The Grand Canyon State is famous for its spectacular outdoors. After a day of sightseeing, who doesn’t love soaking in a hot spring to relax for a while? There are 11 hot springs in Arizona that are particularly worth the short – or long – trip out to visit.
Some of these springs are at resorts just a short drive out of town, while others can only be accessed via a hike. Some have toasty, sizzling water, while others are milder. Some are perfect for swimming, and others, well…aren’t. Read on to hear about the 11 hot springs that you must include on your next trip to Arizona.
Castle Hot Springs
To start, we have Castle Hot Springs. Castle Hot Springs are the hottest non-volcanic springs in the whole world, with maximum water temperature coming in at a whopping 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
I don’t know about you, but the hottest spring I’ve ever been in was 112 degrees, and even that was a little too hot for my liking after a few minutes.
Don’t worry – not all the pools are 120 degrees. The site’s many different pools come at a variety of temperatures. Feel free to browse around and find your favorite. You won’t want to miss any of these views anyway.
Castle Hot Springs is located at the Castle Hot Springs Resort, located in the Bradshaw Mountains about an hour north of Phoenix. Built in 1896, it is the state’s oldest wellness resort – the first of a long line. Today, Arizona is famous for its wellness getaways.
To bathe in the springs, you have to book a room at the resort, which can be expensive as it is quite luxurious. The cheapest rooms will run you over $600 per night, and the most expensive ones can cost over $2,000.
Still, the spring is phenomenal. Its sizzling waters are surrounded by a buildup of intricate stone pathways, with the whole resort tucked away in the mountains. All this combines to make an experience that is sure to relax you in a way you’ve never relaxed before.
Note that those under 16 are not allowed in the pools. Tucked away behind Lake Pleasant, the resort is about an hour outside of Phoenix.
Arizona Hot Spring
Next on our list is Arizona Hot Spring, located at the Lake Mead Recreation Area.
They say it’s about the journey, not the destination. For me, Arizona Hot Spring is about both. The spring itself is quite nice, with several pools tucked tightly in a canyon, about 1,000 feet from the river. But nothing compares with the trek to get there.
To access the Arizona Hot Spring, you either have to take a boat down the Colorado River or go for a 2.5-mile hike through a narrow slot canyon. Either way, your journey is sure to be beautiful.
You can also boat upstream from the enormous Hoover Dam, just a few miles away towards Las Vegas. The Hoover Dam is the reason manmade Lake Mead even exists in the first place.
The spring’s waters are nice too, ranging between 85 and 120 degrees. Most of the bathing waters are closer to 100 degrees. The pools are nestled in the narrow canyon too, making for a picturesque, beautiful site to kick back after a nice hike.
The spring has its own campground, so be sure to get there early to get your spot!
Lake Mead is about 4 hours northwest of Phoenix, or under an hour east of Las Vegas. To park at the Lake Mead Visitor Center, where you can hike, costs $25.
El Dorado Hot Springs
The legend of El Dorado describes a city of gold with a wealthy king. It dates all the way back to the Spanish conquistadors, who endlessly searched for this city of treasure. Had they found this hot spring, the Spaniards might have stopped looking for a city and just enjoyed a day lazing around in the water.
The springs and resort at El Dorado Hot Springs boast several small pools with temperatures up to a wonderful 107 degrees. You can reserve private pools, or just bathe in the public ones. Clothing is optional at the private pools.
Like all the springs on this list, the location is wonderful. El Dorado is like an oasis in the middle of the desert, with fantastic views all around. Climb into the appropriately named Sunset Pool in the early evening and enjoy the magical colors descending overhead as the sun fades beyond the horizon.
The ambiance of the spring resort is rustic, with overgrown trees and dirt trails from one pool to the next. It feels like a real outdoor adventure.
The pH of the water is around 8.3, which means that it will naturally cleanse your skin and condition your hair. It’s also full of healthy minerals.
There is also a spa located on-site, and overnight accommodations are available in a bunkhouse. To visit the springs costs $15 per hour.
El Dorado Hot Springs is about a 1-hour drive northwest from Phoenix.
Essence of Tranquility
I agree with the name – this place really is the essence of all things that are tranquil.
