4 Nevada Hot Spring Day Trips That Clearly Hold Water

4 Nevada Hot Spring Day Trips That Clearly Hold Water

Nevada hot springers know that, out here, “swimsuit season” simply means “every season.”

Centering an action-packed day of Nevada adventures around a solid soak immediately takes things from memorable to unforgettable. The aquatic apex of adventure. With so many hot springs around the Silver State (more than any other state)—each one boasting its own unique radius of side-trips and only-in-Nevada experiences—it’s easy to turn a soak-sesh mission into a full day trip (or more) packed with outdoor activities, hands-on history, amazing food, and locally-brewed beer, with plenty of cozy places to crash nearby.

Read on for our favorite ways to turn an already satisfying spring indulgence into a bonafide super soak.

Carson City & Carson Hot Springs

Soak This Way
Meet the
Grab Grub in Nevada's Capital City
Get Outside
Learn a Thing or Two
Best Time of Year to Visit
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Soak This Way

This place has been around in various forms since 1880, capitalizing on the same mineral-rich waters that the Washoe people had enjoyed for generations. Outside, choose from a large warm swimming pool or three spacious hot tubs—including one with the fabled, muscle-tenderizing water feature known as “The Hammer.” Or spring for one of nine private spa rooms for indoor indulgence where au naturale is up to you.

Carson Hot Springs

Meet the “Triathalon.”

Maybe the best part about swinging through Carson Hot Springs is that it’s part of what many Carsonites have dubbed THE TRIATHLON. It sounds serious because it is—seriously relaxing, that is. Sassafras Eclectic Food Joint is so close to Carson Hot Springs that the buildings are practically touching. And Shoe Tree Brewing Co. is right next door, too. Snag a day pass to the springs so you can soak, then savor, then sip… and repeat.

Shoe Tree Brewing Company

Grab Grub in Nevada’s Capital City

A few minutes away, Downtown Carson is teeming with dining options that promise to please any palate. For breakfast, try Cracker Box or Squeeze Inn, while quicker bites and tasty perk-ups await you caffiends at Comma Coffee and Old Word Coffee Lab. Lunch and dinner options are a-plenty, depending on what you’re in the mood for—try The Basil for Thai; L.A. Bakery for fresh soups, salads, sandwiches, and of course baked goods satisfying many dietary needs; Cucina Lupo for Italian, or Great Basin Brewing Co. for elevated, locally-sourced pub grub and craft beers.

Nevada State Capitol

Get Outside

Carson City’s location at the foot of the Sierra Nevada—just over the hill from Lake Tahoe—means outdoor action aplenty. Epic hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and more all await just minutes from downtown. Start with the easy Kings Canyon Trail for gorgeous tree-studded trails to waterfalls, alpine vistas, and wildlife habitat. Keep that swimsuit handy, too, because the capital is less than 25 miles from Lake Tahoe’s stunning beaches.

Lake Tahoe Flume Trail

Learn a Thing or Two

Fancy yourself a history hound? Carson City’s robust history and heritage is impossible to avoid. You can’t go wrong with a visit to a historic brewery turned arts center, a mint turned state museum, or a self-guided stroll around the 1850s-vibin’ West Side Historic District—a neighborhood of historic businesses and homes once occupied by Nevada’s early movers and shakers, including Mark Twain—many of which were around before Nevada was, well, Nevada.

Kit Carson Trail

Best Time of Year to Visit

Any! But we especially love this place in the wintertime—those nippy dashes from the resort to the neighboring restaurant and brewery make that warm re-entry splash just that more satisfying.

Carson Hot Springs

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Carson Valley & David Walley’s Resort

Soak This Way
Genoa Candy Dance
Follow Your Tastebuds to Carson Valley
Get Outside
Learn a Thing or Two
Best Time of Year to Visit
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Soak This Way

In western states, the term “resort” can mean a wide variety of things (even a semi-permanent tent next to a fishing hole), but David Walley’s Resort sits firmly on the bougie-er end of the spectrum for all the right reasons. Snag a studio, villa, or deluxe cottage at this swanky property and these mineral-loaded hot spring-fed pools are all yours. Do your best backstroke in the large, heated pool, then tub-hop between five separate mineral spas with temps ranging from 98℉-104℉.

David Walley’s Resort

Grab Grub

There’s a lot going on in this gorgeous little valley, tucked against the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, almost due east of South Lake Tahoe. As the oldest settlement in Nevada, Genoa’s charm is on full blast, with an array of small businesses, both original to or gracefully accenting this wildly historic community. The oldest “thirst parlor” in Nevada—The Genoa Bar & Saloon—is a must-see. They don’t offer anything beyond liquid calories, but you can order tasty panini from the Genoa Country Store across the street and enjoy it with your Bloody Mary, at the bar or in the heated patio.

