Mention the name New Mexico, and most likely images of adobe houses, desert mountains, or even white sands will come to mind. Yet with all its arid geography, New Mexico is also a great spot to soak in hot springs!
With a range of natural hot springs in New Mexico, consisting of both primitive pools and developed resorts, the desert just may be the best place to get wet! Let’s take a look at some of the favorite options for a rewarding hot springs soak.
If it’s winter, consider checking out these ski resorts near Albuquerque. The ski slopes are a perfect combination to any of the following hot springs.
Here are among the top hot springs in New Mexico, in no particular order:
Riverbend Hot Springs – Truth or Consequences
Besides having one of the most dramatic names in the whole country, the town of Truth or Consequences is also a prime soaking destination. Situated north of Las Cruces, in the southwestern corner of the state, the town boasts multiple hot springs. The most refined of them all is Riverbend Hot Springs, a resort/spa located right on the famed Rio Grande.
Visitors can make use of hourly passes for brief visits, while overnight guests have free unlimited use of all common areas on the property. There are eight pools of varying temperatures along the riverfront, with temperatures ranging from 95°F to 108°F.
The deck is shaded and offers great relaxation options whether in or out of the water, including a fire pit, hammocks, and a cold shower for cooling off.
Accommodation options include suites, budget rooms, and even a little cottage. The resort also caters to RVs, with utility hookups and soaking privileges included in the rates. House rules prohibiting children under 12 and designated ‘quiet zones’ in the pool area assure that a visit to Riverbend Hot Springs will be a tranquil one.
Charles Motel and Hot Springs – Truth or Consequences
What makes Truth or Consequences a soaker’s delight is that it sits atop a supply of hot mineral water. While in the town, another place to enjoy these healing waters locally is at the Charles Motel and Hot Springs.
Specifically built as a healing center, the spa at the Charles Motel and Hot Springs offers individual baths ranging from 98°F to 115°F as well as an outdoor jacuzzi for group soaks. They also offer a variety of typical spa amenities such as massage, yoga, and reflexology for an additional fee.
Guests can either pay by the soak or if staying onsite, are allowed a complimentary hot bath per night. Most rooms have a full kitchen to go along with a sitting area, cable TV, and full bathroom, all at reasonable prices.
The town of Truth or Consequences is located right off Interstate 25, approximately halfway between the cities of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and El Paso, Texas. While in the area, a visit to relatively-close White Sands National Park is a worthy diversion.
Faywood Hot Springs – Faywood
Sticking to the neighborhood of southwestern New Mexico, Faywood Hot Springs is another great option for soaking in the desert. With a long history as a site of geothermic activity, this rustic lodge offers a range of outdoor pools, both public and private, to guests looking for refreshment in their rejuvenating waters.
Pools can be rented by the hour, and there are both clothing-required and clothing-optional possibilities. Temperatures usually vary between 102°F and 107°F.
Lodging options onsite include rustic cabins complete with queen-size beds, to camping and RV facilities. Interestingly, they also offer a clothing-optional campsite for the dedicated naturalist.
Overnight guests have unfettered access to the pools, whereas day guests have a large window to get the most out of their admission. All guests can enjoy the various facilities which include a visitors center with a hot beverage bar, geothermic mineral showers, community fire pits, and some hiking and biking trails to take in the magnificent views of the high desert.
Jordan Hot Springs – Magdalena
Moving northward up I-25, and west on Route 60, will bring you into the Gila National Forest, where in-shape soakers can make the 13-mile trek to a hidden gem in the forest: Jordan Hot Springs. This clear pool, surrounded by primitive rocks and a gravel bottom, is an oasis in the woods, and no doubt a welcome sight after a long hike.
Temperatures can vary between 96°F and 100°F degrees depending on the season. Given its remote location, it’s no surprise that there is no access fee and clothing is optional.
If coming from the tourist town of Silver City, an hour’s drive north will first bring you to some ancient cliff dwellings. From the visitors center, you can find the Little Bear Canyon Trail to begin your hike.
