The Best Hikes to America’s Hot Springs

The Best Hikes to America’s Hot Springs

The Best Hikes to America’s Hot Springs


Sometimes, the best part of hiking is coming along something you don’t get to see everyday; like hot springs. Although the U.S might not get as much recognition for its hot springs as other countries, they’re still very much here, waiting for you to come explore. Hot springs are thermal, mineral waters that are result of a beautiful geological phenomenon. Surely, after these long hikes, you’ll be more than ready to arrive at their springs:

hot springs, hikes, backpacking

Conundrum Creek Trail, Colorado

The Conundrum Creek Trail will take you to none other than the gorgeous Conundrum Hot Springs in White River National Forest. This trail is definitely not easy, but the reward at the end is incredibly worth it. At 8.5 miles and high elevation, it’s best to make sure you’re fully prepared for the trek. The hot springs here are surrounded by a scenic landscape that’s hard to find anywhere else, so plan to stay a while to take it all in.

Pipiwai Trail, Hawaii

The famous four mile Pipiwai Trail in Maui,  Hawaii may be overrated, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a try. This trail is known for leading its hikers to some pretty breathtaking places, like the Waimoku Falls and of course, The Pools of O’heo. The pools are Hawaii’s most sacred gems, and they are very much refreshing after the humid hike.

Hot Springs Slough Route, Alaska

Located in Tongass National Forest, the Chief Shakes Hot Springs are actually rather difficult to get to. In fact, you can’t even walk there, since you have to kayak or canoe up the Stikine River. Though, there’s some navigational loopholes to take advantage of, conquering the journey is all part of the incredible experience. Tongass National Forest has over 700 miles of hiking trails for backpackers who want to make a trip of seeing the springs. John Muir would be the first to recommend it himself.

Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route, Idaho

Believe it or not, there’s dozens of hot springs in Idaho, and most of them are spread out right here in Sawtooth National Forest. With so many hot springs to choose from, it’s advisable to spend a decent amount of time exploring all there is to see here, including the Greater sage-grouse. Even though there’s so many beautiful trails to hike, we recommend the 500 mile bike route that stops at most of the springs along the way. Don’t worry, you can opt for much smaller stretches of the trails or walk them instead.

Mammoth Hot Springs Area Trailhead, Yellowstone

If you haven’t heard about this place, then you’re seriously missing out. The Mammoth Hot Springs are one of the most recognizable areas in the US for this kind of thing, and a trip to Yellowstone must include coming here. The area is filled with dozens of hot springs, whose characteristics are just fascinating to anyone who has seen them. This spot is actually the trailhead leading to various hikes in the area, so your day should be off to a good start from the moment you arrive. Though you can’t soak in these tubs, there is an area called the ‘Boiling River’ a few miles away if you want to swim. (But, it’s a secret).

Hanging Lake Hiking Trail, Colorado

Also located in Colorado is Hanging Lake, one of the most fascinating geological gems in the country. The water is a sparkling emerald color that only happens as a result of such fascinating things, and you’ll appreciate the science of nature a lot more after you come here. The Hanging Lake Trail, while only a few miles long, is actually rated as difficult. Like the Mammoth Hot Springs, you can’t soak in these ones either, but getting to see what they look like will spark your imagination anyway.

Fairy Falls Trail, Yellowstone

If you’re coming to Yellowstone to visit all the hot springs, then don’t pass up on this opportunity. The Fairy Falls Trail, as it’s so lovely named, will provide you with the ultimate views of the Grand Prismatic Spring; the third largest in the world. The hike is only 2.5 miles, so no matter what your level is, you can do it. The scenery is unbelievable, and the jawbreaker pattern and colors of Grand Prismatic will make you question the Earth’s very existence.

Deep Creek Hot Springs Hike, California

Those looking to really ‘let it all go’ should come to the Deep Creek Hot Springs in San Bernardino National Forest. It’s the perfect spot for ‘fearless’ backpackers. Though, by fearless, we of course don’t mean the four mile trail, but the fact that many hikers choose to soak in their birthday suits. With both hot and cold pools, this part of the Mojave Desert is an awesome place to hike. Backpackers hoping to make a longer adventure out of the seeing the springs are encouraged to come via the Pacific Crest Trail that runs through here.

Hot springs, hikes, backpackingHot springs are magical gifts from Mother Nature that aren’t to be missed, so make sure your next backpacking trip leads you to one of these places.

hanalarock I'm Hana- a freelance travel writer and teacher who currently lives in South Korea. I'm originally from New York, but have spent the last two years traveling and living abroad. My first time hiking in the US was when I traveled around the country as a teenager. Though, my first adult backpacking trip was a year ago, when I hiked from Thailand down to Singapore for a month. I'm looking forward to many more adventures in the future. Visit my site for more information.