Amazing hot springs with a side of mysterious Nevada history? Count us in. Located in the expansive and beautiful Buena Vista Valley, Kyle Hot Springs is nearest the ghost town of Unionville, and larger cities of Lovelock and Winnemucca. After a day of exploring the road less traveled and other surrounding ghost towns, treat yourself to a beautiful panoramic sunset while kicking up your heels in a delightful hot spring.
Today, Kyle Hot Springs is a hilltop sulfur spring that is piped into a cattle trough, and while it is still pretty incredible, the glamor level was slightly higher several decades ago. Although the specific timeframe is unknown, Kyle Hot Springs was once a mineral bath resort that boasted lodging, hot baths and even steam treatment.
As the story goes, people would travel far into this remote arid location in the early 1900s for a lavish desert getaway. Often hosting opulent parties, one night the party got a little to crazy and the majority of the resort burned down. With no real infrastructure in place to rebuild, the existing edifices fell victim to the harsh desert climate and turned into a pre-damaged ghost town sort of a situation. In the years since, the current cattle ranching owners have made efforts to maintain the grounds and make it nice for people to enjoy, so definitely use your head when visiting and please be respectful. This is private property.
When visiting Kyle Hot Springs, take notice of the remnants of adobe buildings on the way up to the cattle trough. There are some serious photography opportunities to take advantage of in this remnant of Nevada’s yesteryear. Travelers can take note of a cement stall-like structure, apparently a former changing room at the springs. Farther up the hill a somewhat-maintained original cement bath can be found, but please beware. The water in this bath is far too hot to be enjoyed, and almost appears to be bubbling. The cattle ranchers have constructed a gate around it to keep cattle out of this dangerous situation.
The springs are in the 90-degree temperature range, so they are definitely optimal for summer months. Winter months are still nice, but it may become a little chilly. Also, a strong sulfur odor is present at these springs. Be sure to leave all silver jewelry in the car, if you take a dip in the springs with any silver jewelry on it will not be so shiny afterward.
Rustic Kyle Hot Springs has many abandoned buildings on its property. Threeish hours from Reno, springs are more accessible in summer months, too cold in winter months. An irresistible combination of history and relaxation, Kyle Hot Springs is a definite spring to cross of any hot water enthusiast’s list.
From I-80, take exit 149 [north of Lovelock] toward Unionville. Follow State Route 400 south until reaching an intersection marked Unionville [to the right, or west] or Kyle Hot Springs [to the left, or east.] Turn left here and follow this well-maintained gravel road for approximately 6.4 miles. The road will fork twice: on the first fork stay right [continuing down the main road] and on the second fork, take the turnoff to the left. Follow this turnoff for just over 1 mile until you come upon a big blue cattle trough on the left.
Whether you decided to visit a well-known hot spring or attempt to venture to a lesser-known geothermal zone, be sure to follow tips to keep yourself and others around you safe.
Always test the temperature of the water before getting in a natural hot spring. Even well-known springs can drastically change temperatures, so testing the water each time will ensure you don't step into a spring that’s too hot. A food thermometer works well for testing.
- Always be sure to bring a proper vehicle with enough gas to make it to and from your destination, as well as plenty of extra food and water in case you have vehicle trouble. Often times Nevada hot springs are located in remote areas. Be sure to bring a detailed map and let people know where you are going before embarking.
- While falling ill from swimming in hot springs is extremely rare, there is still a possibility that could happen. Some hot springs contain organisms that could be harmful to humans. It may be a good idea to keep your head above water at all times.
- Please pick up any trash you bring to a hot spring. A much-anticipated soak in nature could be tainted by a spring riddled with trash and broken glass.
- Because of potential slippery or sharp rocks and occasional broken glass, a pair of sturdy water shoes is recommended before stepping in.