Natural Hot Springs in Arizona

Arizona offers a variety of ways to enjoy this beautiful gift of nature called hot springs. The options range from remote and undeveloped to rustic spas and five-star resorts. 

But to be honest, some of these natural hot springs in Arizona aren’t worth the time and effort it takes to get to them.

So, in this post, we will give you detailed information to help you make an informed decision about your visit to these hot springs.

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    1. Arizona (Ringbolt) Natural Hot Springs, Arizona

    natural hot springs in Arizona-Arizona hot springs
    • Location:  35°57′38″N 114°43′33″W
    • Type: undeveloped
    • Average temperature: Between 95°F and 109°F
    • Fee: Free to use for an unlimited time but Park entrance fees apply. 
    • Hike-in access: Yes
    • Vehicle access: No
    • Number of pools: 3


    Hiking in the desert is an exciting adventure in and of itself. Imagine you're standing on the edge of a desert, and all you can see in front of you is a dry wasteland that stretches as far as your eyes can see. The mere thought of stepping into this realm excites you.

    This is not your typical day. You’re about to have new experiences and challenges.

    Add to that the thought of a deliciously hot or warm natural pool where you can soak away the tiredness in your muscles at the end of the trek.

    How do you feel? 

    Is this something you want to try?

    Okay. Let’s take a closer look at this wonderful gift from nature and see how you can access it.

    Arizona (aka Ringbolt) Hot Springs is a collection of hot mineral water pools located south of the popular Hoover Dam, near the border between the U.S. states of Nevada and Arizona.

    This beautiful hot spring is hidden away in a colorful slot canyon that joins the Colorado River, downstream of Ringbolt Rapids. It is a popular destination for adventurers who come to this site to have a relaxing soak after hiking in the desert.

    Hot Springs

    Arizona hot springs

    The hot spring water flows out of the upper canyon rock into a short thermal water stream and out over a 15-foot waterfall. Sandbags and rocks have been strategically placed by volunteers between these two points to dam the stream of thermal water, impounding it and increasing its volume. 

    These sandbags also demarcate the stream into three soaking pools of clean reflective water with temperatures that gets lower as you move from the first pool to the last. 

    The first pool which is closer to the source and about knee-deep is the hottest with a temperature of about 110°F

    The second pool gets its water from the first pool and is about waist deep. The temperature of this pool is about 98°F

    The third pool gets its water from the second pool and the temperature is lower than the first two.

    After the third pool, you will find a 20-foot metal ladder positioned over the small waterfall with which you can exit or enter the hot springs. Be careful when climbing or descending this ladder because it can be slippery. Also, turn your face away from the waterfall to avoid getting the water in your face.

    So you have three options of thermal water to choose from. You can try out each pool if you like until you get the most comfortable for you.

    How to get to Arizona (Ringbolt) Hot Springs

    Trails to Hot springs

    These hot springs are located in the desert and can only be accessed by hiking through well-known trails or by boat via the Colorado River. 

    The trails are rugged but easy to follow as they are well marked out. The hiking challenge is moderate to difficult depending on your fitness.  

    Two trails lead to the hot springs. These trails start at the same point and form a loop. You can either follow one of the trails in and out or follow one in and take the other out. This loop is about 5.75mi and takes about 3 to 5 hours round trip. The trailhead is located in a parking lot in the desert scrub at Lake Mead National Recreation Area, south of Hoover Dam at Mile Post 4 on Highway 93.

    hot spring trail

    From Boulder City, Nevada, take Highway 93 southeast. Continue for 3.5 miles to a left-hand pull-off that leads to the parking lot after crossing the Colorado River into Arizona. A bridge can be found at the far end of the parking lot from here.. Walk under the bridge to start the trail.

    White Rock Canyon Trail

    From the bridge walk for about 0.4 miles and you will reach a junction with a red and white sign pointing to two different trails. Take right to follow the White Rock Canyon Trail. 

    This strikingly beautiful trail gradually descends the meandering White Rock Canyon to the banks of the Colorado River before cutting back up away from the river over to Arizona Hot Springs. 

