You know a town with a name like Jemez Springs has to have some geothermal awesomeness going on... and luckily, the little New Mexico settlement does, in fact, have hot springs a-plenty. From undeveloped pools of warm, mineral water to day spas and retreats with their own hot springs to soak in, there's something for everyone. And, the town's location right near both Santa Fe and Albuquerque makes it easy to explore. Here's our guide to the steamy fun along the Jemez Hot Spring Trail!
The Santa Fe National Forest makes a stellar setting for the first stop, San Antonio Hot Spring. The out and back trail that leads to the pools is only .6 miles, although the terrain is rough, and this spring is a popular one to visit. Visit in the morning to enjoy maximum relaxation. Or, if you're super motivated to get some privacy here, visit in the spring, fall, or winter, when the road to the springs is closed. You can still reach the pools, but it'll add 5 miles (about 2 hours) each way to your trip.
Spence Hot Springs is another popular spot with a moderate .6 mile hike in. These springs are a little cooler (between 80 and 90 degrees) although the one closer to the top is a bit toastier than the other. The view of the mountains and Jemez Canyon from Spence Hot Springs is especially notable, given that they're perched up on a hillside. If you're feeling at all charitable, this is a good place to bring a spare trash bag and do some cleaning up... or, just remember to pack out any garbage you happen to have at the end of your soak.
McCauley Warm Springs is the hidden gem mineral pool of Jemez Springs. To get there, you'll have to navigate a well-worn, but not always clearly marked 3.8-mile out and back trail. It's $5 to park at the trailhead at the Battleship Rock Picnic Area, which is well worth it. The pools are pretty big, so you'll have lots of space for your soak, and the forested location adds to the enchanting atmosphere. The hike up to the springs is a bit longer for this one, you can enjoy the killer views along the way.
Jemez Springs is home to the Jemez State Monument, where you'll find Soda Dam and Soda Dam Hot Springs. The Springs feature some lovely travertine formations to explore, and the dam nearby forms a lovely waterfall. While some people like to swim here, the springs are shallow and right off the road, so while it's not the most relaxing place for a soak, it's certainly a beautiful spot along a scenic drive where you can stretch your legs.
For a developed hot spring soak, check out Jemez Springs Bath House in the town of Jemez Springs. It's a non-profit operation, owned and run by the community, located in a cool historic, 1870s-era building, one of the oldest in town. They feature 8 oversized soaking tubs that you can rent for pretty cheap. The cool part is that you can control the temperature of your soak; they cool off some of the natural mineral spring water so you can use the hot and cool taps to get the perfect amount of heat for your bath. Minerals in the water include acid carbonate, aluminum, calcium, chloride, iron, magnesium, potassium, silicate, sodium and sulphate.
The Bath House also offers spa and aesthetician services, like massages, facials, quick chair massages, scrubs, wraps, waxing, and more.
Jemez Hot Springs, home to the Giggling Springs (so-called because you can hear the nearby Jemez River bubbling away), is another perfectly developed hot spring engineered for maximum relaxation and enjoyment. There are four pools filled with the naturally heated mineral water, each with varying temperatures and plenty of shade. They have names like "The Inner Peace Pool" and "The Reflecting Pool", and have statues of goddess all around to inspire and calm. Different pools offer different views, (some of the river, some of the mesa) and there's also a pavilion and several cabanas where you can chill out as well. This place is just all good vibes and positive feeling, so it's hard to not enjoy a soak here.
The relaxing hot springs in Jemez Springs come with a special, New Mexico flair. Whether you want to hike out to a spring tucked away in a forested mountain setting, or you're after a spa-like experience and positive vibes all around, it's not hard finding a spring that lets you really unwind in your own way.
Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books. -John Lubbock