Hot springs are the perfect opportunity to get out of the house during the pandemic, be one with the great outdoors, and literally soak in the natural beauty of the earth.
There are more hot springs in and around Reno than anyone knows what to do with. Some are through resorts while most others are natural. Some of them even have campsites near to offer an overnight soak under the stars. Here are the top 10 favorites!
This hot spring, near Mammoth Lakes, CA, is open year-round, has beautiful views, and always has close to perfect water temperature coming in anywhere from 95-105 degrees. Upon arrival, there is a boardwalk leading to two hot spring pools. One of the pools is much larger and deeper than the average hot spring pool appealing to bigger groups. They both have cement and have been built-up to keep them in pristine condition.
Yet another hot spring in Mammoth, CA with a view of the Eastern Sierra. This pool is on the littler side so arriving early or going during the week may be key to getting a secluded experience. It is a man-made stone pool with a valve for slight control of the temperature. This is one of the places that nude soaking is more popular.
This area is easily accessible and has multiple pools making it easy to share which is needed at this high traffic popular hot spring. The name of these pools most likely came from the rich gray travertine mud that lines the floors and is known for its restorative properties. This is one of the places that nude soaking is more popular.
This warm waterfall like experience pours down from the springs above into a warm pool between the banks of the Buckeye creek (CA) and a steep sidewall. The sound of the falling water brings a different kind of relaxation to the hot springs. There is nearby camping at Buckeye Campground. This is one of the places that nude soaking is more popular.
There are 4-6 places to get in the hot water ranging from the 90’s to the low 100’s in this area. They are made up of damned pockets along the hot spring’s river (NV). This is a great hot spring to go to if the plan includes staying overnight. There is a cattle ranch near that offers lodging or tons of BLM (Bureau of Land Management) campgrounds to choose from.
Though the Black Rock Desert is most popularly known for Burning Man every summer, it is also perfect for visiting several hot springs that give the spring soakers a different vibe than the others on the list. The views of the playa combined with the pond-like hot spring is unlike any other. This is technically on private property but there are BLM signs guiding the way to the hot spring. This is ideal for those who do not want to walk because you can park right next to the hot spring. (Trego, NV)
This spring includes natural pools and an enclosed pool with a metal tub and an in-ground spring. Some reviews say that the bottoms of the pools are soft sand, and the water is cleaner than one would expect in a natural pool. There is also a beautiful view of the Toiyabe Range. It is easily accessible (still on a dirt road though) and free to camp. Or, for a more civilized stay, the town Austin is not too far away. This is a great place to visit for those who are new to hot springing.
This is a popular place for those with campers and ATV’s. Unlike most other hot springs, this one comes with amenities such as BBQ’s and firepits. The hot springs here are a large concrete pool and two natural ponds with a view of the White Mountains and Boundary Peak. (Dryer, NV)
This is perhaps the most unique tub of the hot springs on the list. The pool here is a three-seat stone tub that was dug into the ground. There is a breathtaking view in all directions, in and out pipes to keep the water nicely circulated and clean and has carpet on one side for a more comfortable area. The bottom is known to get a bit slippery from algae. The walk in can be muddy and finding the hot spring has proven difficult in general, though there are directions to follow. (Antelope Valley, NV)
If the natural approach is not for you, there also resorts that have luxurious hot springs. They are worth the time and consideration. Steamboat Hot Springs (Reno, NV), Carson Hot Springs (Carson City, NV), and 1862 David Walley’s Resort , Gardnerville, NV (my personal favorite because of the beautiful view of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and Carson Valley) all offer a range of services and a spa-like experience with facials, massages, steam rooms, and of course, hot springs and pools.
Don’t forget these tips when planning your trip to one of the hot springs!
1. Dress accordingly. Some hot springs require a little walk or hike after parking the car. If the plan is to stay later into the night, bring a set of warmer clothes. And while we’re on the subject of clothes, it is also important to note that most hot springs are in remote places. This means that there is not a dress code, and some may take advantage of that for a nude soak.
2. A lot of people are out looking for adventure and a chance to experience the springs, share the space.
3. Just like anywhere else, leave the area cleaner than when you found it. Our planet needs our help. Be respectful to the land and future visitors.
4. Some springs on private property. This does not mean that they cannot be visited but pay close attention when there are “no trespassing” signs
5. Some hot springs can be difficult to get to without a bigger vehicle. A lot of them require at least a short drive on dirt roads.
6. The temperature of the hot springs is ever changing. Because they are naturally-fed, there is no guarantee that they will be cool enough to get in. Some hot springs have seriously burned or even killed people and their pets so always check the temperature beforehand.
Haley Beyer was a Budget Travel intern for Summer 2020.