ruby valley smith ranch hot springs nevada

Get Stoked to Soak at These 10 Hot Springs Pairings

Some things are just better in pairs: milk and cookies, rock ‘n’ roll, Batman and Robin. Our favorite combo? A picturesque hot spring soak and an awesome only-in-Nevada experience.

The Silver State is home to hundreds of hot springs—most are natural, while others anchor resort-like getaways. No matter your preference, we have tried-and-true recommendations for what to pair with your next steamy dip. Let us introduce you to some of our most beloved soak-tastic adventures.

Know Before You Go

Those hundreds of hot springs we mentioned? The only ones you’ll ever hear us talk about are located on public land or at private resorts—ones that have been long loved by travelers and promoted by locals. Before you venture out to any hot springs, get acquainted with our Hot Spring Etiquette Guide, full of safety tips and advice that’ll help protect these wondrous natural resources for us and future generations.

1. Carson City Triathlon

Adventure Level: Easy
Closest Civilization: Carson City
Road Trip Route: Lake Tahoe Loop

Surprise! This first pairing is actually a trio of stops known regionally as the Carson City Triathlon. Three businesses—Carson Hot Springs, Sassafras Eclectic Food Joint, and Shoe Tree Brewing Company—are next-door neighbors in the same parking lot, and you can visit them in any order you prefer to complete this adventure trifecta.

The natural mineral water at Carson Hot Springs comes from 35,000 feet below Earth’s surface. Four outdoor pools and hot tubs vary in temperature from 98-104 degrees Fahrenheit all year long, and they get drained and refilled every day. For some extra muscle massaging, let a concentrated stream of hot water from “The Hammer” work its magic. If you prefer a private soak, Carson Hot Springs has nine individual pools that are perfect for one, two, or groups up to four or five people. 

Once you’re hungry, pop over to Sassafras and dig into one of the most diverse menus in Carson City (and possibly all of Nevada). Specials are always enticing, but staples like the peanut butter and bacon burger,  black and blue shrimp fondue, and the superfraggacheesalicious loaf will tempt you, too. Wash it all down with an award-winning beer at Shoe Tree, which brews everything from tasty staples (like IPAs and ambers) to experimental sours and stouts with flavors like s’mores and key lime pie. Non-alcoholic root beer and lemonade are equally enjoyable.

2. Gold Strike Hot Springs + Chilly Jilly’z 

Adventure Level: Moderate to Advanced
Closest Civilization: Boulder City
Road Trip Route: Neon to Nature

The hike to Gold Strike Hot Springs isn’t for everyone, but the payoff is incredibly rewarding. You’ll descend 600 feet into a gorgeous canyon while scrambling over boulders and using fixed rope climbs to reach the Colorado River. Once you get to your ultimate destination, the hot spring oasis delivers wildlife spotting, stunning views, and a whole lotta relaxation. Plan accordingly, though, as the trail can take upwards of 3-4 hours in each direction (don’t forget you have to climb back out) and closes during the summer due to extreme temperatures.

After your hike, treat yourself to a Dole Whip delight at Chilly Jilly’z in nearby Boulder City. The famed theme park soft-serve gets dished up as a float, freeze, or sundae in addition to classic shakes, malts, and smoothies. Appetites can also be sated with sandwiches, salads, and Broaster chicken.

Travel Nevada Pro Tip

Hoover Dam is less than 10 minutes from the Gold Strike Hot Springs trailhead, and this modern marvel definitely adds to an already awe-inspiring adventure.

3. Spencer Hot Springs + Lucky Spur Saloon 

Adventure Level: Easy
Closest Civilization: Kingston or Austin
Road Trip Route: Loneliest Road in America

There’s a reason Spencer Hot Springs is one of the most popular soaks in the Silver State. This cluster of pools—one natural and two man-made from metal cattle troughs (also known as cowboy tubs)—is on public land managed by Nevada’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and hot spring stewards have made small but mighty improvements to the area throughout the years. Pipes deliver the natural spring-fed hot water into the tubs, allowing you to control the temperature by moving the water source in and out. You’ll be surrounded by sweeping Big Smoky Valley vistas any time you visit, but watching the sun set over the towering Toiyabe Range really puts the icing on the cake.