    When you get to the hot spring site, you will encounter a 20-foot ladder over a small waterfall. Climbing this ladder will bring you to the sandy landing where visitors take off their shoes before wading through a lukewarm pool to get to the other two soaking pools. 

    ladder at the hot springs site

    The first pool closest to the source and hottest is followed by a jagged slope which you will have to scramble on to exit the hot springs and onto the Hot Springs Canyon Trail and back to the parking lot.

    The Hot Spring Canyon Trail

    When you get to the same junction as above (0.4mi from the bridge), take left to follow the Hot Spring Canyon Trail. 

    This trail is the shortest and most popular approach to Arizona Hot Spring.  It approaches the hot springs site from the source and requires some tricky scrambling up some jagged rocks to get to the soaking pools.

    hot springs source

    Some safety considerations

    It’s important to note that the trails are closed due to extreme heat from May 15th to September 30th annually.

    A desert trek should not be approached without adequate preparation. Make sure you have these desert essentials in your backpack before you leave home.

    • Water, water and water. (If you can’t bring water, stay home)
    • Sun protection (sunscreen and sunglasses)
    • Clothing layers (Dress in layers for the range of temperature you will experience).
    • Extra food
    • Power bank for your phone
    • Map (you should download the map for offline viewing before the trip as reception here is poor).
    • Flashlight
    • First Aid Kit
    • Water filter or purification tablets
    • Knife or multi-tool.
    • Water shoes

    Before you go

    • Be aware of flash floods. Check the weather forecast before you go.
    • Leave your itinerary with a relative or friend.
    • If possible, don’t hike alone. 

    Arizona Hot Springs Map

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    2. Castle Natural Hot Springs, Arizona

    natural hot springs in arizona
    • Location: 33° 58′ 57.9″ N, 112° 21′ 42.84″ W
    • Type: Resort
    • Average temperature: Between  86°F and 106°F
    • Water composition: alkaline water (pH 7.8), contains silica, calcium, sodium, potassium, magnesium, lithium, iron, bicarbonates, and fluoride.
    • Fee: Yes (varies)
    • Hike-in access:  No
    • Vehicle access: Yes
    • Number of pools: 3 and several outdoor tubs supplied by thermal mineral water
    • Rule: Must be 16 years or older. Clothing is not optional in outdoor pools. No pets
    • Reservations: Required

    Getaways have always had a powerful effect on the human mind and on relationships. Whether it’s done alone, with a spouse or with a group of friends, it always ends with clarity, getting in touch with oneself, a change in perspective, rejuvenation and so on. 

    Castle Hot Springs is a gateway with a difference. 

    This is the kind of place where you start making plans to return even before you pack your bags.

    Now, let’s see some details about this wonderful place. 

    Castle Hot Springs, located 55 miles northwest of Phoenix, is a newly renovated historic resort with natural thermal pools. 

    This natural luxury oasis in the Arizonian desert, surrounded by the towering cliffs and crags of the Bradshaw Mountains, has an intriguing past.

    A bit of history

    The waters were known to the Yavapai and Apaches as medicinal long before this facility opened as a health resort. They used the hot mineral springs for healing, as did later settlers in the area.

    Castle Hot Springs attracted many of America’s wealthiest and most well-known families after it opened for business in 1896, including the Rockefellers, Wrigleys, Cabots, and Carnegies. They all came to this beautiful oasis to relax and rejuvenate.

    During World War II, the resort was used as a recovery center by the US military. Future president John F. Kennedy stayed at the resort for three months recovering from injuries he sustained during the war.

    Castle Hot Springs was closed and abandoned following a devastating fire in 1976. The resort reopened for business under new ownership forty-three years later, in February 2019.

    Hot Springs

    natural hot springs in arizona

    Three outdoor pools carved out from the rock are fed by the clear, hot water that flows from the canyon rock at a rate of 200,000 gallons per day. The beautiful water with a bluish reflection is self-cleansing and flows right back into the canyon. The pools’ temperatures range from 86°F to 106°F.

    With an average temperature of 106°F, the top pool is the hottest. The second pool, which receives water from the top pool, has a lower temperature of 96°F. The third pool is the deepest and has an average temperature of 86°F.

    You can choose from any of these natural pools surrounded by canyon walls and towering palm trees for a relaxing soak.

    soaking tub at castle hot springs

    Aside from these pools, there are outdoor clawfoot tubs at the Sky View Cabins and custom stone tubs in the Spring Bungalows, both of which are fed by the same hot water from the canyon.

