Before there were hot tubs, and even before there were bathtubs, there were hot springs. Hot springs are, though the definition is infamously debated, natural pools filled with geothermally heated groundwater that has risen from the crust of the Earth to form pockets of warm water all around the planet. While many of these springs are obviously too hot for human contact, think Old Faithful, many are just right for soaking. In honor of this age-old tradition, and because we all need a little thawing out this time of year, we’re featuring a handful of hot springs that would make great winter escapes, all within the US.
Meadows Hot Springs — Utah
These hot springs are tucked away in a mountain pasture just 2 hours outside Salt Lake City, Utah. With the mountains as your backdrop, they make the perfect place to let loose after a long day hiking or riding.
Crab Cooker Hot Springs — California
These hot springs are a little hit or miss, often times being too hot for humans to soak, and the name says it all (it comes from the fact that they can literally get hot enough to cook a crab). But when the temperature is just right, this pool can be the perfect place to soak after a weekend up at Mammoth Mountain, which is just a half hour away, plus the views are not to be missed.
Dunton Hot Springs — Colorado
Not all hot springs are for those looking to rough it. Dunton has gained its reputation by being one of the nicest hot springs resorts the states has to offer. Just across the mountain from Telluride, this resort is a great oasis for those looking for something a little nicer, perhaps a cabin with a nice fireplace. And if you can cough up $19,000, you can even rent the whole resort.
Conundrum Hot Springs — Colorado
Though it is also in Colorado, Conundrum Hot Springs are basically the opposite of Dunton Hot Springs. Tucked away in a remote mountain valley in between Crested Butte and Aspen, to access these springs there is a grueling 8.5‑mile hike, and that’s just one way. Not to mention it’s much harder in the winter, but don’t be deterred, these are some of the nicest springs in Colorado, with commanding views of the Rockies.
Bagby Hot Springs — Oregon
Tucked away in Mt Hood National Forest these hot springs are surprisingly well maintained for how remote they are. The wooden pools are reservable for personal use, and for groups, just make sure to get there early, they tend to fill up quickly.
Sykes Hot Springs — California
These hot springs are a little more party friendly than most, though many have tried in recent years to clear the trail of any unfriendly debris. However, that doesn’t mean these hot springs aren’t a must see and compared to many other hot springs you’ll visit in winter, these ones are probably going to be snow free, seeing as they’re located right near the iconic, Big Sur, CA, which is beautiful any time of year.
Strawberry Park Hot Springs — Colorado
These hot springs are just outside Steamboat Springs and are inextricably linked with the history of the city. When James Harvey Crawford first surveyed the area in 1874 he based the viability of building a town there on the hot springs. Since then the area has flourished and Strawberry Park is now a privately owned commercial bathing spring, though it still maintains its rustic aura, this is one of the nicest places to soak west of the continental divide.