Complement your Loneliest Road in America pit stop with a trip to Kingston’s Lucky Spur Saloon. Men’s Health once honored this Sagebrush Saloon as “Best Bar in the Middle of Nowhere,” and you’ll find it a short drive southwest of Spencer Hot Springs. After your steamy soak, chill out with a cold beer or Bloody Mary and make friends with some of the 60-ish locals who call Kingston home.

4. Soldier Meadows Hot Springs + Bruno’s Country Club

Adventure Level: Advanced
Closest Civilization: Gerlach
Road Trip Route: Burner Byway

Venturing this far north into the Black Rock Desert is an accomplishment for off-grid adventurers today. It was even more of one for the wagon-weary westward pioneers following the Applegate-Lassen Trail—a spur of the California Trail that ran through Nevada, Idaho, Oregon, and California—back in the 1840s and 1850s. Luckily, the same reward still awaits: a hot creek flowing through the surprisingly lush Soldier Meadows. Terraced, rock-dammed soaking pools continue to offer travelers glorious respite near a semi-primitive campground and first-come, first-served cabin, both managed by the BLM.

Getting to Soldier Meadows will take you to and through one of the most remote slices of the Silver State, and it’s vital to check on terrain and weather conditions before leaving the pavement and driving on the Black Rock playa. On your way out, stop in Gerlach and get the lay of the land from Friends of Black Rock High Rock. While in town, fuel up with some of the best homemade raviolis you’ll ever have at Bruno’s Country Club. Hearty breakfasts, lunch favorites, and a full bar round out the menu.

Travel Nevada Pro Tip

Always travel safely and responsibly, especially on Nevada’s vast and varied swaths of public land. Brush up on our Dirt Road Code to make sure you’re properly prepared for backcountry explorations.

5. Steamboat Hot Springs Healing Center & Spa + Virginia City

Adventure Level: Easy
Closest Civilization: Reno or Virginia City
Road Trip Route: Lake Tahoe Loop

Steamboat Hot Springs opened in 1857 as Nevada’s first hot spring resort. The “Steamboat” name came from Mark Twain, who soaked in these mineral-rich waters himself and likened the geothermal rumbling of the natural hot springs to the sound of a river paddleboat. You can partake in the same experience that American Indians, pioneers, miners, and travelers have been enjoying for centuries at what is now Steamboat Hot Springs Healing Center & Spa. In addition to outdoor tubs and private mineral baths, soakers can indulge with massage and wellness treatments that include reflexology, chakra alignment, and vibrational therapy.

Follow further in Twain’s footsteps just 15 miles up the hill in the legendary Comstock Lode mining town of Virginia City. The entire community is a National Historic Landmark, and it’s also where Samuel Clemens adopted his famous nom de plume. Stroll boardwalk-lined streets past numerous saloons, museums, and shops as you continue your day of fascinating Nevada history.

P.S.: Virginia City hosts some of the most unique events in the entire state, ranging from the Rocky Mountain Oyster Fry to International Camel & Ostrich Races and World Championship Outhouse Races.

6. Fish Lake Valley Hot Springs + Gold Point Ghost Town 

Adventure Level: Easy
Closest Civilization: Tonopah or Dyer
Road Trip Route: Free-Range Art Highway

Next time you find yourself cruising the Free-Range Art Highway, deviate off US-95 and reroute to Fish Lake Valley Hot Springs. Also known as Fish Lake Valley Hot Well, this county-managed site feels like you’re taking a dip in a wild outdoor pool thanks to the below-ground concrete tub that serves as the hot spring basin. Water also flows into surrounding marshy ponds that host an abundance of wildlife. Depending on the weather and season, the water temperature hovers around 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Your Fish Lake Valley soak comes with spectacular views of 13,147-foot Boundary Peak, the tallest mountain in Nevada.

Depending on your route, the living ghost town of Gold Point makes for a must-see detour on your way to or from Fish Lake Valley. A trio of men were passionate about preserving this former silver boomtown, and modern-day visitors can get a sense of what the original main street looked like. Book a stay at the Gold Point Ghost Town Bed & Breakfast to sleep in an original miner cabin and shoot pool on an original 1909 Brunswick table housed inside the town’s saloon.