    Please keep in mind that Castle Hot Springs’ facilities are exclusively available to overnight visitors. This leads us to the subject of accommodation.

    Accommodations at Castle Hot Springs

    lodges at castle

    The resort features a fully renovated cottage as well as 12 new spring bungalows and 17 sky-view cabins. The cottage beds up to six guests, while the cabin and bungalow each sleep two guests.

    These accommodations are fully private, with each having its own outdoor tub that is fed with both cold water and thermal water from the hot springs, allowing for a private soak.

    The rooms are designed for maximum luxury. The cost of a night’s stay varies depending on the type of lodging you choose.

    Farm-to-table meals are included in the nightly rate, as are yoga and meditation adventures such as farm tours, guided hikes, archery, and e-bikes. If you prefer, you can also plan your own personalized activities.

    Castle hot springs accommodations

    How to get to Castle Hot Springs in Arizona

    To get to Castle Hot Springs, you can either drive or arrange for private transportation from the resort.

    If you decide to drive, a high clearance vehicle is recommended because the road condition ranges from paved and smooth to a rough dirt road. Driving from Phoenix to Castle Hot Springs will take you about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

    Driving Driection

    Take exit 223B off the 1-17 to 74 West (Carefree Highway) for 11.3 miles. Take the first right onto Castle Hot Springs Road after milepost 19 and continue until you come to the stop sign at the end of the road, which is a T junction. Turn left onto the dirt road and continue for 7.2 miles to your destination.

    Castle Hot Springs Map

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    3. Hot Well Dunes Natural Hot Springs, Arizona

    natural hot springs in arizona
    • Location: 32.5205, -109.4407
    • Type: drive in/camping
    • Average temperature: About 106°F
    • Fee: Yes
    • Hike-in access: No
    • Vehicle access: Yes
    • Number of pools: 2
    • Rule: The tubs can’t be used after sunset because it uses solar-powered pumps
    • Rule: Clothing required
    • Permit:Required

    Drilling failures typically result in disasters such as fires, explosions, and oil spills, but not in this case. In 1928, an oil drilling operation on the beach of a lake (that had dried up over 2 million years before) struck a pocket of hot water rather than oil. This drill failure resulted in a well that continues to produce hot mineral water to this day.

    These two features – hot springs and sand dunes combine to form a unique park known as the Hot Well Dunes Recreation Area in Safford, Arizona. 

    If you enjoy off-road adventures, you will get the chance to ride 2,000 acres of sand dunes, pitch up camp, and then relax in soothing hot tubs all in one place. The area is great for OHVs, ATVs, and motorcycles.

    Hot Springs

    An artisan well powered by solar panels pumps hot spring water which fills two concrete soaking tubs at a rate of 250 gallons per minute.

    The temperature of water in the soaking tubs is about 106 degrees Fahrenheit. These tubs are clean, small and can only seat four to five people at a time.

    It’s worth noting that the hot tubs aren’t available at night. The water flows into the tub is controlled by a solar-powered pump, so after sundown, the water will stop flowing and the tubs will gradually cool. Perhaps this was done on purpose to limit its use to the daytime only. During the day, the water in the tub flows out into the sand around it, replenishing itself and maintaining the temperature.

    How to get to Hot Well Dunes in Arizona

    This little-known park is located in a remote desert area. Access is by driving through a rough dirt road with several washes. You need to have the right kind of vehicle to make this trip.

    It is important to check road conditions before going because the road is prone to flooding during the wet season. 

    From Safford, travel seven miles east on Highway 70. Turn right onto S Haekel Road and continue for 24.6 miles. Then make a left turn. After another mile, you’d arrive at your destination on the right.

    From Bowie, head North on Central Avenue for two miles to Fan Road. Follow Fan Road 1 mile East and then  Donahue 1 mile North. Turn East on Rosewood and continue 6 miles to Haekel. Drive for another 9 miles North to arrive at your destination.

    Camping at Hot Well Dunes

    hot well dunes

    This recreation area offers onsite camping. There are 10 tent/RV sites equipped with fire grills and vault toilets and picnic tables. A recreation use fee of $3.00 per vehicle per day, or a $30.00 annual permit, is required. Before you go looking for a place to camp, make sure to pay your $3 fee for each day at the entrance.

