Nevada Hot Springs
Head 4 miles north of Goldfield, Nevada, on US 95 and hang a left on Silver Peak Road. At mile 7, the springs will be on your left. Once a popular resort a few miles north of the semi-abandoned ghost town of Goldfield, Alkali Hot Springs now consists of two small concrete soaking tubs that vary in temperature from 100 to 108 degrees. While the water can get a bit murky, the remoteness of these springs means you should have them all to yourself, making them perfect for late-night nudie stargazing. Camping here is also free.
Gold Strike Hot Springs are a second set of cascading pools on the Colorado River, where water trickles straight out of fractures in the canyon walls. Like Arizona Hot Spring, they’re located within Lake Mead National Recreation Area and can be reached via a four-mile hike down a narrow, rocky canyon. The trail itself is awesome, requiring scrambling and lowering yourself over several large boulders using ropes that have been installed at major obstacles. For a more unique adventure, you can also paddle to Gold Strike Hot Springs from Hoover Dam through the Black Canyon section of the Colorado River. There are a ton of Boulder City-based outfitters who rent kayaks or canoes and provide round-trip transportation. This hike is located along Highway 93 in Lake Mead National Recreation Area, about 1 hour southeast of downtown Las Vegas. From town, drive out to Lake Mead. From the intersection of Highway 93 and Lakeshore Road, drive south on Highway 93 towards Hoover Dam. About 0.3 miles past the Hacienda Casino, exit right at the first off-ramp on the new highway (Hwy Exit #2 to Hoover Dam). At the end of the off-ramp, jog right, then left and down into the bottom of the canyon. Drive down the graded dirt road for another half-mile to the end of the road. Park here; this is the trailhead.
From Elko, drive south on NV 227 for 6.8 miles. Then turn south on NV 228 towards Jiggs. Drive 30 miles and continue on to Harrison Pass Road, which becomes Forest Road 113. Continue on Forest Road 113 for 5.8 miles and turn north (left) onto Ruby Valley Road. Take your first right onto Harrison Pass Drive. Follow this for 1.1 miles and continue onto Ruby Wash Road for 1.5 miles. Finally, make three slight rights, now on rough terrain, to reach the springs. In the middle of a vast marsh at the edge of Elko County’s Ruby Wildlife Refuge, you’ll find a dozen or so isolated potholes framed by Nevada’s high-alpine Ruby Mountains. The main soaking pool is 50 feet across and deep enough to swim in, and depending on the season, temperatures range from 90 to 103 degrees. The surrounding field can get muddy, but there’s a couple of wood platforms at the edge of the cerulean pool.
From Austin, Nevada, head east on 50 and then south on 376. Make an immediate left on NF 001. After 5.6 miles you’ll reach a fork. Go left for another 1.6 miles and you’ll find the metal tub. Continue on another 500 or so yards to reach the second pool. Spencer Hot Springs are primitive pools with a few nice manmade additions. First, you have the option of skinny dipping in a large metal tub. Being closest to the heat source, soaking here can get pretty steamy. When you’re ready to take it down a notch, use the diverter to adjust the temperature…or make a dash to the in-ground spring. Some nice rock shelving has been added to this natural pool for comfortable seating. In either pool, you’ll enjoy views of the open desert landscape backed by the peaks of Central Nevada’s Toiyabe Range. Look out for the local brood of wild burros while you bathe.
Spencer Hot Springs