8 Natural Hot Springs to Warm Up in This Winter
Nothing’s better in the wintertime than a dip in a hot spring. While warm baths and backyard spas are nice, there’s something special about soaking in a natural body of water surrounded by nature.
Some require multiday treks to access while others are just a stone’s throw from the parking lot — but all are uniquely beautiful. Here, we’ve rounded up eight of our favorite natural hot springs in the United States.
8 Natural Hot Springs
Chena Hot Springs: Fairbanks North Star Borough, Alaska
Located 56.5 miles northeast of Fairbanks, Chena Hot Springs Resort is the most accessible and developed hot springs resort in Alaska’s interior.
The natural springs were first discovered in 1905 and became famous for their healing powers. Today, the springs are commercialized but still feature their original healing qualities, and its hot springs lake offers plenty of outdoor beauty. Whether you choose to stay at the resort or simply visit for the day, the natural hot springs are well worth the visit.
Umpqua Hot Springs: Umpqua National Forest, Oregon
Tucked away in the heart of Umpqua National Forest in southern Oregon, the Umpqua Hot Springs is a popular travel destination in the Pacific Northwest.
The hot springs are located on a mineral deposit above the North Umpqua River and feature three small pools surrounded by a beautiful forest. During the summer months, the springs are a short, steep 0.3-mile hike from the parking area. But during the winter, the gate is often closed, making the hike a few miles longer.
The springs are also frequently accessed by folks hiking, biking, or horseback riding the 79-mile North Umpqua Trail.
Note: There’s a $5 entry fee to access the park.
Sykes Hot Springs: Big Sur, California
One of the most beautiful stretches of the California coast, there’s not much that could make a visit to Big Sur better, except maybe a visit to the local hot springs.
Located in the Ventana Wilderness, Sykes Hot Springs requires a little extra legwork to get to. To access the springs, you’ll need to hike approximately 9 miles along the Pine Ridge Trail. Although the hike can be strenuous, in the end, you’ll be rewarded with a clear, mountain stream and a series of small pools for soaking in.
The hike can be done in a single day but to make the most of your trip, bring backpacking gear and spend the night near the springs or at one of the many campgrounds along the way.
Note: Be sure to complete the self-registration permit at the trailhead if you plan on staying the night.
Conundrum Hot Springs: Aspen, Colorado
Situated deep in the Colorado Rockies, getting to Conundrum Hot Springs is no walk in the park. The hike to the springs is roughly 8.5 miles one way and includes 2,400 feet of elevation gain, so it’s not for the faint of heart.
The trail crosses Conundrum Creek three times and can be dicey in the winter, so it’s best to visit during the summer months. Situated at 11,200 feet, the remote springs are equal parts soothing and stunning, making them well worth the trek.
There are several options for camping near the springs, but be sure to obtain a permit if you plan on staying the night.
Weir Creek Hot Springs: Kooskia, Idaho
Located just outside of Missoula, Montana, Weir Hot Springs is easy to access, making them well-suited for soakers of all ages. From the parking lot, a well-defined half-mile hike will lead you directly to the springs.
The springs feature one large pool surrounded by pines and a few small ones as well. If you’re looking to make a weekend out of it, there are plenty of campsites in the area as well.
Due to their accessibility, the springs are heavily trafficked, so be sure to pack out your trash and leave the area better than when you found it.
Thermopolis Hot Springs: Hot Springs County, Wyoming
Thermopolis is a series of four different hot springs all located within Hot Springs State Park in the town of Thermopolis. First visited by Native American tribes, the springs are popular for their healing powers and are home to 20 different minerals recognized to have medicinal healing properties.
The first is Big Spring — you can’t soak in Big Spring, but it feeds the other four pools. Star Plunge, Hellie’s Tepee, Days Inn Athletic Club, and Hot Springs County Wyoming State Bath House are all commercialized, but each offers an amazingly unique experience.
Do a little research ahead of time to decide which spring is best for you or make the most of your time at the park and visit all four.
Fifth Water Hot Springs: Springville, Utah
A tributary of the Diamond Fork River, Fifth Water Creek is an adventurer’s paradise. Along the creek are three picturesque waterfalls and a series of springs.
The 4.5-mile out and back hike to the springs is fairly easy but may require snowshoes to access during the winter months. There are multiple pools of varying temperatures along the way, so you can hop around until you find one that’s just right.
Note: The road is sometimes closed in the winter, so be prepared for a longer hike.
Strawberry Park Hot Springs: Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Fed by Hot Springs Creek, Strawberry Park Hot Springs is located just outside of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The mineral springs are commercialized in order to make them accessible to all while simultaneously maintaining their original natural beauty.
Extra features at the springs include a restroom, a heated cabin for changing, and picnic areas. Guests can drive to the springs or hop on a shuttle from downtown Steamboat Springs.