Nestled along the Colorado River, just south of the iconic Hoover Dam, hot springs in Arizona, also known as Ringbolt Hot Springs, beckons adventure seekers to experience the natural wonders of the region.
Accessible either by a scenic boat ride along the Colorado River or a 5.8-mile round-trip hike from Arizona State Highway 93, these hot springs are tucked away within a vibrant slot canyon, promising an immersive and rejuvenating escape.
For those yearning for an authentic soak amidst Arizona’s breathtaking landscape, the hot springs offer an unparalleled experience. The unique setting allows visitors to unwind in geothermal pools, providing relief from the strains of everyday life.
In this guide, we’ll delve into the specifics of hiking to Arizona Hot Springs, whether as a rewarding day trip or an immersive overnight backpacking excursion.
List of Best Arizona Hot Springs to Visit in 2024
- Ringbolt Hot Springs
- Kaiser Hot Spring
- Sheep Bridge Hot Springs
- Castle Hot Springs
- Verde Hot Springs
- Kachina Mineral Springs
- Gillard Hot Springs
1. Ringbolt Hot Springs
Nestled in Northwestern Arizona’s Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Ringbolt Hot Springs, also known as Arizona Hot Springs, stands out as the region’s most renowned spring.
Situated near the iconic Hoover Dam and just a stone’s throw from the Nevada border, it’s a treasure trove for enthusiasts seeking natural thermal baths.
The Hot Springs is uniquely composed of four separate pools, each naturally heated to a cozy 95–110 degrees Fahrenheit. Enclosed in a striking slot canyon, these pools offer a serene escape.
However, due to Arizona’s intense heat, access is sensibly restricted to cooler months, from October to May, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience.
Based on my tracking with the AllTrails app, the hike to the springs covers 5.9 miles with an elevation gain of 1223 feet. Contrary to what’s mentioned on AllTrails, I didn’t encounter a recreation fee during my visit. However, keep in mind that trail conditions and policies can change.
Pro Tip for Hikers
I highly recommend downloading an offline map to navigate this trail. I used the AllTrails free trial for this purpose. With multiple spur trails in the area, having a digital map is invaluable to avoid confusion and stay on track.
2. Kaiser Hot Spring
Tucked away near Wikieup, Hot Springs Arizona, Kaiser Hot Spring is a hidden gem for those seeking a serene and natural hot spring experience.
This unspoiled oasis is nestled within the high walls of Kaiser Spring Canyon, offering a peaceful retreat for outdoor enthusiasts and hot spring aficionados.
The Spring’s Appeal
What makes Kaiser Hot Spring stand out is its crystal-clear water, flowing at a steady 12 gallons per minute into two shallow, gravel-bottomed pools.
With temperatures hovering around a comfortable 99–100 degrees Fahrenheit, these geothermal pools, accommodating 2–3 people each, provide an intimate soaking experience.
A Journey to Tranquility
Reaching Kaiser Hot Spring involves a 1.5-mile hike, showcasing Arizona’s rugged beauty. The path, marked by natural signs like animal tracks, leads to this secluded spot. Remember, this is a bring-your-own-everything destination – food, water, and sturdy footwear are essential.
For those looking to extend their stay, Burro Creek Campground is a short distance away, welcoming both tent and RV campers. This proximity allows for an immersive experience of the area’s natural beauty.
My first visit to Kaiser Hot Spring was a revelation. Following a dry riverbed, dotted with signs of wildlife, led me to this uncommercialized hot spring. The journey itself is as memorable as the destination, offering a rare glimpse into Arizona’s untouched wilderness.
Kaiser Hot Spring is more than just a hot spring; it’s a journey into the heart of Arizona’s wild landscape. It’s perfect for those seeking a quiet, off-the-beaten-path adventure.
The spring’s healing waters and the surrounding natural splendor make it a must-visit for anyone looking to unwind and reconnect with nature.
3. Sheep Bridge Hot Springs
Sheep Bridge Hot Springs, located under the historic Sheep Bridge in Yavapai County, is a pristine natural wonder. As a travel enthusiast, I’ve explored many hot springs, but this spot’s clarity and setting are truly exceptional.
