Arizona Hot Springs
This is a small warm spring that forms in the middle of the dry Sonoran Desert. Although Agua Caliente is a beautiful setting, the spring is not a place to bathe as it is within a small county park. Agua Caliente is conspicuous due to its verdant palm tree grove, standing in stark contrast to the more subdued colors of the surrounding desert. The spring itself lies within a grove of palm trees, at the east end of the park, near some picnic tables. The spring bubbles out of the ground at about 85 degrees F, crystal clear. The water flows downhill in a small creek, surrounded by dense palm tree growth. Within the water live several types of fish, and a variety of water insects. The water eventually flows into a large pond, frequented by several ducks. Below this largest pond, the water flows into two more ponds. Trails link all these ponds together. The spring has not been developed, although several pools have been formed from its runoff. The spring is located within a county park with picnic tables, restrooms, and older buildings.
Agua Caliente Warm Spring
A series of hot-well sources bubbling into an irrigation ditch in a rural, agricultural community near the Gila River. The source of water that feeds the irrigation ditch is most likely another hot well that was discovered accidentally and has been channeled and diverted. The water is extremely hot before it enters the ditch, but it quickly cools in the irrigation water. There really are limited bathing opportunities here, as no formal pool or tub has been created in the canal. There is potential for a nice bathing experience if someone were to dig out a pool. At this point, there do not appear to be any restrictions against visiting the site or even soaking in the mixed water. The irrigation ditch is not very deep, nor is it fast moving, so soaking is not really hazardous. If you do venture into the water, be careful of the potentially scalding hot-spring water entering the canal. This is another well-visited spot. In addition, it is located near a variety of residences and agricultural fields, and does not, therefore, provide an isolated hot-spring experience. The hot wells are primitive, although they are in a developed agricultural region.
Buena Vista Hot Wells
Two unusual hot springs on a steep slope in a tributary canyon to Eagle Creek, in eastern Arizona. Their isolated location and the fact that they are on the side of an extremely steep hill make them inaccessible to the casual tourist. The springs emanate from the hillside and the hot water is contained in two small grottos. One of these grottos is a mineshaft, representing an attempt to extract ore from this area. The timbers of this mine are still in existence. The miners who dug this hole may have been attracted to the area because of the hot-spring water, as it is often a telltale sign of valuable minerals. The second grotto appears to be natural and is smaller than the other. Both of the grottos offer unusual bathing experiences, as you must actually get inside the grottos to experience the water. You must perform some gymnastic maneuvers to reach the second spring higher up the hill. The water in both springs is about 95 degrees F, and makes for a pleasant bath if you can fit. The only development these two springs have seen is the mining of the surrounding rock.
Eagle Creek Hot Springs
A hot well pumped to the surface and into several small bathing pools. Privately owned, the hot tubs can be rented for various periods of time. Once a center of hot-spring resorts, the town of Tonopah has since declined. There were at one time five resorts operating at once but now there is only one. The last resort from this historical period shut down 17 years ago. Historically, many of the hot springs flowed on the surface. With increasing agricultural activity in the area, however, the water table has since subsided, and the hot water must now be pumped to the surface. El Dorado Hot Spring was only recently opened, the hot water at depth tapped once again to provide baths. The well is one of many in the area, several of which are quite hot. The well, owned by Bill Pennington, is about 112 degrees F where it comes to the surface, and likely much hotter deeper down. The owners of the well and the property have provided a small oasis in which to enjoy the hot water, with two broad wood-fence enclosures covered with tarps and surrounded by vegetation. There are two bathing areas, one for those wearing bathing suits and one for those bathing nude. Each bathing area has several different tubs. The hot water has been piped into several tubs and other receptacles. Otherwise the resort is rustic with few other facilities available.
El Dorado / Tonopah Hot Spring
A small hot-spring resort in the peaceful countryside outside of the town of Safford. Several different pools of varying temperatures can be rented by the hour. Hot water from an artesian well supplies several tubs in a small, rustic resort. There are two large, rock-lined tubs in the main part of the resort. These tubs are in one area connected to the main building and there are several smaller tubs outside. The owners recently built a shelter over these outside tubs, creating a room for each tub to provide privacy. There are no clothing requirements for the inside tubs, as they are private. Each room has a different theme and a different tub, with slightly different temperatures. This is a developed, but no-frills resort.
