There’s truly nothing more relaxing than lowering yourself into a steamy hot springs pool after a day of travel and exploration. In the hustle and bustle of today’s busy world, these serene bodies of water—warmed by geothermal heat that originates deep underground—offer a chance to sit back, close your eyes and take a deep breath. From rustic retreats to luxurious resorts, these are some of the coziest North American hot springs worth planning your next trip around.
Banff Upper Hot Springs
After a day spent shredding the slopes at Mt. Norquay, Banff Sunshine Village or Lake Louise ski resorts—known collectively as SkiBig3 and located inside scenic Banff National Park—ease your muscles in the rejuvenating waters of Banff Upper Hot Springs.
This historic spa and bath house offers panoramic views of the snow-dusted Canadian Rockies, which provide the perfect wintry backdrop for soaking. The mineral-rich, geothermally heated waters gurgle up from nearly two miles below the Earth’s surface, with winter water temperatures hovering between 98 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
And since the hot springs are open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. during the winter, you can ski and snowboard to your heart’s content during the day, then relax and unwind under the stars at night. If you’re lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights!
Dunton Hot Springs
Visiting Dunton Hot Springs—situated in the picturesque San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado—feels like wandering into a glittering snow globe. This remote resort is located at the site of a renovated 1800s ghost town, complete with cozy, hand-built log cabins, crackling fireplaces and jaw-dropping winter scenery.
Once you arrive at this secluded retreat, you’ll have five options for experiencing the healing waters, which are high in beneficial minerals like calcium bicarbonate, iron, manganese and lithium. The resort offers hot springs soaking inside a lovingly restored 19th-century bathhouse, in a pool outside the bathhouse, in a pool behind the Dunton Store cabin and out under the stars. You can also book the Well House cabin for your own private hot springs getaway.
Your reservation includes all meals and beverages, too, so you can focus exclusively on relaxation for your entire stay.
Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs
You’ll feel all the tension in your body begin to melt away as soon as you dip your toes into the soothing waters of Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs. This historic site, located between Taos and Santa Fe, New Mexico, first began welcoming weary travelers as a health spa in 1868.
Today, it continues to draw visitors from all over the world with its calming, naturally sulfur-free waters that are full of iron, arsenic, soda and lithia. Choose from several different pools that are situated among the beautiful landscape of cottonwood trees and desert cliffs, or hop around and try them all—there’s even a special mud pool where you can cover your skin with a special blend of clay, then let it dry in the sun before rinsing off.
To make a vacation out of it, check into one of Ojo Caliente’s cottages, homes, vintage trailers, historic hotel rooms or suites decorated in northern New Mexico’s signature style. While there, you can also take guided yoga classes inside a magical “yoga yurt,” treat yourself to a hot stone massage and nourish your body with meals at the on-site Artesian Restaurant.
Iron Mountain Hot Springs
Venture west to the Rocky Mountains to soak in the indulgent waters of Iron Mountain Hot Springs, situated in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. With 16 geothermal soaking pools to choose from and panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, you may just find that you never want to leave. There’s also a freshwater pool if you need to cool off for a bit, and a jetted spa for soothing any lingering aches and pains.
For families, the nearby Glenwood Hot Springs Resort is another great option that offers a little something for everyone—from mineral-rich, 104-degree waters in the laid-back therapy pool to a kid-friendly splash zone and swimming lessons for little ones. Bundle up and head to nearby Sunlight Mountain Resort for some family-friendly skiing, too.
Castle Hot Springs
Gaze up at palm trees and the towering saguaro cacti of the Sonoran Desert while soaking in the three pools of naturally hot water at Castle Hot Springs, which opened in 1896. The pools are brimming with minerals like lithium, bicarbonates and magnesium, and temperatures range from 84 to 106 degrees Fahrenheit.
With five-star dining and relaxing spa treatments, this lush oasis in the Bradshaw Mountains of Arizona offers a true retreat from reality—it’s a great place to unplug from technology and other distractions for a while. Rest up in one of the historic resort’s gorgeous cabins, cottages, bungalows and hotel rooms, then participate in activities like guided hikes, adventure courses, tours of the on-site, one-acre farm and greenhouse, yoga classes, meditation sessions and more. Located roughly 50 miles outside of Phoenix, Castle Hot Springs is also an ideal place to gaze at the stars, and you’ll find plenty of telescopes around the property perfect for peering up at the night sky.
Chico Hot Springs
Originally established in 1900, Chico Hot Springs is nestled among the foothills of the Absaroka Mountains of southwest Montana, not far from Yellowstone National Park. In addition to its two, open-air hot springs pools, the Paradise Valley property includes lodges, cabins, covered wagons and homes for travelers to retreat to at the end of a day of exploring. This 800-acre, family-friendly destination is perfect for travelers of all ages, thanks to its abundance of on-site activities, including disc golf, trail rides, river rafting, mountain biking, painting classes, fly fishing and more.
Carson Hot Springs
Though natural mineral water coming from 35,000 feet below the Earth’s surface arrives at a whopping 121 degrees Fahrenheit, staff at Carson Hot Springs in northern Nevada use evaporative cooling and air spray techniques to help cool the water down to a more comfortable 95 to 104 degrees. Socialize in the large outdoor pool or retreat to one of the nine smaller private pools located indoors (where swimsuits are optional!). The water is full of minerals like magnesium, fluoride, potassium, silica, chloride, sulfate, sodium, lithium and several others, which may help promote health and well-being. And if all that swimming and soaking makes you hungry, there’s also an on-site restaurant and a brewery.
Strawberry Park Hot Springs
Venture way off the beaten path for a swim in Strawberry Park Hot Springs, located in Colorado’s Yampa Valley just outside of Steamboat Springs. These hot springs are surrounded by wilderness—so much so that you’ll need to drive a 4X4 vehicle with snow tires or take a shuttle to get here. You can stay overnight in a rustic cabin or by popping a tent, then soak in the pools from sunup to sundown among the rocky stone walls and evergreen trees.
Extend your trip by checking out the nonprofit Old Town Hot Springs, conveniently located right downtown in Steamboat Springs. Here, you’ll find stunning soaking pools fed by natural spring water, as well as a lap pool, a kiddie pool and two water slides.
Halcyon Hot Springs Resort
Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of southeastern British Columbia’s Monashee Mountains at Halcyon Hot Springs Resort. Situated on the banks of Arrow Lake, the property offers awe-inspiring views of nature that will help ease your stress and quiet your mind. Wander between three pools: the 104-degree hot pool, the 99-degree warm pool and the 86-degree seasonal mineral swimming pool. And, if you dare, take a dip in the chilly, 58-degree cold plunge to help cool off after a long soak.
You can stay at the resort by checking into one of the many private chalets, cottages and cabins that are surrounded by trees and gorgeous scenery. Enjoy seasonal activities like hiking and mountain biking, fly fishing, paddleboarding, skiing, golf, whitewater rafting, yoga and ice fishing, and be sure to treat yourself to a rejuvenating massage or facial at the on-site day spa, too.
By Sarah Kuta, for Newsy.
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