Notes from Hunter Creek

Welcome To Hot Springs, America

In part I, we discussed some Ozark cold-water springs and a few of the noted “warm” springs east of the Mississippi, other than Hot Springs, Arkansas.      

Now for the western North America Springs:   USA

1. Colorado (three-star) *** Glenwood Springs Pool: forget the pool and head for the outflow tube just north of downtown from the BP Gas Station. There hippies and other locals have constructed two nice boulder hot pools (100°) on the north bank of the Colorado River. You can also weave across the narrow river to the two Amtrak trains that pass in each direction every day.         

2. California (1 star) * Tecopa Hot Springs: Just outside Death Valley Nat’l Park.

3. Washington  **** Sol Duc Hot Springs: Located in Olympic Nat’l Park. 

4. Arizona  *** Pumpkin Warm Springs (88°): Located in the lower Grand Canyon – fairly sulfurous – a common sighting for Big Horn Sheep on the narrow cliffs above the spring. Shaped and colored like a giant gourd capable of holding a dozen dusty, dirty bodies. 

5. Idaho (never been there) – Red River Hot Springs: a remote spot in central Idaho near the Clear water River.

6. Texas ***** Langford Hot Springs (on my favorite list): 103.5° hot water right next to the cool 50° Rio Grande water in February.  Located in Big Bend National Park.  No fee, once admitted into the park; 1/4 mile hike involved. 

7. Alaska ***** Chena River Hot Springs (on my fav. list): located northeast of Fairbanks, about 70 miles south of the Arctic Circle. 

In 1995 when I visited it was owned  by a Japanese corporation and was marketed as the best venue for viewing the Northern Lights during the winter months.   

Also – Circle Hot Spring **** located at the end of a 100 mile long dusty gravel road in central Alaska.  About 20 miles south of the Arctic Circle.

8. Montana ** Boulder Hot Springs, hotel and pool: located 30 miles south of Helena ($20). 

Also – Norris Hot Springs and pool *** located 40 miles southwest of Bozeman. $5-$10 except for concert nights $20-$35. 

Also, Sleeping Buffalo Hot Springs in northern Montana, 8 miles east of Malta. *** A unique run-down old resort now situated with an old guy (in 2012) Roger, the owner, a couple of his younger waitress girlfriends, and a trio of Indians from nearby Rocky Top Reservation.  Unique, but a little dirty and rundown. I slept in the hotel and used my own bedding, and was darned glad that the old building hadn’t burned down the night that I was there. A giant indoor pool and an electric hot tub. Very interesting.

9. Wyoming, best “Hot Springs” state, in my opinion. 

Saratoga Hot Springs ***** – Saratoga in southern Wyoming, one of my favorites along the North Platte River. Visit free Ho Bo Springs, open 24-7.

Thermopolis Hot Springs State Park **** – Thermopolis, in central Wyoming. Nice pool with two inlets and free,

Granite Creek Hot Springs – built and developed by the CCC in the 30’s, in the Gross Venture Mts. about 40 miles south of Jackson Hole.  A fav,  *****, but a steep 1/4 mile hike up the mountain slope and across Granite Creek.  In the winter, these springs are usually invaded by hordes of snowmobilers who park their trucks and trailers on Hwy. 191 13 miles away.  FREE!

Mexico   

Boquillas Warm Springs **  about one-mile from Boquillas, Coahila State.  Can be full of tourists.

Lower Reagan Canyon Warm Spring **** – 88° on the Rio Grande National Wild and Scenic section. The only way to reach it is to take the minimal 85 mile float trip from LaLinda to Dryden Crossing south of Sanderson, Texas. 

Canada

Banff Hot Springs ** – Banff National Park, Alberta: pool located in the basement of the Banff Hotel. $10, $ 20 Canadian. 

Fairmont Hot Springs ** – eastern B.C,. a giant pool full of teenagers and aging pale-skinned tourists. 

Radiun Hot Springs – Kootenay National Park, eastern British Columbia. Built right off the highway into the side of the mountain where the spring enters a crystal clear pool (100º) ****. In 2000, it cost $ 5.00 Canadian. 

Liard River Hot Springs  ***** – Northern B.C. another fav of mine. A one-mile fairly easy hike along a boardwalk over a marsh is required. Upper pool – 86°; Lower pool – 104°; the inlet is approx 120° hot. Located around the 415 mile marker on the Alcan.  $20 Canadian during Park hours. Be cautious of black bears in the area. In past years, I have read about two separate fatal bear attacks in the Park. 

Takima River Hot Springs,  *** – a pool located in the middle of nowhere alongside the Takima River, a tributary of the Yukon. Located about 40 miles north of Whitehorse, Yukon, $ 10 Canadian. 

So, as you can see, the western half of North America offers several good bathing spots (please no soap) and many are free of charge or at reduced costs.  Of course, what is a good sparkly hot bath worth when traveling?  I still have a couple more hot springs to visit on my bucket list, but they are definitely off the beaten path.

 Note:  July 8th 

As any of my occasional or faithful readers know, I am pretty well-traveled. By age 25, I visited my last state in the lower 48,  North Dakota. It took me another 20 years to get to Alaska, and then another 20 to reach Hawaii. 

With more time than money, I have fished, hiked or canoed across the country, including every Canadian province and territory except for Nunavut, in the far north.  I have visited almost all of the northern Mexican states that are strong across our Southern border. 

So you have to go out of the way to find some place that my family and I have not visited. 

That’s why I take my hat off to the Boyink family, who apparently RV’d and camped and worked their way across the US a few years ago. 

In their articles, they have noted a couple of spots in the US  that I have missed. One spot Mike Boyink wrote about, I avoided: Sedona,  Arizona. 

Although Sedona is apparently set in a beautiful mile long red rock canyon, I had been warned ahead of time by friends in Arizona, who said, “Avoid the place; it is overrun with expensive British Land Rovers and a lot of Californians who built new homes on every impractical mountaintop or cliff face.”         

Now, get up and go enjoy our beautiful Ozarks outdoors!