Early Spring Soak: Arizona Hot Springs

February 8-9, 2020

Trail Overview

Trail: Arizona Hot Spring

Distance: 5.8 miles, round-trip

Elevation Gain: 900 ft.

Location: Lake Mead National Recreational Area

Permits: Not required for overnight stay.

The Story

When there’s too much snow in our local mountains, you’ll most likely catch me warming up somewhere in the desert. The month is February and this was my first backpacking trip of the year. We headed out to Arizona for the weekend, to explore hot springs that had been on our list for awhile. The weather was perfect, the hike was short and easy, and it was everything needed before having to go on lockdown in the next coming weeks.

As with any long road trip, I’d like to hit the road as soon as possible. Leaving early usually means hitting the road the night before, being able to get LA traffic out of the way. Since our trailhead wasn’t too far of a drive, and our hike was only 3 miles, we decided to leave early that morning and get on trail as soon as we arrived. Tiffany had plans to meet up with a friend whom lives in Vegas, his name is Bradley and had planned to join us on our trip. We all met up at the trailhead a little before noon and set out on our 3-mile hike to Arizona Hot Spring.

The parking lot was busy, but that wasn’t a surprise. It was Saturday morning, a beautiful spring day and lots of others wanted to soak too. However, we were the only ones that seemed to have backpacking gear. Obviously, we weren’t locals. LOL. The hike was super easy. It would have been nice to start a little early, because temps did pick up a bit, especially walking in soft sand. Though once we reached the canyon, it got really cold in the shade. We ran into a few people who were already hiking out, they had backpacking gear, so they must have gotten an early start.

In just a little over 2.5 miles, we made it to the Colorado River! There were wide open areas where boats can pull up and hang out for the day. We hiked alongside the river, above on some cliffs, following our trail to “camp”. After searching a bit, we found a spot big enough for our tents and not too far from our trail to the hot spring. We hung out at camp for about an hour or so, changing clothes and getting into our swimsuits. Since the campground is not located at the hot spring, we packed a small bag with extra water and a few snacks, just in case we decided to soak a little longer than originally planned.

I’d say the hot spring is about .75 miles from camp. Not very far at all. There is a 200-foot ladder that you have to climb up to get to the hot spring. We knew of this ladder before our trip, so it wasn’t much of a surprise. What did surprise me most, the amount of people that weren’t soaking. The parking lot was full, but there wasn’t many people on trail or soaking, so where were those people? Not complaining, at all. And not to say we had the springs to ourselves, there was still a good amount of people.

This hot spring was unlike any other hot springs I’ve soaked in; it’s long, tall and canyon-like. There were a total of 3 “pools” I believe and the further you go into the canyon, the hotter the water was. Each “pool” is separated by lots of sand bags that look carefully placed in order to keep the water from overflowing. We soaked for a good amount of time, in all 3 pools, but I’d say the cooler one was my favorite. As the sun started to set, the canyon got dark. None of us had packed headlamps, so we dried up and headed back down to camp.

It was the night before a full moon, so it was pretty awesome to watch the moon rise up and over the canyon we were camping by. There was a firepit built next to our camp, so we took full advantage of it, being able to dry off and warm up. The night came, went, and I slept like a baby- and I’m pretty sure that was due to our late afternoon soak. As much as we wanted to soak the next morning, we didn’t wake up early enough..and more hikers were starting to arrive. We packed up camp and headed back to our cars. It was a short and simple weekend trip, and I’m looking forward to exploring more hot springs in the future!

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Vanessa is an outdoors enthusiast, hiker at heart, and the storyteller behind Forever She Wanders; a women's lifestyle + travel blog inspiring all to get outdoors, seek adventure and live an active lifestyle. As an outdoors enthusiast, Vanessa has found passion in being outdoors while backpacking, camping, hiking and creating memories of a lifetime.

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