Keep in mind that it’s 13 miles one-way to the Jordan Hot Springs, so make sure you bring dry clothes, drinking water, and a whole lot of stamina before taking this one on. The payoff is a natural jewel with breathtaking scenery, just be aware that wildlife is abundant, so be on the lookout for rattlesnakes and other denizens of the forest that may make an appearance on your journey.
Jemez Hot Springs – Jemez Springs
A day trip from either Albuquerque or Santa Fe, Jemez Hot Springs is a hotspot (pun intended) for geothermic activities in Northern New Mexico.
Formerly known as Giggling Hot Springs, this site was frequented by Native American tribes who used its waters due to their healing properties. In the 1800s, settlers became aware of this fact, and bathhouses were constructed to accommodate pilgrims from Albuquerque looking for relief from their ailments.
Today, Jemez Hot Springs offers both pools and lodging. The four pools of varying sizes are beautifully sculpted and offer built-in seating. The pools range in temperature between 98°F and 105°F and some even have shade sails for withstanding the blazing summer sun. Additionally, there are shaded seating areas with hammocks and chairs for relaxation, both in and out of the water.
For those looking to spend the night, accommodations are centered around two, newly-renovated cabins. Each can sleep up to four people and includes en suite facilities, wifi, and a living area. Alternately, day visitors can access the pools and property for hourly rates.
Spence Hot Springs – Jemez Springs
While still in the area of Jemez Springs, those preferring a more primitive hot spring experience can make the hike out to Spence Hot Springs. Nestled in the Santa Fe National Forest, this one mile out and back trail leads to a lovely pool with great views of the Jemez Canyon.
With an average temperature of 95°F and dropping, Spence Hot Springs might be considered more of a warm spring than a hot one. Still, this is a popular route for many, and the relatively short hike to get there puts it within the reach of most.
To access the trail, park in the paved parking area located 5 miles north of the Jemez Ranger District Office. Visitors are asked to carry out all trash with them and bear in mind the strict no-nudity policy when using the pool. As is the case with many hot springs, guests are also reminded to avoid getting water in their noses, as the risk of harmful amoebas is ever-present.
Black Rock Hot Springs – Arroyo Hondo
Moving on to the area around popular Taos, New Mexico, a short ride west of the town of Arroyo Hondo, will bring you to Black Rock Hot Springs. Just a 5 to 10-minute walk from the parking area, visitors can soak in one of two mud-bottomed pools located right on the banks of the Rio Grande.
Temperatures hover at about 97 °F but can vary depending on the height of the river that flows by just on the other side of a boulder embankment. There’s no entrance fee and clothing is optional, though due to its popularity and accessibility it’s unlikely you’ll be able to enjoy the pools to yourself.
Nearby, Manby Hot Springs is another soaking option, though it is a bit more difficult to get to since the closest road (Tune Road) is on private property and is fiercely defended by local residents. Getting there requires a moderate, two-mile roundtrip hike that many still consider worth the extra effort to visit.
Montezuma Hot Springs – Las Vegas
About an hour east of Sante Fe, New Mexico has its own Las Vegas, albeit a less glamorous one. Six miles out of town you’ll find the Montezuma Hot Springs, which have long been promoted as a place of healing. Legend has it that infamous bandits Jesse James and Billy the Kid spent some time here, following the footsteps of the Native Americans who used it to treat their wounds after a battle.
Within sight of several historic buildings–including the former Montezuma Hotel that now houses a college–these pools are freely accessed by the public, despite their location on private property.
There are a collection of small soaking pools onsite, as well as some larger rock-bordered ones in a variety of shapes and temperatures. The hottest of them all is the appropriately-named “Lobster Pot” coming in at a steamy 120°F. There’s also a pool named “Africa” in honor of its similar shape.
Those are the top hot springs in New Mexico. Have a great time soaking in the Land of Enchantment!