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  • Aria Zoner

Quest for the Ultimate Hot Spring

Over the course of my travels in search of hot springs, I’ve seen a lot of good ones, a fair amount of sweet ones, but very few ultimate ones. So what makes a hot spring ultimate? And more importantly, where are these ultimate hot springs at? Find out here as we go on the Quest for the Ultimate Hot Spring.

Hot Spring Questing on The Nevada Trail

"There are too many different styles of hot springs to pick just one as a favorite. It really just depends on the day and what kind of soaking experience I'm looking for. Some days I want to work for it, on others I want to kick back and be pampered. Sometimes it's about the soaking, and sometimes it's about the scenery. At the end of the day, every hot spring's my favorite hot spring." AZ


Quest for the Ultimate Hot Spring


Recently I was asked by the Ultimate Hot Springs Guidebook what my top 10 hot spring areas are. But instead of listing 10 places, I listed 10 features I think any ultimate hot spring area should have. These are the main things I'm looking for as I'm out on my quest.

By asking these 10 questions about any hot spring, I can see based on its features how ultimate it is:

1. Does it have a place for soaking? Now this may seem obvious, but several of my ultimate hot spring areas don’t have pools to soak in, in the traditional sense. At these places, the soaking is done under hot waterfalls or in a hot creek.

2. Does it have a drain? Simply having a pool to soak in is not enough. For an area to be ultimate, the pool needs to be cleanable.

3. What is the flow rate? If the spring has a strong enough flow to purge the pools or to refill them quickly, laborious and time-intensive cleaning may not be necessary, making it an ultimate soaker.

4. How does the water smell? Rotten? Or righteous?

5. Is there anything extra needed to get a soak? An ultimate soaker, in my opinion, is ready to jump into upon arrival. No ice blocks, shovels, or plastic tarps needed.

6. What’s the landscape like surrounding the area? Is it pleasant to look at? Or just ok?

7. How’s the camping? Close by? Cost free?

8. Is there a fresh water source on-site to capture water for drinking?

9. Does it have a place to cold plunge? This question is where a lot of springs fall short.

10. Is it open to visitation? Regardless if a hot spring area excels in all 9 of these other areas, if it’s not open for usage, it’s not ultimate.

Help keep hot spring areas open, whether they’re an ultimate area or not, by:

1. Being courteous and considerate when passing thru hot spring areas. The people you meet there are oftentimes locals and the ones who've either built or are maintaining them.

2. Leaving the area better than you found it by cleaning up trash and riff raff.

3. Not overstaying your welcome or camping on top of the spring, because ultimately this will make any place lose its luster.


Whatever kind of soak you’re looking for – wild or resort, social or solitary, ultimate or just good enough to get in – there’s an area like that on The Hot Springs Trail. To find it though, you'll have to do some exploring. But hey, then you too will be on the Quest for the Ultimate Hot Spring!


What’s your definition of an Ultimate Hot Spring? Comment below…



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