5 Natural Nevada Hot Springs Worth Chasing

Get to know the Silver State one wild soak at a time

With more than 300 natural hot springs peppered throughout the Silver State, Nevada lays claim to the most natural hot springs in the entire country. What you’ll find in the lineup below are hot springs found on public or federally managed land—a mere introduction to the realm of possibility when it comes to Silver State soaks. Beyond this short list, there are dozens upon dozens of privately managed natural hot springs, and we’re doing our damndest to keep those places special, un-geotagged, and here for the long haul. After all, discovering natural hot springs for yourself is part of the fun, right? Right. Before you hit the road, read up on our Hot Springs Etiquette and respect the hot springs culture out in Nevada’s untamed backcountry.

Spencer Hot Springs

Austin

Find it along the Loneliest Road in America road trip

Travel Nevada Pro Tip

Ready to settle in for the night? Situated on BLM lands, camping here is totally free. Just be sure to stake your spot at least 100 feet away from all sources (as the creature scene out here depends on the natural flowing waters as a life source.)

It’s hard to go wrong with a place like Spencer Hot Springs. Not far from the geographic center of Nevada and about 3-ish hours from Reno, the always-perfect, controllable temperature is what makes this spring a slam dunk, even for first-time soakers. Situated in Big Smoky Valley, Spencer Hot Springs is made up of three, sometimes four source pools, guaranteeing a spot for you and your crew to kick back in at this BLM-managed hot spring.

Two of the three sources are what we like to call Cowboy Tubs, or cattle troughs purchased and perfectly placed by BLM land managers or often times, hot springs stewards. Water is piped from the main, too-hot-to-soak-in source here, which means you have the luxury of pushing that source pipe in and out of the tub at your leisure, controlling the temperature that best suits your likin’. Plus, being able to control the temp makes this centrally-located gem seasonless and a place you can always rely on, whether you’re ringing in the new year with single digits or planning on a balmy summer night under the stars.

Another reason Spencer is worth a soak is the fact that it’s located in one of the most beautiful valleys in the West. It goes without saying that there’s some kind of magic that overwhelms any visitor that spends more time here than it takes to pass through it on 50, particularly if you time your trip around an afternoon soak at Spencer. If you do, make it a point to watch the sunset here. Oh, and toss in the can’t-forget-’em resident Hickison Burro Herd, and now you’re really talking paradise found.

Gold Strike Hot Springs

Boulder City

Find it along the Neon to Nature road trip

Of all the springs mentioned in this sweet little rundown, this might be the most intense, adventure-driven hot springing experience you can wrap your arms around in the Silver State. And trust us, you WILL be using them as you navigate your way through an 8-series rope course while working your way down one amazingly beautiful canyon. Gold Strike is basically the only public lands soakable hot spring in the southern end of the state, located about an hour outside the Strip on the edge of Boulder City. We’re not kidding when we say this 2-miler is a little on the intense side—a handful of people have died here and many more are rescued each year due to extreme temperatures and dehydration. This is not a walk in the park—hiking in means you’re committed for at least a half day. You have to work a bit for the payoff at Gold Strike, and you’d better be prepared…something, to be honest, that makes it all the more fun so long as you take a few basic safety precautions ahead of time.

Gold Strike separates itself from the others on this list in terms of adrenaline, but also by variety of springs. Count on multiple pools dammed up throughout the canyon, but make sure to seek out on a few grottos, a nearby sauna cave, and even a hot spring waterfall. We’ll let that soak in, because yeah, HOT SPRING WATERFALL. Plus, once you get to the bottom where the Black Canyon meets the Colorado River, you’re in for a super-special perspective of Hoover Dam—a treat you won’t have unless you sign up for a boat or kayak tour that launches at the base of the Dam.

Soldier Meadows Hot Springs

Beyond Gerlach

Find it on the Burner Byway road trip

Travel Nevada Pro Tip

Soldier Meadows separates itself from the pack thanks to one amazing little first come, first served BLM Cabin on site. Plan on setting up shop there, and explore the multitude of springs dammed up into pools along a shallow, hot river of springs.

Fantasizing about dropping off grid and really getting away? Soldier Meadows is your spot. When we say this place is remote, we’re talking REMOTE…an area that many considered to be Nevada’s most secluded. Soldier Meadows is a place where the solitude is unavoidable, and has a way of freeing you unlike anywhere else, and in ways, kind of like traveling to another country altogether.