The Essence of Tranquility is a spa and wellness respite, offering massages, essential oil therapy, and ear coning in addition to their hot springs.
The spa has five private pools and one communal one, with temperatures ranging from 98 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Clothing is optional for the private pools but required for the public ones.
They also have plenty of camping and cabins that you can rent. The Essence of Tranquility makes for a perfect weekend getaway.
To soak in the springs costs $8 per hour or $15 for 3 hours. The essence of Tranquility is located in Safford, about 3 hours east of Phoenix.
Hot Well Dunes Hot Springs
Every spring on this list is totally unique, and the Hot Well Dunes Hot Springs are no exception.
The Hot Well Dunes have over 2,000 acres of sand dunes that are perfect for a day of riding in an ATV or dune buggy.
What you may not know is that there are also two hot spring tubs on site, each with a temperature of around 106 degrees. They’re perfect for a soak after a long, sweaty day of riding under the desert sun.
One fun fact about the Hot Well Dunes Hot Springs tubs: the pumps are run using solar power!
There are also around 10 campsites available on this Bureau of Land Management land. To camp costs $3 per vehicle per night.
Located near Safford, the springs are located a little over 3 hours from Phoenix. Make sure to check the weather before you go, as the area is prone to flooding.
Kaiser Hot Springs
Tucked away in the mountains northeast of Phoenix, you can find your way to Kaiser Hot Springs.
Kaiser’s springs are not built-up at all – there’s no resort or anything nearby. Indeed, the springs are quite remote. To access them, you’ll need to do an easy 1.5-mile hike on the way in and out.
If you decide to make the trek, I promise you’ll be glad you did. As with Arizona Hot Springs, the hike through Kaiser Canyon to get to Kaiser Hot Springs is breathtaking. The trail winds along the river through a narrow canyon until it opens up into a deeper gorge.
A secluded, 100-degree pool lies in the rocks by the side of the river. Several other warm pools that the water flows into are below it.
After such a beautiful hike, the only thing you’ll possibly want to do would be to sit back, relax, and listen to the tranquil sounds of nature, underlaid by majestic silence.
Don’t wait too long to go to this hot spring, as a nearby mine is expected to damage its watershed and destroy the spring sometime in the near future. I will be sad to see it go, but I’ll remember the wonderful times I had there forever.
Seeing as there’s no resort or anything, it probably won’t surprise you that this spring is totally free of charge to visit. It is located about 2 hours northwest of Phoenix.
Verde River Hot Springs
Verde River Hot Springs used to be the site of another of Arizona’s wellness resorts, like Castle Hot Springs. The resort was built in the 1920s, serving travelers from all around the country in its calming, mineral-rich pools.
The resort burned down in the 1960s, but the spring still works just fine. Today, 98-degree water still flows into two man-made pools, eerily surrounded by what remains of the resort.
A sign by the trailhead reads “No city rules”.
Verde River Hot Springs is the closest free spring to Phoenix, and the people you’ll meet there are free in a different way. I would perhaps suggest leaving your kids at home unless you’re okay with them seeing nudity. Because, well…it’s pretty much guaranteed that there will be some nude people lounging around there.
After all, if you’re willing to trek out to the middle of the canyon to reach these springs, you probably enjoy feeling oneness with nature. You can leave your city personality behind, you don’t need it out here.
After the 1.5 hour drive north from Phoenix, you’ll need to hike another mile to get to this spring. As part of the hike, you’ll have to cross a river.
The difficulty of the river crossing varies based on how much rain the area has been getting. The area is extremely prone to flooding, so be very cautious and check the weather when you’re planning your visit.
Roper Lake State Park Hot Springs
In the middle of beautiful Roper Lake State Park, there is a spring-fed hot tub. It’s the perfect place to kick back at the end of a long day, whether you’ve been hiking, driving, boating, fishing, or enjoying Arizona’s great outdoors in countless other ways.
As with El Dorado Hot Springs, this spring is right in the middle of a desert. Nothing is more important in deserts than water. I’m sure you’ll agree after soaking in the tub here.
The park is known for its birdwatching, so be sure to bring your binoculars and go for a stroll before (or after) you soak. Camping is also available, but reservations are required.