Rich History and Natural Beauty
The original Sheep Bridge, built in the 1940s for sheep crossing, now serves as a gateway for adventurers. Despite its demolition in the 1980s, a faithful replica stands today, offering spectacular views of the Verde River and surrounding hills.
The Springs Experience
These secluded hot springs, with temperatures ranging from 98–105 degrees Fahrenheit, are perfect for a relaxing soak. Encircled by cliffs and lined with river rocks, the springs can comfortably accommodate small groups, ensuring an intimate experience in nature.
The area offers more than just hot springs. Visitors can enjoy a refreshing jump or a thrilling rope swing into the Verde River. The nearby trails provide ample hiking opportunities, and the original suspension tower of the Sheep Bridge adds a touch of historical charm.
Sheep Bridge Hot Springs is not just a destination; it’s an experience. Its combination of history, natural beauty, and therapeutic waters makes it a top choice for hot spring enthusiasts.
It’s a place where you can immerse yourself in Arizona’s wilderness, enjoy a unique soak, and appreciate the state’s diverse landscapes.
4. Castle Hot Springs
A Desert Oasis of Healing
Nestled in the remote Sonoran Desert northwest of Phoenix, Castle Hot Springs is more than just a hot spring—it’s a sanctuary. This lush, green haven is home to the world’s largest non-volcanic hot spring, offering a unique experience rich in history and natural beauty.
Therapeutic Waters in a Historic Setting
The spring, revered for its healing properties by the Apache and Yavapai tribes, now forms part of the luxurious Castle Springs Resort. Here, the waters naturally reach a therapeutic 120 degrees Fahrenheit, surrounded by serene rock formations and the sound of cascading water.
Luxury Amidst Nature
The resort, built atop a natural underground well, provides private tubs with temperatures ranging from 98–105 degrees Fahrenheit. This offers a cooler, yet equally relaxing alternative for guests seeking a soothing soak.
Exclusive and Intimate Retreat
Access to this secluded paradise is reserved for registered overnight guests, with arrivals and departures scheduled on specific days. This exclusivity ensures an intimate and tranquil experience for every visitor.
A Journey Back in Time
Castle Hot Springs isn’t just a place; it’s a journey through history. From serving Native American tribes to becoming a retreat for celebrities and historical figures, the springs have long been a source of rest and rejuvenation.
The resort blends early-20th-century glamour with a modern, off-grid approach, creating an ideal contemporary hideaway.
Embracing Nature and Adventure
Here, you’re invited to disconnect from the digital world and immerse yourself in nature. Whether it’s soaking in the thermal springs, exploring the Bradshaw Mountains by foot, horseback, or ATV, or enjoying garden-fresh meals prepared with local ingredients, Castle Hot Springs offers a holistic experience.
An Unforgettable Experience
As the day ends, the star-filled night sky over the Bradshaw Mountains provides a mesmerizing backdrop, capping off what is sure to be an unforgettable stay at Castle Hot Springs. It’s a place where you arrive as a guest and leave feeling rejuvenated, connected with nature, and enriched by the warm embrace of the Arizona desert.
5. Verde Hot Springs
Nestled along the Verde River, Verde Hot Springs remains a testament to Arizona’s rich history. Once a bustling 1920s resort, rumored to be a hideout for Al Capone, it now stands as a serene relic following a devastating fire in the 1960s.
The Springs Today
What remains are two 6-foot-deep hot springs, set amidst the stone foundation of the old resort. These springs, with temperatures of 98–104 degrees Fahrenheit, offer a unique soaking experience, free to the public.
Here, you can relax in the indoor spring surrounded by stone ruins and artwork, or in the outdoor spring that lies adjacent to the Verde River.
A Journey Worth Taking
Reaching Verde Hot Springs is an adventure in itself. A high-clearance vehicle is recommended for the rugged road leading to the Child Dispersed Camping Area.
From there, a hike along the Verde River, marked with cairns and crossing the river, is required. The path, though challenging with river crossings, unveils the stunning beauty of Arizona’s wilderness.