Essence of Tranquility
Located in a remote section of the Gila River, not accessible by vehicle, Gillard Hot Springs is a great place to get away. The only signs of human activity out here are the faint roads and isolated cattle corrals. The trails that you follow to get to the springs were apparently roads at one time, but because of the lack of use and occasional flash floods, they have disappeared in places, leaving only segments. The springs are rather tricky to locate, and care should be taken when venturing into this region. Be sure to bring a good map, plenty of water and food, and let someone know where you are going. If you find yourself lost in the myriad of washes that lead to the Gila River, climb to the nearest ridge to get your bearings. Be aware that when down in them, many of these washes look the same and it is easy to become disoriented. Gillard Hot Springs have been visited for years, and were at one time a popular day-trip destination for miners and their families in the Clifton area. Today, the springs are less heavily visited, primarily due to their isolated location and difficult access. The hot springs bubble up at very hot temperatures around 180 degrees in the mud along the Gila River, where the hot water is cooled by the river water. The ephemeral rock-lined pools that attempt to hold this hot water have to be rebuilt every year. Be very careful here, as the water is scalding in places, and must be mixed with river water to be safely bathed in. This is a nice location, and well worth a visit.
Gillard Hot Springs
Perhaps the most isolated hot spring in the state of Arizona, Hannah is a true wilderness experience, requiring a hike of more than 7 miles one way. Once you finally get to Hannah Hot Spring, a small, unimpressive basin meets you. The basin is constructed of concrete and is basically a cattle watering trough. The water from the spring is hot, about 133 degrees at the source, but cools as it reaches the basin. The countryside more than makes up for the unspectacular watering trough. You will enjoy this trip to Hannah if you appreciate the wilderness and being far from civilization. It is a long trip, and all preparations should be made. I do not recommend attempting this trip in one day. The best way to visit is to backpack in. There are no roads for 7 miles from the hot spring and the area is largely untouched by humans.
Hannah Hot Spring
The hot spring is within a ranch owned and operated by The Nature Conservancy. A hot hot-spring source is diverted into a small watering trough for the use of guests of The Nature Conservancy’s Muleshoe Ranch. The hot-spring water is very hot, and cools only slightly before it reaches the watering trough. The hot spring is only available to those staying in one of the casitas nearby. Since this is a nature preserve, all care should be taken to maintain its sanctity. Those who truly appreciate nature and wildlife should make the trip. Do not go simply for a hot soak. The hot spring itself has only been diverted into a watering trough, but the ranch on which it is located has been in operation since the 1860s and offers modern lodging.
Hooker's Hot Spring
An artesian well feeds two concrete soaking tubs which have been fenced in by the BLM. The two tubs are within an off-road recreation area, and are visited regularly. Located in the dry San Simon Valley, the tubs are far removed from any towns, and at times a peaceful desert experience can be had here. Generally, however, the area is populated by long-term campers and RVers who are allowed to stay for up to two weeks. The two tubs provide nice soaking opportunities and overflow into a sand-and-rock-lined pool where the temperature is lukewarm. In all three pools, bathing suits are required and advised, as there will generally be people around. Despite the relatively large number of people who tend to frequent this site, there are still beautiful desert vistas from the tubs to enjoy. You can generally get the tubs to yourself if you wait for others to finish. Although the setting is primitive, the hot water has been diverted into two rather elaborate hot tubs. The area even has metal gates, concrete benches, restrooms, and interpretive signs.
Hot Well Dunes Recreation Area
This spring is a truly remote and pleasurable desert hot-spring experience, Kaiser is what visiting hot springs in the southwest is all about. Located along a narrow, sandy desert wash, the spring feeds a small, crude concrete-and-rock tub, built by a few hardy souls willing to cart mortar down this rough canyon. The tub is about 4 feet by 4 feet, and about 2 feet deep, with warm water at about 95 degrees. Summer is certainly not the time to visit this hot spring, as air temperatures are likely to be well over 100 degrees. In places the canyon is quite narrow and quite spectacular. The hike down to the spring is perhaps the most enjoyable part of the visit. At the spring, the canyon opens up a bit, allowing for a nice view of the surroundings. Although in an isolated setting, Kaiser Hot Spring is rather well known, and on weekend days in the spring, fall, and winter you can generally expect to see other people. Midweek and during the hotter months you will usually have the spring to yourself. If you desire, you can continue down the canyon a few hundred yards to Burro Creek, which is a linear oasis in this stark desert environment.
