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The Hot Springs Trail, by Aria Zoner

FAQs - Hot Springs Trail

Get to know the Hot Springs Trail, a multi-sport adventure route to 100 hot springs. 

How long is The Hot Springs Trail?

The HST contains 4 parts, totaling 2,421.4 miles.

Part 1: The Coast Connect Trail

303.8 miles

Part 2: The High Sierra Hot Springs Trail

329.6 miles

Part 3: The Nevada Trail

607.3 miles

Part 4: The Idaho Soaktennial Trail

1,180.7 miles

Are section guidebooks the same as the official guide?

Yes, the official guidebook is the summation of the 4 section guides.

How many hot spring areas does this trail visit? 100

There are 64 wild or undeveloped, 22 semi-developed, 10 resorts, and 4 privately owned.

Are each of these hot spring areas accessible at the source?

No. Currently, 4 of these areas are located on private property and are closed to the public. Should these properties become available however, it would be awesome to secure them as part of the trail. That said, these springs also point to the importance of hot spring access and stewardship. While you may not get to soak your bones in these springs, you can still feast your eyes on them as you pass by.

Are each of these 100 hot spring areas on-trail?

  • 58 of these areas are located on-trail, requiring no extra effort to visit. 

  • 31 are visited by completing out & back segments of various lengths.

  • And finally, 11 of these areas are located *off-trail.

*Mileage for off-trail hot springs is not included in the overall hiking mileage. These areas will only be encountered when following the recommended resupply and multi-sport options.

What are the current trail tread percentages?

*XC (off-trail) = 4.9%
Existing Trails = 45.3%
Jeep or ATV Roads = 11.56%

Dirt Roads = 15.84%

Gravel Roads = 8.10%

Closed Roads = 1.26%
**Paved Roads = 8.28%

It's worth noting:

1. The majority of XC or trail-less miles on the HST are encountered in Nevada, as ridge-running. Although this may sound intimidating at first, personally, these were some of the most amazing miles I've ever hiked.

2. Another unique thing about the Hot Springs Trail is that the majority of paved and gravel road miles are concentrated in the final section of the Nevada Trail and the first 3 sections of the Idaho Soaktennial Trail. Although this ~400-mile portion of the HST can be hiked, to more easily overcome the waterless areas that accompany these road miles, and more importantly, to increase the amount of time you have to spend at each hot spring area before supplies run out, it's recommended for bikepacking - from Wells, NV to Stanley, ID. 

Is this trail easy to hike?

The difficulty level of this, or any trail, has less to do with the trail itself and everything to do with having proper gear, adequate health, and backcountry navigation & survival skills. Personally, I found the HST to be more challenging than the PCT, but not as challenging as the Hayduke.

WATCH: How Hard is the Hot Springs Trail?

How many resupply opportunities are there? 47

Part 1 - Coast Connect Trail: 11

Part 2 - High Sierra Hot Springs Trail: 9

Part 3 - Nevada Trail: 6

Part 4 - Idaho Soaktennial Trail: 21

How many Farmer's Markets are accessible from this trail? 16

4 are held directly along the trail.

5 are held within 0.5m of the trail.

7 are held along an official resupply option.

Are permits required anywhere along this trail?

Yes, in the High Sierra. Thankfully, free, self-issued, interagency backcountry permits are available en-route, in either Kernville (if going Nobo) or Mammoth Lakes (if going Sobo).

Is this really a National Scenic Trail?

No. It's a proposal for one.

Why? Were you hoping it was? 

Show your support, sign the HST NST PETITION

Where can I learn more?

For answers to the deeper questions, get my free INSIDER'S GUIDE TO THE HST.

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