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The 7 Best Hot Springs in the U.S.

The 7 Best Hot Springs in the U.S.

Warmed by geothermal heat that rises right above the earth’s crust, most hot springs have therapeutic, healing, and even magical effects.


5 min read

October 29, 2021

Since the dawn of time, hot springs have tempted visitors to come and soak in their calming waters. Warmed by geothermal heat that rises right above the earth’s crust, most hot springs have therapeutic, healing, and at times, even magical effects. Now combine that with the stunning locations the U.S. has to offer, and you’ll have yourself the soak of a lifetime. We’ve rounded up a few of the best hot springs in the U.S. for you—cheers to spending the whole day with cucumbers on your eyes.

Best States with Hot Springs 

Hot springs have been utilized for thousands of years, and as a natural remedy, they are well recognized in Europe and Japan.

1. Deep Creek Hot Springs, California 

When it comes to natural hot springs in the U.S., California’s uniquely diverse terrain and climate offer a few stellar options. Deep Creek Hot Springs, for example, is nestled in the northern Mojave Desert of the San Bernardino National Forest; it’s enveloped by a warm and pleasant climate. Getting to Deep Creek is a bit of a hike—a rocky two miles of upward trekking—but as soon as you get there, your soak makes up for all of that physical strain. Equally (and if not more) rewarding is the scenery surrounding the springs; rugged mountainous terrain, peaks covered in scrub brush, and lushness that encompasses everything from the pools beyond.

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Because getting to this already warm environment isn’t the easiest task in the world, visitors are encouraged to visit during the winter months when the heat isn’t as much of a bother. Alternatively, you could opt for the early hours of the morning during the hotter months of the year. 

2. Wild Willy’s Hot Springs, California 

While its name resembles a sort of amusement park vibe, Wild Willy’s Hot Springs, in reality, has an entirely different kind of fun in store for you. Located near Mammoth Lakes, these natural hot springs bubble up smack-dab in the middle of a stunning unpopulated area. Visitors leave their cars in a designated parking lot and traverse the elevated wooden walkway. And while this hike is relatively short, you’ll quickly understand why Wild Willy’s is one of the best hot springs in America. 

Make sure to stop and enjoy the views of the grassy plains and mountains that look as though they’re rising from directly beyond. After you get to the springs, make yourself at home and soak in one of the two shallow pools—the first one is about 10 feet wide and comfortably warm, but the second is an all-time visitor favorite. Located about 50 feet behind the first, the second springs are deeper and hotter and even charmingly shaped like a heart; you couldn’t plan a better date than this.

Wild Willy’s is predictably high in attendance; it’s highly regarded among the top natural hot springs in the U.S. If you wish to avoid the crowds and bask in nature’s bounty all on your own, try and head out early on a weekday—soaking paradise awaits.

Hot springs are great stress relievers because the mineral water eases muscular tension.

3. Sierra Hot Springs, California

For hundreds of years, Native Americans regarded the waters of the Sierra Hot Springs as a sacred healing place; we can definitely attest to that. Today, the land is an 800-acre non-profit resort, retreat, and workshop, urging visitors to slow down, relax, and disconnect from the outside world; even if temporarily. Armed with three main pools—the Hot Pool, Warm Pool, and the Meditation Pool—the resort is an R+R Oasis

Don’t miss the temple dome area of the main pool; the large geodesic dome with stained glass windows and skylights lets rays of sunshine flood in. When inside the dome, expect to soak in a pool that gets really hot; we’re talking up to 105 to 110 degrees. And outside, the warm pool (98–100 degrees) awaits your dip, tailor-fit for those who hope to immerse themselves in nature and stargaze at night. With countless experiences to take into account, it comes as no surprise that this is one of the best hot springs resorts in the U.S. 

Dry, rough skin may be soothed and repaired by visiting hot springs, thanks to their high silica content.

4. Bagby Hot Springs, Oregon

Discovered back in 1880 by hunter Bill Bagby, these hot springs remain nearly as primitive today as they did nearly 150 years ago—that's part of its charm. Bagby Hot Springs is an easy 1.4-mile hike from the entrance, located in the dense Mount Hood National Forest. Upon arrival, you’re free to choose between eight private log tubs or two six-foot round tubs. With both plumbing systems made from cedar, the tubs at Bagby feel as if they’ve risen organically from the forest. Water from the mainspring is a scorching 138 degrees, but if you feel like this is too much for you to handle, there’s a bucket of cold water nearby to help you cool down.

Despite being a year-round attraction, make sure to check the forecast—snow can make the road up to the hot springs nearly impossible.

Minerals in hot springs improve blood flow and oxygen saturation because our bodies absorb them.

5. Ojai Hot Springs, California

Next time you’re road-tripping to Ojai, don’t forget to pop by one of the best natural hot springs in the U.S. Also known as Ecotopia Hot Springs, these mineral springs near Los Angeles are a rustic spot hidden along the Matilija River. Five rock-bottom sulfur springs dot this clothing-optional soaking paradise, with almost all temperatures rising to 100 degrees. The largest spring you’ll find here is 20 feet wide, but the real superstar of the area is a cave-like soaking tub that’s across a small bridge. What’s magical about it you ask? Well, it’s fed by two waterfalls—can you already picture the photo ops? 

It’s important to note that the Ojai Hot Springs are located on private property—you need to get permission beforehand to gain access.

People with arthritis report less pain because of the natural salts and sodium found in the geothermal mineral water.

6. Chena Hot Springs, Alaska 

Gold prospectors in the early 1900s looking to cure their health problems stumbled upon Chena Hot Springs, one of the best primitive-turned-hot-springs resorts in the U.S. Shortly after it was discovered, people from all over the country traveled for days just to reach Alaska and experience the sweet feel of rejuvenation. Nowadays you don’t have to travel for so long; the hot springs are only a two-hour drive from Fairbanks.

While Chena Hot Springs are located inside the resort, visitors don’t have to stay the night to gain access to the springs. There’s a spring lake for adults 18 and older, as well as a mineral pool suitable for children. The springs themselves are warm and inviting, but what makes the experience truly special is the fact that northern lights can often be spotted glowing above at night.

Hot springs' enveloping heat relieves sore muscles, and the skin absorbs the minerals found in the water.

7. Vichy Hot Springs, California 

Established first in 1854, Vichy Hot Springs has provided a soothing escape for a long list of famous figures; Mark Twain and Teddy Roosevelt are among the most known. Nestled in Mendocino County’s bucolic countryside, this resort features the only naturally warm and carbonated water in North America—this has even earned them the nickname “champagne waters.” The springs are exceptionally high in mineral content; they’re nearly identical to the waters found in Vichy, France.

Soak in Vichy’s stone tubs, heated pools, or wander the resort’s 700 beautiful acres—there’s even a hike to a seasonal waterfall. Are you convinced that California is the coolest state with hot springs? That’s what we thought. 

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