7. Wayne E. Kirch Wildlife Management Area + Nevada Northern Railway

Adventure Level: Easy
Closest Civilization: Lund or Ely
Road Trip Route: Loneliest Road in America or Great Basin Highway

Outdoor recreation abounds at Wayne E. Kirch Wildlife Management Area—everything from fishing and camping to birding and big-game spotting. Within the lush and diverse landscapes here, you’ll discover natural hot springs with water clarity that rivals Lake Tahoe. This soak spot might be more of a warm spring than a hot spring, but the serenity of the White River Valley makes it easy to while away an afternoon here. Make sure you do your part to keep these springs pristine, as all natural water sources are vital lifelines for the many creatures who call this area home.

Dip by day, then head north to Ely for a “Sunset, Stars, and Champagne” train ride at Nevada Northern Railway. The bright blue skies that accompanied your hot springs soak will give way to a vibrant sunset before an endless sea of twinkling stars comes out to dazzle. This specialty train runs mid-May through mid-October.

8. Black Rock Hot Springs + Fly Geyser

Adventure Level: Advanced
Closest Civilization: Gerlach
Road Trip Route: Burner Byway

Like Soldier Meadows Hot Springs, Black Rock Hot Springs is found in the ruggedly remote Black Rock Desert. Getting here requires a reliable vehicle and solid navigational skills, as you’ll be driving across the roadless playa without directional signage. You’ll also only want to travel on the playa when it’s bone dry, as any moisture turns the ancient lake bed into quicksand-like conditions that’ll trap your transportation. Once you arrive, a large pool of natural hot spring water surrounded by wetlands will welcome you. Camp overnight and soak under some of the starriest skies you’ll ever experience thanks to the light-pollution-free conditions on the Black Rock.

Pair those heavenly sky views with more wondrous sights on the ground. Fly Geyser is a kaleidoscopic geothermal feature that appears otherworldly, spraying near-boiling water into surrounding (and equally colorful) shallow pools. The geyser is on private property owned by Burning Man, but Friends of Black Rock High Rock offers seasonal, guided nature walks that’ll give you an opportunity to marvel at the dynamic landscape and snap pictures.

9. Ruby Valley Hot Springs + Jiggs Bar

Adventure Level: Advanced
Closest Civilization: Jiggs or Elko
Road Trip Route: Cowboy Corridor

This hot spring is a real gem! Ruby Valley Hot Springs (also known as Smith Ranch Hot Springs) will take some extra effort to get there, but a soak in these aquamarine waters will be well worth it. Go about 60 miles south of Elko and break out the four-wheel drive to traverse some rough dirt roads that lead to multiple pools, the largest of which is roughly 30 feet wide. While the water averages around 100 degrees Fahrenheit, make sure you check the temperatures before you hop it—some surrounding pools can be scalding hot.

Raise a glass to your off-grid adventure at Jiggs Bar, which will be on your way to or from Ruby Valley. The residents of this tiny town are often happy to chat with travelers and share some history and insight about the area. The bar also features some oddball taxidermy that’ll only add to your only-in-Nevada stories.

Travel Nevada Pro Tip

In rural Nevada, business operating hours can sometimes be more of a suggestion. It’s always a good idea to call before you visit and make sure the doors will be open!

10. David Walley’s Resort + Genoa

Adventure Level: Easy
Closest Civilization: Genoa
Road Trip Route: Lake Tahoe Loop

Nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, David Walley’s Resort has been a getaway for more than 160 years. Like Steamboat Hot Springs, these historic mineral waters were also highly regarded by Mark Twain, who wrote, “I now leave without crutch or cane, entirely well, not only relieved from pain but gained in spirit.” A heated outdoor pool and five geothermically heated hot spring tubs (with temps ranging from 98-104 degrees Fahrenheit) are exclusively available to resort guests, and one of the tubs is specially designated for families with kids under 18 years old. Additional resort amenities include an on-site restaurant and saloon, pool and ping pong tables, and special activities like birdwatching and outdoor movies.

Go beyond David Walley’s and explore Genoa, the oldest permanent settlement in the Silver State. Have a drink at Genoa Bar & Saloon, billed as “Nevada’s oldest thirst parlor,” and grab a delicious bite at The Pink House. Time your visit just right to attend the Genoa Candy Dance, which began as a homemade candy fundraiser to purchase streetlights.

There’s more where that came from. Discover all your outdoor recreation opportunities across the Silver State.