Dur­ing the cold­er months of the year, it can be tough to gar­ner the strength to head out­doors for a win­ter adven­ture, but for those look­ing to brave the cold while also hop­ing to par­take in a more relax­ing form of out­door adven­ture, hot springs are what you need. Here’s a short list of some stuff you might want to bring along.

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Water Bot­tle
This could be an easy one to for­get since you’re lit­er­al­ly head­ing to a body of water, but mak­ing sure to bring a water bot­tle is often times eas­i­er said than done. Plus don’t for­get you can’t drink the water at most hot springs, not that you’d want to since it’s pip­ping hot, so make sure to pack in water. And if it’s allowed it’s always nice to have a few cold ones while you and your friends soak.

San­dals
Maybe you’re trekking into a hot spring from far out, or maybe it’s snowy, but once you get there you’ll be glad you brought some extra footwear. Many hot springs are often out in the woods and the pools have been built into exist­ing rock struc­tures, where the ground can be unsta­ble, rocks can be sharp, and you nev­er know what you’re gonna get.  It can be nice to have some extra footwear to slip into for soaking.

Head­lamp
If you’re head­ing out dur­ing the win­ter months you’ll know that the sun tends to set pret­ty ear­ly dur­ing this time of year. The last thing you want is to be hik­ing all the way back out to the trail­head in the pitch black. Bring a headlamp.

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Bathing Suit (option­al)
Poten­tial­ly the most impor­tant item for your soak­ing expe­ri­ence. Sure there’s a hand­ful of the soak­ing hot springs out there that are cloth­ing option­al, but hey let’s be hon­est that isn’t for most of us. You’ll prob­a­bly want a bathing suit, so bring a bathing suit.

Blue­tooth Speaker
This is a “use at your own judg­ment” rec­om­men­da­tion. Chances are if you’re going out to pop­u­lar hot springs and there are a lot of peo­ple around they might not want to hear your tunes. Be polite, ask first, and respect oth­ers. With that being said, there’s no harm in break­ing out the jams when the time is right.

Back­pack
Prefer­ably a day­pack, but if you’re going for a long dis­tance hike to some springs you’ll obvi­ous­ly want a back­pack­ers bag. The trusty back­pack is the surest way to remem­ber that you don’t for­get all your oth­er essen­tials, water bot­tle, tow­el, bathing suit, you name it.

Tow­el
Nobody wants to stand around in the freez­ing cold wait­ing to air dry, make sure to pack your tow­el so the sec­ond you get out you can get warm and dry.

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.

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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.

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Pho­to by Suzie Gotis

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.
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