Heavenly Hot Springs
Nevada’s geothermal activity offers serene soaking experiences.
BY ERIC CACHINERO | May/June 2014
There’s nothing quite like immersing yourself in a hot bath after a long day hiking or skiing in the Silver State. Though Nevada certainly has its share of luxurious spas offering soothing mineral baths, visiting one of the approximately 300 natural hot springs that essentially exist in our back yards allows for a comparable experience. With each spring a comes a different temperature, size, and location, allowing natural hot spring enthusiasts to seek out their ideal spot to soak. Besides being a great way to explore some lesser-known areas of the state, visiting natural hot springs is certainly a relaxing way to enjoy Mother Nature’s wonders in Nevada.
SPENCER HOT SPRINGS
Nestled neatly in alongside the Toquima Range approximately 18 miles southeast of Austin, Spencer Hot Springs is one of the state’s most accessible springs and offers multiple large soaking areas. White alkali dust—a signature sign of geothermal activity—coats the ground surrounding the springs, and sagebrush speckles the central-Nevada landscape.
A hot-tub-sized dipping pool has been created at the upper spring and is lined with flat stones that can be sat on, offering a very primitive version of a hot tub. The lower spring offers a smaller metal dipping pool with the ability to regulate the temperature of the water. Water is fed into the pool by a small pipe. When the water reaches the desired temperature, visitors can simply remove the pipe and relax at their leisure. The water flowing out of the tub continues on its path downhill, creating several smaller pools, giving unique life to the desert. A couple dozen goldfish live in the springs’ runoff, calling the warm water home year round.
Although the area has no campground amenities, several metal fire pits exist near the springs. There is plenty of room to park trailers or set up tents; however, if you do decide to camp, be sure to set up a good distance away from the soaking pools so to avoid infringing others’ ability to enjoy the springs.
Directions: From Austin, travel approximately 12 miles east on U.S. Highway 50 to the point where it intersects State Route 376. Turn south on State Route 376, and after 0.3 miles, take an immediate left onto a dirt road (marked by a road sign for Toquima Cave). Travel on the dirt road for approximately 6 miles. The springs will be on your left.
Check out the May/June issue of Nevada Magazine for more photos, reviews, detailed directions, and tips about several other hot springs in the state, including Soldier Meadows Hot Springs and Leach Hot Springs. Subscribe to Nevada Magazine to learn about how you can take advantage of this all-natural soaking experience.