Kaiser Hot Springs
A newer hot-spring and mineral water spa outside of the town of Safford. Kachina offers hot mineral baths, foot reflexology, massages, and sweats (where you are wrapped in clean sheets after a bath). The hot tubs are rectangular, deep, and lined with tile with an even temperature of 108 degrees, and are cleaned out after each use.
Kachina Mineral Springs Spa
This spring reopened established as part of a bed and breakfast located along the banks of the Gila River in southeastern Arizona. The Potter Ranch is a historic site in the Clifton area, and has been in one family for three generations. Hot springs along the San Francisco River have been pumped up to the ranch and piped into two fiberglass hot tubs. The source water is about 150 degrees, but is cooled once it is mixed with cold tap water, which makes the tub temperature about 100 degrees. The tubs have been built into a wooden deck, and small lattice fences provide a level of privacy. The red rocks of the surrounding canyon are truly spectacular, particularly when viewed in a low sun angle. The tubs are generally available for public day use, or to registered guests of the bed and breakfast.
Potter's Aztec Baths
A hot-spring source diverted into a concrete-and-rock tub located in a state park, available for bathing. Another geothermal well, the Roper Lake State Park Hot Tub taps a substantial artesian well with water temperatures hovering somewhat above 100 degrees. The hot water is diverted into a rather elaborate concrete-and-rock tub, which is about 6 feet across, and several feet deep. The water in the tub is about 100 degrees. Park rules state that bathing suits must be worn, and bathers should remain for only 15 minutes while others are waiting. Facilities near the hot tub include restrooms, changing rooms, picnic areas, and campgrounds. Remember this is a developed and popular state park, so don’t expect a rustic or private hot-tub experience when coming to Roper Lake. The setting and conveniences make up for this lack of privacy, however, and the tub is definitely worth a stop.
Roper Lake State Park Hot Tub
A small concrete-and-rock tub fed by a small hot spring that emanates from a cliff overlooking the Verde River. A nicely constructed concrete-and-rock tub recently replaced the various watering troughs that had previously captured the hot-spring water coming from the cliffside. The hot spring itself is uphill from the pool, and the 99-degrees F water is captured in a small hose and transported to the pool. The pool is about 6 feet by 3 feet, and about 3 feet deep; the water is about 95 degrees F. The pool overlooks the Verde River and is a great place for a soak. This is a beautiful location, as the Verde River is truly a wild and scenic feature in this isolated area. Not until Horseshoe and Bartlett dams farther downstream is the river completely controlled like most rivers in the state.
Sheep Bridge Hot Spring
Take Fossil Creek Road west about 11.8 miles. Turn left on Forest Service Road 502 and proceed 5.8 miles to the Childs Power Plant Campground. Depending on the time of year you may need a high clearance vehicle to drive the last ¼ mile. Verde Hot Spring was at one time a thriving resort complete with hotel and several baths. Today, all that remains is the foundation for the resort, one main pool, and a couple more in the cliffside. The main pool is located on the foundation of the resort, overlooking the Verde River. The water in the main pool is about 98 degrees F, and there is enough room for several people. The pool is also quite deep, allowing for bathing without having to crouch down as with many other springs. There are also pools of hot-spring water in the cliffside, where small caves have been cut. These pools are not the best for bathing, and can be difficult to get into. Also, there are occasionally small, rock-lined pools along the river where the hot-spring water enters. This is a fantastic location with the scenic Verde River in the foreground and mountain views beyond. This location can be hot, but the cool river is a welcome relief. Because this is such a fantastic place, and because it is relatively easy to reach, it is popular. For decades Verde Hot Spring was, and in some cases remains, a favorite hangout for nudists. Do not be surprised to find people going without clothing here. Once a bustling resort complete with access road and bridge, the hot spring now is in a rather primitive setting and requires a hike of 1 mile to reach.