    OHV decal (for AZ residents) and flag required are also required in the area.

    Remember that this location is more or less in the middle of nowhere, so plan ahead and bring enough food, water, gas, and other essentials for an off-road adventure.

    Please be aware that on some days, this location may be overcrowded. If you want to enjoy some peace and quiet while visiting, avoid major holidays and weekends. In addition, during the summer, the desert is extremely hot. A trip in the fall or winter is recommended.

    Hot Well Dunes Hot Springs Map

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    4. El Dorado Natural Hot Springs, Arizona

    natural hot springs in arizona
    • Location:  33° 29' 36" N, 112° 56' 56" W
    • Type: Semi-developed campsite
    • Average temperature: About 108°F (Varies with season)
    • Water composition: alkaline water (pH  8.2), contains silica, calcium, sodium, potassium, magnesium, lithium, and fluoride
    • Fee: Yes (varies)
    • Hike-in access:  No
    • Vehicle access: Yes
    • Rule: Nude only public pool
    • Reservations: Required
    • Phone:  +1 623-386-5412

    I am not going to sugarcoat it. You'll want to back out of this hot springs site on your first visit… What? Is this the place I spent almost an hour driving to see?

    But hold on. Before you turn your gear shift to reverse, how about a second look? 

    El Dorado Hot Springs is a truly unique and rustic setting. When you first arrive at the compound, you’ll notice that it’s not a high-end resort, but rather a rural setting with animals roaming freely.

    site sign

    Yes. naturally, there are flies. The animals leave their droppings on the ground as they roam the compound. You’ll hear a variety of animal cries, particularly from birds.

    The appearance of this place is what makes it unique. It is a place to experience. 

    Okay. Let’s see some details about this unique hot springs site. 

    El Dorado Hot Springs is located in Tonopah, Arizona, about an hour west of Phoenix.

    This mineral-water spa in a desert oasis has several bathing pools and tubs connected to the underground source of the hot springs. The setting is secluded and peaceful, and visitors can bathe nude in the open communal pool or in one of the private spaces while enjoying the view of the beautiful desert landscape.

    Hot Springs

    El Dorado soaking tub in arizona
    The Choral

    Soaking takes place in a number of small clawfoot bathtubs or large stone pools.

    The public and private pools are all located outdoors, with the private areas surrounded by bushes or fences made of boards or dried palm rachis.

    These soaking areas have unique nicknames based on the type of experience you can have while soaking or the way the pool looks like.

    Desert Pete

    This pool is made of stone and is a nude-only public space. Here, you are free to take it all off and immerse yourself in the thermal water for one or two hours and emerge relaxed and rejuvenated.

    The Sunset Area

    This is a private area away from the main lot that includes a large spa lined in quartz and other types of stones I couldn’t identify. But they are beautiful. Here, your can enjoy a private soak in the evening while watching the sunset.

    Desert View

    A fire pit, a hot spring tub made of stone, and a metal tub with cold water for cooling and chairs are all available in the Desert View area. The view of the surrounding mountains from this space makes this space a favourite of many visitors. 

    Desert view tub

    The fee for the public, nude-only pools is $10 per hour or $30 per day. The private pools cost $15 and must be reserved in advance. These pools have a two-week waitlist.

    Where to stay while visiting El Dorado Hot Springs

    If you want to spend the night, you don’t have many options to choose from. A couple of rustic cabins are available at the property. They also have a few RV hookups and campsites for tents. Campfires are allowed.

    How to get to El Dorado Hot Springs in Arizona

    Even though it is located in the desert, there is no hiking access to this hot spring. You can drive up to this facility because the road is completely paved. The drive from Phoenix to El Dorado Hot Springs will take about an hour.

    El Dorado Hot Springs Map

    Recommended Reading: Best Hot Springs in Alaska

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    5. Verde Natural Hot Springs, Arizona

    natural hot springs in Arizona
    • Location: 34°21′25″N 111°42′36″W
    • Type: Undeveloped
    • Temperature: Between  98°F and 104°F
    • Water composition: calcium, iron, boron, magnesium, sodium, lithium, cesium and rubidium.
    • Fee: Free
    • Hike-in access: Yes
    • Vehicle access: No
    • Number of pools: 2
    • Rule: Clothing optional
    • Current status: Route inaccessible


    Ruins are special!

