The existence of hot springs is nothing short of miraculous—hot water inching its way thousands of feet upward through dark, ancient fissures from Earth’s depths to form steaming, mineral-rich pools.
In the West, hot springs and rivers go hand in hand. For millennia, people have taken to these natural mineral baths to relax and connect with nature, plunging into nearby streams to enhance their soaks.
So, for our latest installment of Eddied Out we’ve compiled a list of nine riverside hot springs across the West that you can get out and enjoy, places that are still wild because people have cared enough to protect them.
These springs are natural wonders, places of respite and scenic delights (not to mention perfect pit stops during river hikes). For this list, we focused on hot springs in natural settings—undeveloped places where instead of large parking lots and admissions fees you’ll find tranquil natural treasures along great western rivers.
Whichever pool you visit, a soak in steaming waters taking in the sights and sounds of the river will make you all the more inspired to save the great rivers of the West.
9 Great Western Hot Springs
UMPQUA HOT SPRINGS
North Umpqua River, OR
A short hike takes you to these cascading geothermal pools, which perch on a forested cliffside overlooking the gorgeous North Umpqua River. (MAP)
OLYMPIC HOT SPRINGS
Sol Duc River, WA
Enjoy a moderate hike through old-growth forests of Olympic National Park to reach this series of 22 pools—some along the trail and some hidden and harder to find. (MAP)
- Learn more at the National Park Service and Washington Trails Association
- Nearest WRC project: Hoh River
THREE FORKS HOT SPRINGS
North Fork Owyhee River, OR
Located in one of the most remote areas of Oregon, these stunning, secluded and, yes, arduous to reach, series of hot springs are true hidden gems that you may very well have all to yourself. (MAP)
LOON CREEK HOT SPRINGS
Middle Fork Salmon River, ID
This large, forest-flanked thermal pool is one of many on the Middle Fork and is best enjoyed during a float trip down the iconic river. (MAP)
- Learn more at Idaho River Journeys and the U.S. Forest Service
- Nearest WRC project:Cape Horn Ranch, Middle Fork Salmon
KIRKHAM HOT SPRINGS
Payette River, ID
Easy to access via a small staircase from a nearby campground, this series of hot springs and steaming waterfalls lie just off the banks of the South Fork Payette River. (MAP)
DEEP CREEK HOT SPRINGS
Deep Creek, CA
A cluster of hot springs on the Deep Creek Fork of the Mojave River, these natural pools are a hidden oasis along the Pacific Crest Trail. (MAP)
RADIUM HOT SPRINGS
Colorado River, CO
This primitive, boulder-ensconced hot spring—which is kept at the perfect temperature thanks to geothermal water mixing with cool Colorado River water—can be reached by a short hike or via raft or kayak. (MAP)
- Learn more the Outdoor Project and the Bureau of Land Management
- Nearest WRC project: Sarvis Creek, Yampa River
FIFTH WATER HOT SPRINGS
Diamond Fork River, UT
These bright, aquamarine-hued pools, notched with waterfalls and set in front of red-rock cliffs, though popular, are well worth making the day trip to explore. (MAP)
ARIZONA HOT SPRINGS
Colorado River, AZ
This hot spring is a true adventure to reach—taking hikers along the Colorado River, through a volcanic rock slot canyon and then up a 20-foot ladder until finally reaching the hidden geothermic treasure. (MAP)