This remote location means there are no onsite amenities, so be prepared. Bring food, water, and gear for river crossings. For those looking to extend their stay, the nearby Childs Dispersed Camping Area offers basic facilities like a vault toilet, allowing a five-day stay.
A Natural Retreat
Beyond soaking, the area around Verde Hot Springs is perfect for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. The journey and the destination both offer a glimpse into Arizona’s natural splendor, making it a rewarding experience for those seeking an off-the-grid adventure.
My trek to Verde Hot Springs was filled with awe and surprises. Navigating the trail, crossing the river, and finally arriving at the hot springs was an adventure in itself. The experience of soaking in these historical springs, amidst the natural beauty of the Verde River and the surrounding landscape, is something truly special.
6. Kachina Mineral Springs
Located in Safford, Arizona, Kachina Mineral Springs stands as a testament to timeless tranquility. This day spa, steeped in over a century of history, is a serene escape from the hustle of modern life.
Natural Thermal Bliss
The springs, originally used by local tribes for their healing properties, feature Roman-style tubs filled with mineral-rich spring water. Sourced from the Pinaleño Mountains and Roper Lake, the water maintains a soothing temperature of 108 degrees Fahrenheit, ideal for relaxation and rejuvenation.
More Than Just Soaking
Kachina Mineral Springs offers a variety of treatments. From massages to sweat wraps and reflexology, each service is designed to enhance the natural healing experience of the hot springs. Essential oil therapy complements these offerings, ensuring a holistic wellness experience.
Rustic Charm and Modern Amenities
The property, nestled in lush green mountains, beautifully blends its rustic heritage with contemporary comforts. Alongside its hot springs and spa treatments, the resort features a small brewery, cabins, and hiking trails, perfect for those seeking a comprehensive retreat.
Enjoyment for All
Open to both individuals and groups, the bathhouses provide a communal soaking experience, operating 24 hours for maximum convenience. With a variety of tub sizes and meticulous maintenance, guests can enjoy a personalized and hygienic hot springs experience.
A Community of Wellness
Kachina Mineral Springs is more than a spa; it’s a community. Yoga sessions by the warm water pond, lush vegetation, and the soothing sound of chirping birds create a unique ambiance that promotes relaxation and connection with nature.
With indoor tubs available at $15 per hour and exterior tubs at $20, the Springs offer an affordable luxury. The spa celebrates its rich history and continued popularity, hosting special events and providing a picturesque setting for self-care.
7. Gillard Hot Springs
Nestled off the Black Hills Byway in Greenlee County, Gillard Hot Springs emerges as a marvel of nature. As Arizona’s hottest spring, with temperatures reaching a scorching 180 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s a destination that’s both intriguing and awe-inspiring.
The Power of Nature Unleashed
This natural wonder discharges an astonishing 400-500 gallons of water per minute into the Gila River, significantly elevating the river’s temperature. Witnessing the hot spring’s fierce energy as it merges with the river is a captivating sight, offering a unique addition to any sightseeing itinerary.
Respect the Heat
It’s crucial to note that Gillard Hot Springs isn’t for soaking. Human endurance for hot springs maxes out at about 140 degrees Fahrenheit, and that’s only for brief periods. The intensity of Gillard’s waters means admiration from a safe distance is the only option.
A Testament to Wild Beauty
The appeal of Gillard Hot Springs lies in its untouched, raw state. Unlike many commercial hot springs, it remains free from development. The absence of man-made structures enhances its rugged allure, making it a rare glimpse into unspoiled nature.
Reaching the springs is an adventure in itself. The road, once washed out by flash floods, now leads to a remote, undisturbed location. The journey involves navigating through challenging terrains and witnessing the transforming landscapes of the Arizona desert.
Near the historic Morenci Mine, Gillard Hot Springs once served as a leisure spot for miners. Today, it stands as a silent witness to the past, encapsulating the history of the area and its people.
Visitors must exercise caution. The spring’s extreme temperature poses real dangers, and the old signage warning of scalding water is a stark reminder of the spring’s ferocity. It’s a place for observing and respecting the raw power of nature, not for physical interaction.