Situated north of the famous Black Rock Desert, Soldier Meadows lies within northwestern Nevada. Around here, there is no ceiling on the exploration front, and could feel that way because the Black Rock encompasses a stunning 1.2 million acres of national conservation and wilderness areas, making it the largest collection of public lands in the continental U.S.

The history around here is almost as rich as the diversity in landscape too, as it was a regular stomping ground for weary pioneers trekking across the Black Rock Desert on the Lassen Applegate Emigrant Trail —a stretch they considered to be the most harrowing on the entire route. And what were they rewarded with? A whole boatload of hot springs…as in actual dozens all around the Playa. At Soldier Meadows, be stop and ready the BLM, detailing pioneer journal entries describing a life-saving soak at Soldier Meadows Hot Springs. Although your journey may not be as agonizing as it was to the guys who completed this journey more than 150 years ago, the trek promises remoteness you’ve probably never experienced. The variety of springs here is foolproof—the stargazing is even better. Swimming in a hot spring under the milky way? Now that’s our kind of heaven.

Black Rock Hot Springs

Beyond Gerlach

Find it on the Burner Byway road trip

The Black Rock Desert—a place so legendary, its reputation precedes itself. This vast desert landscape is so well-known to thousands of people from all over the planet come to participate on the hugest party on earth. And beyond that week of the year, the Black Rock is definitely a landscape worth experiencing on your own in more ways than we can count.

Ever wondered why a stark white, dry lakebed is named Black Rock? Yeah, took us a while to really figure that out too. This crystal clear body of aquamarine hues lies directly beneath a massive black rock formation that earned its name as a way-finding landmark for pioneers trekking across the Playa more than 150 years ago. Unlike many of the others size up in this list, there is one giant main source pool here about 3-4 feet deep, spanning 100 feet in size. The source comes in about 20 feet from the dock, and lined with a squishy mud natural bottom. We can promise you this: Black Rock Hot Springs won’t ever run too cold. If anything, it typically runs super hot (for a summertime soak, anyhow), and varies depending on the time of day. Fall and winter make for ideal soaks.

Travel Nevada Pro Tip

The only way to reach the spring is by driving on the Playa itself. Don’t even think about trying to cross the Playa in any sort of precipitation situation—you will get stuck in Playa mud and end up in a survival situation that involves a true rescue party. Even if you aren’t worried about it, Gerlach-based Friends of Black Rock will have a read on Playa drivability and can get you the info you need before hitting the road.

Fish Lake Valley Hot Springs

Dyer

Find it off the Free-Range Art Highway road trip

Travel Nevada Pro Tip

Looking to summit Nevada’s tallest peak? Fish Lake Valley is situated at the base of Boundary Peak, and a completely perfect place to soak those weary bones after bagging the beast.

Tucked away in a magical little valley near Dyer, the hot spring-obsessed will go bonkers over this one. And the beauty of it all? If you’re planning on camping, exploring ghost towns, off-roading, bagging the tallest peak in the most mountainous state in the lower 48, or just down for a good ol’ solid soak, Fish Lake is right on the money.Situated off US Highway 95 at least an hour west of Tonopah, Fish Lake is definitely far from civilization in all the right ways. And if you’re anything like us, that’s something to strive for when chasing a wild hot spring.

Unlike the others on this lineup who are all managed by BLM and are public land, Esmeralda County is responsible for making this utopia possible. It’s not far from Tonopah (which is the halfway marker from Reno to Vegas and lies opposite to Mammoth, on the opposite side of the White Mountains.) Here, a man-made well flows into a three-foot-deep concrete tub, which overflows into two natural marshy ponds.

This often-unexplored region of the Silver State is worth your time, and here’s why. Nevada has more ghost towns than actual populated towns, and some of the coolest remains are right in this exact area. Candelaria, Gold Point, Nivloc, Silver Peak, and Blair are all within earshot of FLV and completely worth swinging through. That, and you’re basically working with endless off-roading opportunities in these parts, so much in fact, that clubs use FLV as a rendezvous spot for major camp outs during the summer months.

Looking for a softer spot to land? No prob. Click here to get the lowdown on the hot spring resort experience in the Silver State.