The hot springs near the Gila National Forest are incredible natural sanctuaries. Did you know that the Apache warriors were among the first to discover their natural healing powers? Now, it’s time for you to discover them, too! The healing properties of hot springs are essential for adventurous travelers and visitors at our guest ranch, especially after a few days of horseback riding! Nothing soothes your muscles quite like a refreshing soak, so if you are joining us on a Gila adventure, remember our Riverbend Hot Springs Resort special. This offer is available to all guests of Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch.
5 Blissful Hot Springs Near the Gila National Forest
Naturally Fed Hot Spring Pools with Amenities
1. Riverbend Hot Springs Resort | Truth or Consequences
Riverbend Hot Springs Resort is in the heart of the Historic Bath District of Truth or Consequences. It sits upon the Rio Grande approximately two hours from our guest ranch.
The healing waters here are powered by an underground volcanic lake, which keeps temperatures between 98 and 115 degrees Fahrenheit. A laboratory analysis of their water traces 38 different minerals! And, because the waters’ pH is about 7, or neutral, there is no odor to the water. Many of our guests enjoy spending a week at Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch and then winding down with a day or two soaking. Because of its popularity at our ranch, Riverbend offers all our guests a 10% discount on overnight lodging. Gourmet coffee and tea bar and a variety of special amenities are included with your stay at the resort.
2. Wildwood Retreat & Hot Springs | Gila
Like our guest ranch, Wildwood Retreat & Hot Springs is in the heart of the Gila National Forest. Their retreat offers cabin rentals and campgrounds that sit on the Gila River beneath the shade of ponderosa pines and cottonwood trees. Here, the pools are fed by natural hot spring water, and many of these pools are within walking distance of the lodging area. Amenities like showers, toilets, and a full kitchen are available for guests. Wildwood Retreat & Hot Springs is about an hour and 20 minutes from Silver City.
Naturally Occurring Hot Springs in the Gila
3. Jordan Hot Springs
Jordan Hot Springs is a hidden treasure in the Gila. To make your way to the springs, a difficult hike is required. There are about five different trails that you can take to reach the springs, but we recommend taking Trail #5, Little Bear Canyon to Jordan Springs. We chose this particular route because the trailhead, TJ Corral, is only about one mile from the Gila Cliff Dwellings parking lot. Since you’re in the area, it only makes sense to enhance your experience with a trip to the cliff dwellings, as well.
The roundtrip to and from Jordan Hot Springs is about 13 miles. The trail begins with one hour of up-hill hiking followed by one hour of down-hill hiking into Little Bear Canyon. Soon after, the canyon intersects with Middlefork of the Gila River. Moving forward, expect about 15 river crossings. Thereafter, follow the Gila River upstream for just under three miles. You may feel the water gradually warming, like a pat on the back for a job well done. After a short uphill hike, Jordan Hot Springs is there to greet you.
4. Middlefork (Lightfeather) Hot Springs
Middlefork Hot Springs, also known as Lightfeather Hot Springs, is one of the Gila’s most popular places to visit. The hike isn’t easy, but it is much less strenuous than Little Bear Canyon to Jordan Springs.
Park at the Middlefork Trailhead just past the end of the Visitor’s Center parking lot. From there, take Trail #6, Middlefork to Lightfeather. The hot spring is right around the middle fork of the Gila River, and the hike is about three quarters of a mile. You can expect an uphill journey to the canyon with about two river crossings.
5. Turkey Creek Hot Springs
Of all the natural hot springs on our list, Turkey Creek Hot Springs is the most strenuous and off-the-beaten path. This trail is not suited for the casual hiker. If you decided to venture to this hot spring, keep in mind that the trip can easily take half a day. It is also critical to note that the Turkey Creek pools are within some of the most rugged terrain in the Gila Wilderness, so the trails aren’t always passable. If you decide to take the journey to Turkey Creek Hot Springs, strategic planning for the time and seasons is a must. Daylight hours, river runoff, and flooding are a few natural factors to consider.
In addition, four-wheel drive is strongly recommended. The dirt road that leads to the trailhead is filled with challenging terrain and multiple river crossings. Thereafter, expect a difficult hike. The trail head is about one hour from Silver City. However, should you make this trek, you’ll discover a variety of pools all ranging in size and temperature. All travelers should contact the Gila National Forest District Ranger Station for more detailed information on trail conditions and directions.
Spring-Fed Creeks at our New Mexico Guest Ranch
When guests arrive at the ranch, they are often surprised to discover the spring-fed creeks we ride along! The water is always warm (not hot) and comfortable, so you can enjoy them anytime that you visit. Our guest ranch is open from March through mid-November, and the water is always comfortable at about 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Before Visiting Naturally Occurring Hot Springs
Before your hot springs excursion, we want you to be sure that “eau naturelle” hot springs are the best fit for you. Please keep the following in mind:
- Use caution at all times. Hot spring waters can sometimes become hot enough to burn the skin. Always consult the Gila National Forest District Ranger Station before your trip to ensure you have taken all necessary precautions and safety measurements. Rangers are your No. 1 source for preparedness.
- You must take on a moderately challenging to strenuous hike to reach each of these hot springs. River crossings are also required.
- The closest camping for Jordan Springs and Lightfeather Springs is the Lower Scorpion and Upper Scorpion campgrounds. Their convenient location is between the Visitor’s Center and Cliff Dwellings Monument. Both campgrounds are free to use and available on a first come, first-served basis. Amenities are not included, so come fully prepared with self reliance.
- Nudity isn’t uncommon when swimming in the springs. Be aware that you may not be swimming in the springs alone.
- Reaching the hot springs is highly dependent on the weather. Always check trail conditions before before you hit the road. For example, rain has a direct impact on the Gila River's water level and may make certain routes impassable.
- The Lower & Upper Scorpion campgrounds are approximately four hours from our ranch, but the drive is absolutely beautiful. Because of the remote location, remember to pack a physical trail and campground map. You can receive a free copy via the USDA website. A larger and durable water-resistant map is also available for $14.
Stay Near It All at Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch
When it comes to exploring the Gila’s mountains, canyons, creeks, there isn’t a better place to stay than Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch. Unlimited horseback riding, three home-style meals a day, and comforting amenities are always included with your stay! Other special features of our ranch include wildlife viewing, cliff dwelling excursions, Native American history, and more.