To visit Roper Lake State Park costs $10 per vehicle for up to 4 adults. If you’re an Arizona resident, though, it’s free!
Located just outside Safford, the park is around 3 hours east of Phoenix.
Kachina Mineral Springs
Located at the foot of Mount Graham and the Pinaleño Mountains, Kachina Mineral Springs is a beautifully-located spa near Safford (are you sensing a pattern here?).
The spa is fed with hot spring water from nearby sources, including Roper Lake.
In addition to soaking in the two on-site pools, the spa offers several packages to combine your soak with massages, reflexology, and sweat raps to deeply soothe every inch of your body.
The spring water is also full of healthy minerals. With some of the spa’s packages, you can soak up minerals, then sweat to clean out your pores, and then soak again to fill your skin with nature’s healthy goodness.
Currently, spa packages start from $90.
Kachina Mineral Springs is around 3 hours east from Phoenix in Spafford, tucked away in the desert.
These last two springs aren’t for swimming. But nonetheless, they are spectacular, must-see sites for your next trip to Arizona.
Hidden in one corner of the Grand Canyon, you’ll find the Pumpkin Spring. The spring gets its name from its rotund shape, jutting out over the river below. Its rock also has a unique orange color.
One of many geological fascinations to enjoy while you visit the Grand Canyon, a trip to the Pumpkin Spring should be on your itinerary.
Some people say that the Pumpkin Spring reminds them of Cinderella. If you recall the story, Cinderella’s fairy godmother gave her a pumpkin carriage so that she could attend the ball.
Unlike Cinderella, make sure don’t get into this pumpkin! The greenish colored, steaming hot water is full of lead, zinc, copper, and extremely high levels of arsenic, one of the most toxic chemicals on the face of the planet. The spring is extremely poisonous and if you enter, you will not survive.
Fortunately, the nearby pools and rivers are safe to swim in. Generally, swimming in the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon is discouraged because the water flows very quickly and can sweep you away. However, the nearby pools are much safer. Sadly, these are not fed by hot springs.
The Pumpkin Spring is only accessible by a boating trip along the Colorado River through the canyon. You can research tours to find one that will take you there, or plan a trip yourself.
Gillard Hot Springs
Alongside the Gila River in eastern Arizona, there’s a rusty red pool with extremely hot water. That’s Gillard Hot Springs.
Like the Pumpkin Spring, the Gillard Hot Springs pool is meant to be viewed, not touched. The water is a scalding 180 degrees Fahrenheit, making it the hottest spring in Arizona. However, it is far too hot to swim in. You’d roast!
Visitors of Gillard Hot Springs popularly travel by mountain bike, as the area has some fantastic mountain biking trails. You can hike instead, too – it’s about a half-mile off the road.
The winding Gila river also makes this spring a site to be seen. The views along the hike are quite beautiful, and it’s a nice, quiet, secluded place, far from the bustle of the city.
Visiting Gillard Hot Springs is free. It is located about a 4-hour drive east from Phoenix, near Clifton.
Throughout Arizona, you’ll find fantastically unique springs to visit. Many of them, like Castle Hot Springs, El Dorado Hot Springs, Essence of Tranquility, and Kachina Mineral Springs are part of spas and resorts. These are just a few of Arizona’s wonderful locations for wellness retreats.
Other springs in Arizona are remote, and often come packaged with a beautiful hike. Many would say that their favorite hot spring in the state is Arizona Hot Spring – not because the water is the best thing ever (though it’s pretty great), but because it’s one of the most beautiful hikes you’ll ever go on.
Other more remote hot springs to bathe in include the historical Verde River Hot Springs, Hot Well Dunes Hot Springs, Kaiser Hot Springs, and the springs at Roper Lake State Park.
Lastly, for look-don’t-touch beautiful springs, none can beat the Pumpkin Spring in the Grand Canyon. The Gillard Hot Springs is also well worth the visit.
Hot springs are just one of the many incredible outdoor attractions that Arizona has to offer, of course. When you’re planning your next visit to the Grand Canyon State, see if you can find time to go for a soak between your adventures among the spectacular scenery.