Hours of operation: No restrictions unless posted
Reservations: Not necessary
Distance: From Las Vegas, Varies
Travel options: Private vehicle
Warnings/Cautions/Age/height restrictions: Hot Springs pose many hidden dangers, please read the warnings at bottom of this page and research ANY recreation prior to beginning your trip! Hot Springs are typically for use by more experienced outdoor enthusiasts. Children, pregnant women, and those suffering from heart conditions should avoid hotter springs and stick to ones considered only warm.
HISTORY: Thanks to geothermal activity, the wild underside of our land, Nevada has been blessed with about three hundred hot springs. Historically, hot springs were far from overlooked. Native Americans and miners enjoyed them for swimming, bathing, even healing. Many today swear by hot mineral baths for relief from everything from gout to rheumatism.
Each hot springs site has its own character, says aficionado Dave Phillips of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). But if you could conjure up an oasis in the desert, he says, Ash Springs would be it. Found on BLM land just off U.S. Route 93 north of Las Vegas, along a dirt road across from R Place, the spring is surrounded by lush vegetation amid a sea of dry grass and brush. Eighty-five-degree water is piped into a pool block-reinforced to form a comfortable place to sit. The spring spills over into a natural shallow pond pleasantly shaded by huge, venerable cottonwood trees.
HOT CREEK SPRINGS:
One of the more isolated hot springs is on the Kirch Wildlife Management Area, also called Sunnyside, just off State Route 318. At this state-owned waterfowl hideaway and favorite fishing spot, Hot Creek Springs offers a nearly pristine setting with stunning views of the nearby mountains.
ROGERS SPRINGS AND BLUE POINT SPRINGS:
Closer to Vegas, several hot springs are near Lake Mead on lands administered by the National Park Service. Just off the North Shore Road or SSR 167, between Echo Bay and Overton, is Roger's Springs, a clean, shallow pool, that overflows into a little waterfall. However, Naegleria fowleri signs are posted at Roger's Springs. Pleasant bathing and picnic areas are also available a couple of miles north on North Shore Road, just off Stewart's Point, at Blue Point Springs, where the water is a few degrees warmer.
4 HOT SPRINGS BELOW HOOVER DAM:
Four hot springs, all accessible by foot or boat, can be found below Hoover Dam along the Colorado River. NOTE: The National Park Service recommends against hiking into hot springs beneath Hoover Dam in the summer months. Not only is it dangerous to overexert yourself when it's hot, but snakes are more prevalent during the summer.
SAUNA CAVE: A few hundred yards from Portal Road beneath the dam on the Nevada side is Sauna Cave. A long gravel spit with tamarisk bushes growing on it marks the spot. Just past the bushes is a lagoon, and at the back lies a cave.
GOLDSTRICK CANYON: A short hike up Goldstrike Canyon leads to pools and a waterfall that are about as hot as a human can stand. The rock formations are spectacular, but dangerous. "Getting a boat into Goldstrike can be tricky," says Mike Burrell, a fisheries biologist with the Nevada Division of Wildlife who is used to entering the area by canoe. The springs can also be accessed via a two-and-a-half-hour hike from U.S. Route 93, across from what's left of the Goldstrike casino.
BOY SCOUT CANYON: Getting a boat into Boy Scout Canyon--about a third of a mile south of mile marker sixty-two--is easier, but that's all that's easy if you're headed for Boy Scout Hot Springs. "The canyon is narrow, and you have to climb up several waterfalls with old ropes," Burrell says. "One narrow section is loaded with slippery rocks." Getting to a big pool about three-quarters of mile up requires ADVANCED climbing skills. Not recommended for any but the most experienced climbers!
RINGBOLT RAPIDS: Hot Springs, just below Ringbolt Rapids, requires less effort. A quarter-mile walk up Arizona Canyon and a twenty-foot steel ladder at the waterfall are the only obstacles to the upper pool, which, after a canoe trip in the chilly Colorado, "feels real good," Burrell says. "You can only stay in a little while, though. It's pretty hot." This spring can also be reached on foot. Look for a dirt parking area at the head of White Rock Canyon on the right about four miles past Hoover Dam on Route 93. Follow the canyon down to the river and trace it a quarter-mile south. The hot spring is in the side canyon.
If all this effort sounds a bit much for a warm soak, a less-rustic experience can be found for a small fee at Bailey's Hot Springs, located about five miles north of Beatty near a campground for RVs and tents. And in the town of Caliente, the Caliente Hot Springs Motel pipes hot-springs water into some tubs and larger private baths. For information on their rates, call 702-726-3777.
HOT SPRINGS CAUTIONS AND REGULATIONS: These natural areas deserve respect. Don't haul in any garbage you're not going to haul away, you bring it YOU remove it. Glass containers, especially, can be quite hazardous to those who use hot springs. Many of the springs in southern Nevada have been marred by graffiti, as well,--even in the most isolated areas. PLEASE respect our outdoors! Do not use soap or shampoo in the springs, as these waters are often home to threatened or endangered fish. It is unlawful to remove fish from or introduce unwanted aquarium fish into these waters--doing so could mean the demise of these diminutive denizens.
WARNING: Some hot springs may contain:
Naegleria fowleri, an amoeba responsible for several deaths each year. Its presence in warm springs is of particular concern. If contact occurs, the organism travels up the olfactory nerve into the brain and can cause fulminating meningoencephalitis. To avoid contact with this organism, visitors should not submerge their heads. Warm springs below Hoover Dam and at Roger's and Blue Point are posted with this advisory, which is more than just a warning: a fatality occurred after someone contracted the amoeba while bathing at Goldstrike Spring a number of years ago, water entered the victim thru the nose.
"Swimmer's Itch" is an annoying but not serious condition that can develop after using hot springs. The parasite burrows in under the skin, causing itching, swelling, and red welts. To avoid the problem, briskly towel off after using a spring and change into dry clothing. Dabbing rubbing alcohol on the affected area will soothe the itching.