Just across the valley from Soldier Meadows Ranch & Lodge is one killer little series of hot springs. Immerse yourself in perfectly warm water as well as a heaping dose of history in the tremendously historic Soldier Meadows valley. Positioned not far from the Black Rock Desert, Soldier Meadows is part of the Black Rock High Rock Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area and is sandwiched in what was once considered to be one of the most dangerous and desolate stretches of the Lassen/Applegate pioneer trail in the 1850s. It wasn’t until reaching Soldier Meadows that early settlers could restock crucial supplies, like water. When visiting the beautifully scenic valley, keep an eye out for portions of the original trail that can still be seen, as the area has remained mostly untouched for 150 years.
At Soldier Meadows Hot Springs, hot spring aficionados will be delighted to find a hot creek with a handful of super cool bathing opportunities. There is one main pool near the parking lot. If it’s empty, jump right in. If it’s occupied, follow your way down the creek to a series of other sections that have been dammed up. Total, there are nearly 6 spots in the area to take a dip, which makes for a perfect group camping excursion. Best yet, there is an even more private option in the area at Hidden Spring. Jump back in the car and follow the dirt road to the south for another campsite and private hot spring experience.
Also to be enjoyed in the area are a selection of campsites in Soldier Meadows. A primitive Bureau of Land Management cabin can be found within the valley, which includes a pit toilet and minimal amenities, but is within walking distance of the hot springs, making for an idea Nevada adventure. In addition to the cabin, several semi-primitive camping spots can be found nearby.
Take note that there are plenty of hot springs for all to enjoy in this BLM-managed recreation area, but there are two large hot springs pools that belong to Soldier Meadows Ranch & Lodge. This is private property. Worry not, you can unwind in these well-maintained pools, but you must first check in at the lodge and pay a small fee.
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.
From Gerlach, travel north on Country Road 34 for approximately 13 miles. Take a slight right on to Soldier Meadows Road, and travel approximately 47 miles. You should see the BLM cabin on your left [west] and the hot springs lie just behind it and can be reached via a series of dirt roads. For a map of the entire Black Rock High Rock Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area, click here.
When exploring Nevada’s beautiful backcountry, always remember to travel prepared. Remember to bring a spare [a tire patch kit wouldn’t hurt either,] extra fuel and plenty of food and water. This is a tremendously beautiful section of Nevada, but is said to be the most rugged and remote. It proves to be a great way to disconnect from it all, but remember, you will in fact be disconnected from cell service and away from modern conveniences like restaurants and gas stations. Do not attempt to travel in this area unless you’ve come equipped with a high clearance, 4-wheel drive vehicle. Travel smart and plan ahead.