While most visitors would dismiss Central Nevada’s Big Smoky Valley as just another ‘sea of sagebrush,’ one of Nevada’s most amazing places in inconspicuously tucked around a corner: Spencer Hot Springs. Although it has become increasingly well-known in recent years, the remote location is key to the level of relaxation that is found in this amazing geothermal hotspot.
Many Native Americans residing in the area thousands of years ago likely took advantage of these lush springs, seemingly around every bend. While hot springs are common in the area, Spencer’s is a cluster of natural springs on unimproved public land. While the land is open to the public, some hot spring aficionados have made small yet significant improvements to the area throughout the years, majorly intensifying your enjoyment at the springs.
With three, sometimes four bathing spots on the premises, most of these baths are made from cattle troughs, with props constructed for the springs water to filter inside the tub. These metal tubs are ideal for winter months, as the water seems to stay warmer longer when housed in a metal container. However, one tub was created with concrete, which seems to provide a more natural experience as visitors are ground level [versus raised in a tub.] Water temperatures consistently sit around 140 degrees farenheit year round, so the Spencer Hot Springs are particularly enjoyable in the winter months.
Fun Fact: a highly charming herd of wild burros lives in this valley and are a definite enhancement to your hot springing experience!
Getting there: The amazing springs are located off State Route 376, just east of the Highway 50 junction. Keep your eyes peeled for the turn-off near mile marker 99 [there will be a yellow cattle guard], and follow the dirt road approximately 10 miles in. The springs are to your left!
Noteworthy Tidbit: While everyone loves an authentic hot springing experience, please be aware that this is a natural environment and the area is subject to spontaneous changes. Always be sure to test the water before committing, and be very careful when bringing children and dogs in the area [as dogs like to jump in open bodies of water.] More than half the hot springs in Nevada’s public lands are much hotter than 140 degrees, which imposes a very dangerous situation. Other things to be aware of are loss of consciousness from chemical fumes, cuts from sharp unforeseen rocks/broken glass and bacterial infections. We only want to hear of positive experiences at this amazing location, so just remember to be aware of your natural surroundings and keep a close eye on children and pets!