.

The Umpqua hot springs include several cascading pools down a beautiful hillside, including one with a rustic wooden shelter overhead.

Umpqua Hot Springs – OregonMitchell Friedman, Flickr

Umpqua Hot Springs

Parking is available on Basket Butte Road but requires a fee of $5.00/vehicle. The hike is then only about 15 minutes to the hot springs.

Camping is permitted in designated areas, and unclothed bathing is both permitted and common. This area is very popular and sees many visitors daily.

Umpqua or Toketee hot springsNature's Charm, Shutterstock

Wall Creek Springs – Oregon

Located within the Willamette National Forest, along Wall Creek.

Known as a meditation pool, the Wall Creek natural hot springs consists of one main oval shaped pool with some smaller, cooler pools branched out.

Lower falls in Oneonta Gorge. Columbia River Gorge, OregonMarisa Estivill, Shutterstock

Wall Creek Springs

The trail to the hot spring is about a 0.6-mile round trip along a beautiful, easy forest trail.

A small parking lot is available and access to the area is free. This spring is not managed at all, so remember to respect the environment.

Willamette National ForestU.S. Forest Service- Pacific Northwest Region, Flickr

Deep Creek Hot Springs – Apple Valley, California

Located in the Deep Creek drainage, outside the city of Apple Valley.

This natural hot spring includes 6-7 different soaking pools, some deep and some shallow, and includes a beautiful small waterfall.

deep creek hot springs californiaTom Ha, Shutterstock

Deep Creek Hot Springs

There are two routes available to the hot springs, both are somewhat challenging with one route being a 2 mile hike up a steep mountain, and the other being a mostly even 6-mile hike.

Parking is available close by for a fee. Camping and campfires are not permitted.

Deep Creek Hot Springs in California, USA.Tom Ha, Shutterstock

Olympic Hot Springs – Port Angeles, Washington

Located along the Appleton Pass Trailhead, in the Olympic National Park.

These natural hot springs include 22 pools of various sizes, where hot water seeps into them from the rocky ledges surrounded by lush forest and small waterfalls.

olympic hot springs washingtonThe Old Major, Shutterstock

Olympic Hot Springs

The hike to the spring is about 2.5 miles along an easy trail through the forest, and includes crossing a newly-built suspension bridge.

Access is free and clothing is optional. Camping is available in designated areas.

Hiking ib the Olympic National Park in the state of WashingtonRS Smith Photography, Shutterstock

Spencer Hot Springs – Nevada

Located about 19 miles from Austin, Nevada.

The Spencer hot springs are centered in an open desert valley and include a cluster of natural, very hot springs (and one metal tub) with a stunning snow-capped view of the mountains.

spencer hot springs – nevadaDominic Gentilcore PhD, Shutterstock

Spencer Hot Springs

The route to the hot springs is about a 10-mile dirt road that is often considered “off-road”—visitors are to be mindful of the vehicle used for traveling.

The area is free to access, and camping is permitted on-site but away from the springs. Wild mules roam the area and use the spring for drinking.

spencer hot springs – nevadaSara Armas, Shutterstock

Montezuma Hot Springs – New Mexico

Located 6-miles northwest of Las Vegas.

These hot springs lie along the Gallinas River and include 3 rock and cement pools, ranging in size, shape and temperature. They’re surrounded by lush forests and historic buildings.

Montezuma Hot Springs – New MexicoBirdie Jaworski, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Montezuma Hot Springs

The Montezuma hot springs are privately owned with free public access and parking. It is only a short, easy walk from parking to the springs.

Clothing is required.

Montezuma Hot Springs - The  ToasterBirdie Jaworski, CC BY 2.0 , Wikimedia Commons

Radium Hot Springs – Colorado

Located along the Colorado River, about 15 miles southwest of Kremmling.

Radium hot springs include one main natural rock walled pool on the bank of the Colorado River, surrounded by rock cliffs, open water, and nature for as far as the eye can see.

radium hot springs – coloradoSergey Malomuzh, Shutterstock

Radium Hot Springs

There is an easy 1.1-mile hike to the spring from Mugrage Campground—which takes about 20 minutes.

The area is free to access, and popular for cliff jumping and river rafting. Clothing is optional, and camping is permitted in designated areas.

radium hot springs – coloradoFlystock, Shutterstock

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