Genoa Bar & Saloon

Follow Your Tastebuds to Carson Valley

Venture beyond Genoa to the greater Carson Valley area for always-tasty local faves (and 30+ beers on tap) at Minden Meat & Deli or embrace another thread of Nevada history that stretches statewide with a family-style Basque dinner at JT Basque Bar & Dining Room in Gardnerville.

Add a side of history at the artifact-packed Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park or the Carson Valley Museum & Cultural Center. And don’t leave without a souvenir from Cheshire Antiques, where 90% of the stock is required to have been made pre-1950.

J.T. Basque Bar & Dining Room

Get Outside

This whole region is filled with hiking and biking trails for every skill level, including those just down the street from the resort throughout the Genoa Trail System. Meanwhile, Genoa’s only about a 25-minute drive (or several hour hike, if you’re into that) to Tahoe, putting skiing, boating, stand up paddleboarding, and hundreds of miles of trails. Excellent fishing awaits on the Carson River and the crystal-clear waters of Topaz Lake. Schedule a personalized wildlife photography tour with local legend JT Humphrey for an unforgettable afternoon tracking and photographing wild horses, bobcats, and eagles that flock to this valley each year. Or see it all from above on a breathtakingly scenic glider ride with Soaring NV.

Soaring NV

Learn a Thing or Two

As Nevada’s first non-Indigenous settlement, it’s hard to avoid history around here. Learn about the Mormon Fort that started Genoa and Carson Valley, and swing through the Genoa Courthouse Museum to get the lowdown on Legendary Nevadans like Snowshoe Thompson.

Genoa

Best Time of Year to Visit

Summertime in the high deserts of Nevada routinely drops nighttime temps to a satisfying mid 60s and 70s, making an evening soak under the peaks and stars pretty unforgettable. All trails and museums are open during the summer months, and posting up on the porch of the Genoa Bar with a cold one will be a memory you won’t soon forget.

David Walley’s Resort

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Virginia City & Steamboat Hot Springs

Soak This Way
Grab Grub
Explore Virginia City & Gold Hill
Get Outside
Learn a Thing or Two
steamboat hot springs
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Soak This Way

SOAK THIS WAY: Samuel Clemens took the famous pen name Mark Twain while living in Virginia City, while writing for the Territorial Enterprise. But, his own famous moniker wasn’t the only thing he was responsible for naming around this part of Nevada. For starters, he dubbed South Reno’s  Steamboat Hot Springs as such after noticing the site’s geothermal groans similarities to the sounds of an actual steamboat. Twain, along with his high-profile buddies who frequented the springs during the 1860s knew there was something in the water here—which proves true when soaking here today.

This resort focuses heavily on wellness and rejuvenation, so plan for plenty of time here with their robust lineup of massages, Ayurvedic medicine, essential oils, and even Sonatherapy—a perfect way to relax at the end of a great day of exploring historic Virginia City.

Steamboat Hot Springs Healing Center & Spa

Grab Grub

The beauty in enjoying all the healing opps Steamboat Hot Springs Healing Center & Spa is that, afterwards, you can head straight for Reno and check out endless dining opportunities, or beeline it up Geiger Grade to Virginia City. It may even feel like two vacations in one.

If you start your day in Virginia City, kick off the day with house-roasted joe and tasty breakfast treats at The Roasting House. Alternatively, if you head up the hill by day, treat yourself to house-smoked ribs and more at Virginia City Jerky Co. and south-of-the-border faves at Cafe Del Rio.

Cafe Del Rio

Explore Virginia City & Gold Hill

Opportunities to snack on for salt water taffy, fudge, and candy apples abound, as do Old West saloons that feel like you just stepped onto a movie set. Step into several favorite that have been a fixture of main street for more than 150 years (you can’t go wrong with the Silver Queen, the Ponderosa, or the Bucket of Blood Saloon). For dinner, cruise down to Gold Hill—a speedy 5 minutes from “downtown” Virginia City—for elevated fare at the Crown Point Restaurant, which serves up everything from Angus steaks to flavorful curries in a dining room that predates Nevada statehood.

Bucket of Blood Saloon

Get Outside

There’s a reason the boardwalk-lined streets of Historic C Street—with its charming shops, restaurants, and saloons—continually earns it a place on the top 10 lists of Historic Main Streets in the U.S. Tour Chollar Mine—where you can still see that mysterious blue clay that made VC famous still oozing out of the walls—and the Comstock Gold Mill—a fully operational stamp mill that processed millions of dollars in silver ore.

Chollar Mine Tours

Learn a Thing or Two

As the site of what was once the world’s heftiest silver strike, Virginia City became a magnet to wealthy businessmen and entrepreneurs, famous gunslingers and ladies of the night, politicians, and laborers from around the planet. Today, you can dig into its one-of-a-kind history at several fascinating museums.

