When the Spanish explorers in the 15th and 16th centuries stumbled across New Mexico's natural hot springs, they discovered the healing properties that the Native Americans had known about for centuries. Some claimed they'd found the Fountain of Youth. Visitors now discover the relaxing and calming hot springs are a cure for their souls.
Hot Springs: Please note many of these springs are located in remote destinations and may require a certain amount of hiking, climbing or other physical activity to reach. You should always check with the Forest Service or local ranger station before attempting to access these pools.
Battleship Rock & McCauley Hot Springs - Clothing is optional at these large, 99°F hot spring pools located in a high mountain meadow near the Battleship Rock in Jemez Springs, named for its similarities to the prow of a ship. Embedded in the rock are pieces of glassy-smooth obsidian, which is black rock created from 5-million-year-old volcanic eruptions.
Directions: Off Highway 4, take the trail at the foot of Battleship Rock and follow it up the canyon.
Black Rock Hot Springs - Located along the spectacular canyon of the Rio Grande, Black Rock Hot Springs is a small grouping of hot springs that forms a small pool alongside the Rio Grande when the river is low. It consists of a small collection of hot springs bubbling into the Rio Grande, which have been captured into one rather large soaking pool. Depending upon river level, the pool can be quite deep (4 feet at times). During the winter and during spring runoff, the hot-spring water is completely inundated by cold river water and impossible to locate. Because Black Rock is fairly well known and easy to reach, so don’t expect to be alone. Be sure to practice good hot-spring etiquette when visiting. The only improvement has been the continual reconstruction of the rock pool that holds the hot-spring water.
Directions: Drive north from Taos on Highway 3. Turn left onto a dirt road at the traffic sign reading "Hill." Go approx. 2.5 miles then turn right. Go approx. 0.5 mile and turn left. Go until you cross the river and find the parking area. Follow the trail downstream.
Bubbles Hot Springs - The pool west of Arroyo Hondo is replenished by the hot-spring water that bubbles up from the bottom and overflows back into the river. The pool is large (measuring about 50 x 100 feet) and several feet deep with a sandy bottom. Since it is located underneath a cliff, the pool is also under constant shade and is a bit primitive.
Directions: From the parking area at San Francisco Hot Springs, hike downstream approx. 0.5 mile, crossing the river 3 times.
Frisco Box Hot Spring - Frisco Box Hot Springs, located near Luna in Catron County, is more of a warm spring because the 98° F water cools off considerably in the small concrete tub.
This primitive river campground is about two hours north of Silver City along the banks of the Gila River, has three mud pools ranging in temperature between 105-110 F. Be aware that clothing optional at these hot springs.
Directions: Go on Highway 15 approx. 40 miles north of Silver City, NM.
Gila Hot Springs Vacation Center - This primitive river campground, about two hours north of Silver City along the banks of the Gila River, has three mud pools ranging in temperature between 105-110° F. Clothing optional.
This primitive river campground, about two hours north of Silver City along the banks of the Gila River, has three mud pools ranging in temperature between 105-110 F. Clothing optional.
Directions: Go on Highway 15 approx. 40 miles north of Silver City, NM.
House Log Canyon Hot Springs - This little hot spring is northwest of Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument and is found only when the Gila river is low. It is unimproved and surrounded by trees and ferns. Clothing optional.
Located northwest of the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument Visitors Center (505) 536-9461 Stop in for directions.
Directions: Obtain current information at the Gila Wilderness Visitors Center. From there go approx. 10 miles on a well worn path.
Lightfeather Hot Springs -Just a short hike to this wonderful collection of hot springs alongside the Middlefork of the Gila River. The hot springs themselves are very hot (about 149 degrees F) and will scald you if you sample them near the source. The only way to enjoy the hot water is in one of the rather ephemeral rock lined pools along the river where the hot-spring water mixes with the cold river water, making for a comfortable bath. The best time to visit the springs is during the late summer or early fall. Despite its rather isolated location, because it is well known, don’t be surprised by the presence of other hikers or riders on horseback.