    When I’m in front of one, I feel like I’ve taken a step back in time.

    This “time machine” has always attracted many who love to explore ruined places and tourism industries have been built around this fascination in some countries. 

    Now, imagine taking a dip in a natural hot spring inside a ruin on the shores of a river. 

    This is Verde Hot Springs. 

    Verde Hot Springs is a series of natural mineral springs located near the town of Camp Verde in Yavapai County, Arizona, along the Verde River.

    Once upon a time, this hot spring was part of a vibrant and extensive historic hotel and resort called Verde Hot Springs Hotel, built in the 1920s. The hotel burned down in 1962, and the site was abandoned, but the springs still burble away in the hotel’s ruins sitting on the western bank of the Verde River.

    This one-of-a-kind location is far from anywhere, but those who make the effort to find it are rewarded with natural mineral hot springs and a peaceful and beautiful riverside where they can enjoy a rejuvenating soak.

    Hot Springs

    Verde hot springs soaking tub

    Visitors can use two enclosed and one outdoor pool supplied by the hot spring. The outdoor pool is deep and lukewarm (around 98°F).

    The second pool is located in a brightly colored bathhouse decorated with graffiti art. The tub here is only large enough to seat three to four people. This tub’s water temperature is around 104°F.

    A small tub with about the same temperature that can fit a single person can be found at the back of the colorful bathhouse.

    natural hot springs in arizona

    Although enclosed by the walls of the old hotel ruins, these tubs lack a roof and are thus exposed to the elements. So, the best time to visit is from 6 pm. This is also the time that the hot springs become less crowded as it is a pretty popular site.

    How to get to Verde Hot Springs in Arizona

    Having said that, the hot springs site is still open to anyone who can find a way there. The route described below was the most common way to get there before the closure.

    Please keep in mind that a four-wheel-drive vehicle is recommended because the road leading to the trailhead is quite rough.


    The journey starts at Camp Verde.

    From Camp Verde, take Highway 260 southeast for about 8 miles before turning right onto Fossil Creek Road, which is a dirt road.

    Drive south on the dirt road for about 18 miles until you reach the Child’s Dispersed Campground. This journey will take approximately 1.5 hours.

    Now, proceed to the east of the campground, where you will find a small gate through which you can access the trail. 

    To get to the hot springs, you’ll need to hike about a mile before crossing the river.

    Stick to the path. You will come across some barbed wire. Take the road down and to the left, through the forest.

    As you walk through the forests, you’ll notice blue-painted rocks left by other adventurers. Cross the river then turn left and follow the path until you reach the hot springs.

    Please proceed with caution when you reach the river. To cross the river, make sure you have good shoes.

    Verde Hot Springs Map

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    6. Essence of Tranquility Natural Hot Mineral Springs, Arizona

    This piece will not be complete without mentioning the rustic resort that is guaranteed to give you a relaxing mind and body experience.

    The Essence of Tranquility is a colorful and fun little oasis with hot mineral pools. 

    We wrote a comprehensive guide to this hot springs site in a previous article. Read it here.

    Safety while soaking in natural hot springs in Arizona

    Hot springs are generally safe and fun to use, but there is a small risk from a rare and lethal amoeba called Naegleria fowleri. This organism can enter the body through the nose. Simply keep your head out of the water as a precaution.


    If you have made it this far in this post, you now know the best natural hot springs in Arizona that are worth your visit.

    I hope the article was helpful. If you have visited any of these hot springs and you have tips that could help other adventurers, feel free to share them in the comments section.

    Natural Hot Springs in Arizona-FAQs

    Is Castle Hot Springs pet friendly?

    Castle Hot Springs is not a pet-friendly resort.

    Is there a parking fee at Castle Hot Springs

    Valet parking is available at the resort and is included in your stay.

    Can I drive to Castle Hot Springs with a regular vehicle?

    A vehicle with high clearance is recommended,

    Is Castle Hot Springs open year-round?

    There is a seasonal closure of the resort from July 5 to August !5.

    Is Verde Hot Springs currently Open?

    Verde Hot Springs site is open but the trails to access the site are closed and it is not known when they will be open.

    Is there a time limit for soaking in Arizona (Ringbolt) Hot Springs

    There is no time limit for soaking.

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