Saint Mary in the Mountains Catholic Church & Museum, an iconic part of of the Virginia City skyline since the beginning, welcomes visitors to explore its impressive architecture and to learn the story of the church’s role in the lives of miners and people who lived here. Meanwhile, Piper’s Opera House is one of the most significant vintage theaters in the US, the academically inclined Fourth Ward School Museum & Archives is the last school of it’s kind, and the Courthouse Slammer & County Museum tells the town’s tales through numerous artifacts and intriguing displays.

Saint Mary in the Mountains Catholic Church & Museum

Best Time to Visit

As a totally enclosed healing wonderland, any time of year is perfectly great for a visit to Steamboat. The private soaking rooms are indoors, as are the therapy and wellness treatment rooms, and there is a sweet little outdoor tub on the grounds, too. In other words, there’s really no wrong choice here.

Steamboat Hot Springs Healing Center & Spa

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Caliente, Pioche & Caliente Hot Springs Motel

Caliente Hot Springs Motel is temporarily closed for renovations, with a grand reopening predicted for this coming spring. Be sure to call the property directly for the most current updates. In the meantime, learn about this sweet soak spot while discovering other tips on how to have a hot time in ol’ Caliente, even without the warm water!

Soak This Way
Grab Grub
Nevada State Parks, Cathedral Gorge State Park
Barnes Canyon Mountain Bike Trails
Learn a Thing or Two
Best Time to Visit
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Soak This Way

As much as we love our abundant outdoor action at our fingertips, we do enjoy having a roof over our heads now and then—especially when, underneath that roof, is a private, hot spring-fed tub. Caliente Hot Springs Motel offers all of the above in the form of private soaking rooms in its on-site bathhouse, as well as a handful of accommodation options that offer the same mineral-rich water streaming out of the taps of the huge tubs you’ll find in your own room. There are few better ways to end an activity-packed day along the Great Basin Highway than this.

Caliente Hot Springs Motel

Grab Grub

Caliente may be small, but it still delivers some big flavors when it’s time to fuel up: the Knotty Pine, J & J Fast Food Restaurant, and Side Track Restaurant & Side Car Speakeasy . J & J can whip up quick to-go bites if you’re stashing a meal for later, while Knotty Pine is a delightfully old-school, no-frills diner packed with locals more often than not. Meanwhile, Sidetrack is a newer joint in a historic building, offering super fresh meals that cater to all dietary needs—plus swanky day-end cocktails and fresh brews in its adjacent lounge.

Knotty Pine Restaurant & Lounge

Get Outside

Southeastern Nevada is one of those tucked-away, hidden-in-plain-sight regions that’s a sin to simply pass through on the Great Basin Highway and an unforgettable blessing when you make it its own destination. In fact, this park-packed paradise boasts staggering canyon walls, labyrinthine slot canyons, lush valleys and meadows packed with wildlife, and unimaginable vistas around every corner—many of which you can count on having all to yourself. Get to know six state parks (all within 70 scenic miles of one another) here. Need a weekend gameplan? Start here.

Cathedral Gorge State Park

Barnes Canyon Mountain Bike Trails

This former railroad resort town has been swiftly rolling into rebirth as a veritable mountain bike mecca. Warm up with jumps and a pump track at the in-town skills park, then head for Barnes Canyon, where more than 20 miles of trails (extending concentrically from beginner to advanced) range from fast and flowy to rocky and technical—inviting anyone on two wheels and of any skill level to come out for a rip.

Barnes Canyon Mountain Bike Trails

Learn a Thing or Two

Though outdoor action takes the blue ribbon around these parts, history is a strong best in show, thanks to the arresting beauty of the Spanish mission-style Caliente Railroad Depot, and preserved pioneer history in places like Elgin and Spring Valley. While much of the region was home to quiet Mormon ranchers and farmers, real-deal rough-and-tumble Wild West action dominated everyday life in Pioche the “living ghost town” (located a half-hour north of Caliente) that once hosted a massive silver discovery. Among the glimpses still offered into Pioche’s raucous past—where crime and murder ran so rampant 70-ish people were buried before someone actually died of natural causes—are a once-elaborate turned quickly dilapidated courthouse that cost $1M, as well as uncommon relics like the only aerial mining tramway in the state still dangling over the historic cemetery.

Caliente Railroad Depot

Best Time to Visit

When it comes to being outside, summertime temps in this part of the state can surpass certain people’s comfort zones (although that’s a great time to get on the water in nearby Spring Valley State Park). That said, you can’t go wrong with a visit during spring, fall or winter.

Spring Valley State Park

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