Directions: Go along NM 15 approx. 45 miles through the Gila National Forest. Allow approx 2 hours for the drive.
Manby Hot Springs - Located southwest of the town of Arroyo Hondo, which is northwest of Taos, Manby Hot Springs has two hot pools located in the ruins of an old stagecoach stop. Clothing optional. Easy hike.
Directions: Go southwest from Arroyo Hondo, NM to the parking area. From the parking area at the end of the gravel road go downhill along a worn path of an old stagecoach road to the springs.
Montezuma Hot Springs - A collection of hot springs bubbling out of the side of a hill, feeding a variety of rock and cement tubs. Though the springs were originally used by the historic Montezuma Castle Resort, they are now accessible to the public. Three groupings of hot springs has been diverted into rather rustic cement and rock pools and tubs along the side of the road in the small community of Montezuma. Originally the numerous indoor hot-spring pools were operated by Montezuma Castle and several other resorts. Though most of the bathhouses are gone now, and the hot springs are out in the open - they have been kept rather clean, and bathers tend to be orderly because the owners, the United World College, maintain stringent regulations for using the tubs. Pools and tubs range in size and temperature, and with a little experimenting, you can find the perfect soak.
Directions: From Las Vegas, NM go approx. 6 miles northwest on NM 65. Watch for signs on the right side of the road near the Armand Hammer United World College of the American West.
San Francisco Hot Springs - This clothing optional hot spring has a few primitive pools. They are located two miles southwest of Pleasanton, NM, on US 180, on the San Francisco River. Look for the signs & the parking area. There are rangers around.
Directions: Go along US 180 approx. 2 miles south of Pleasanton, NM. Turn off US 180 onto a gravel road. Caution: this gravel road crosses two creek beds and can be muddy.
Spence Hot Springs - This is a very popular collection of pristine natural hot springs on the side of a steep hill, forming several soaking pools. Spence is heavily visited because it is easy to reach (7 miles northwest of Jemez Springs) and has had a reputation as a hangout for nudists. The water is about 100 degrees F, so it’s not extremely hot. A small waterfall can even be found in the lower springs, which also may contain up to three other pools, depending upon how the water has been diverted. From the lower pools you can continue uphill, following the water and a small trail. Several other pools are located alongside the small creek formed by the hot-spring water. All of these pool set in a beautiful locations are fantastic.
Directions: From Jemez Springs, NM, go approx. 7 miles north on MN 4 to a large parking area on the right (east) side of the highway. Follow the trail.
Directions: From Los Alamos, NM, go west on NM 501 to the intersection with NM 126 and NM 4. Go west on NM 4 for approx. 1.5 miles to a large parking area on the right (east) side of the highway. Follow the trail.
Turkey Creek Hot Springs - This remote hot springs in the Gila Wilderness of the Mogollón Mountains, requires a difficult drive and hike to reach and can be difficult to locate, which keeps most casual visitors away.
For those looking for a challenging hike and a little bit of hot-spring hunting, Turkey Creek Hot Springs offers several fantastic bathing opportunities. Although the hot springs themselves are very hot at 165 degrees F, they are obscured by Turkey Creek. Rock-lined pools are occasionally built in the creek bed to trap the hot water, but they’re frequently washed out. There is one large swimming hole that has substantial amounts of hot spring seepage, making the temperature quite warm. Soaking pools will vary depending upon what volunteers have built at Turkey Creek, but you can usually count on some type of pool or tub. Despite being remote and primitive, Turkey Creek Hot Springs is rather well known, so don’t expect to have the area to yourself.
Directions: North of Gila, NM. From the end of trail FS 724, cross the Gila River several times before coming to the junction with trail FS 155 which goes up Turkey Creek Canyon. Approx. 2 miles from the junction on FS 155 the trail begins to climb onto a ridge separating Turkey Creek Canyon and Skeleton Canyon. Stay on the bottom of Turkey Creek Canyon even though there is often to visible trail to follow. Go approx. 0.5 mile to the first of the springs.