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Home: Education: Guide to Roadside Hot Springs
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Guide to Roadside Hot Springs

Adventurous Spirit Beginners Guide by Suniechick

Slipping into the hot water, feeling it envelope your soul and relax every essence of your being while washing away the every day stress of life. This is what it feels like to soak in a hot spring. To me, there is nothing better than soaking up the earth around you, overwhelming your senses with nature’s glory.

Before you can indulge in the serenity, and to be able to enjoy soaking to its fullest, you must be prepared. First decide on what type of hot spring you’d like to venture to. Are you planning on just stopping road side, backpacking in for one to several days or some where in between those trips? Despite which time line or hot spring suits your fancy there are still some basics that you should know and bring with you to be prepared.

Items to Bring

First off, know where you’re going, how to get there, and be sure to let someone know where you are headed to. Safety first.

Towel: very important especially in the winter months.

Swim suit for road side soaks. You’ll want to check for etiquette on springs that are further than the beaten path. Remember that clothing can be optional particularly in back country hot springs, so be prepared to see others au natural. If you don’t feel comfortable with that situation you can always quietly make your presence known and wait the other soakers out.

A note about your suits, do not wash them in detergent. Detergents will release into the springs and can cause foreign algae and mosses to grow which can threaten the native ecosystem. This also goes for soaps and shampoos, even those labeled “biosoap”. There are many natural alternatives that can be used. Better yet, just rinse your suit out when you get home and hang it up to dry. Fabric softener is considered a detergent that can go into the water be it springs, rivers, lakes, or any other body of water.

Water and plenty of it. Your body can become dehydrated while soaking, especially while enjoying the hotter soaks. Also, it is not a good idea to mix alcohol with hot springs. The heat from the spring raises your body temperature and can cause ill effects.

Good shoes are a necessity when hiking. Your feet have to last your whole life and the better you take care of them the better they’ll take care of you.

Snacks are a great idea. I always seem to be ravenous after soaking. Try something with a good mix of carbs and protein to help stave off that too tired to drive feeling after becoming incredibly relaxed. If need be, take a nap. (There’s that safety thing again.)

Garbage bags are a definite item to bring.

  1. To pick up trash so all can continue to enjoy the area. If everyone leaves the place of beauty in better shape than when they arrived there will be less to continually pick up. This also means to leave the plants, trees and animals where you found them.

  2. They double as a protector for your clothes and other items incase it rains/snows. At many springs the ground around them is wet, so the bags help keep everything nice and dry.

  3. Garbage bags also double as a floor mat to stand upon while changing, keeping your feet clean and dry.

First Aid Kit: fairly self explanatory, it’s just a good idea.
Back pack to carry everything in. Keep one loaded with your towels, suits and garbage bags for those spur of the moment trips.

Camera: captures nature’s beauty. Mine is attached to my hip at all times.
Last but not least….

A Good Attitude! Remember that you are not the only ones out there to enjoy these wondrous springs. We need to do all we can to preserve nature and all of its splendor.

Of course, this list is just the basic beginning. If you wish to go beyond a road side soak you need to take into consideration where you’ll be going, for how long, and all of the items that may potentially need to be brought.

Check List

Backpack loaded with:

  • Garbage Bags

  • Swim Suit

  • Water

  • Snacks

  • Towel

  • Camera

  • Hiking shoes

  • Spirit for Adventure

  • First Aid Kit

Thirsty for more? Check out the Backcountry Guide

Guide to Roadside Hot Springs Credits
Author/Contributor: Suniechick


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No Soap, Shampoo or BIO-Soap/Shampoo Allowed in Hot Springs! Avoid Being Fined!

Public hot springs are not bathing facilities and do not have 'plumbing' like that of commercial, improved hot springs. Soap and shampoo (including biodegradable soap and shampoo) do not completely breakdown naturally. This pollutes our water systems (ingested by fish, animals, humans) at or near the source. This is also illegal in most wilderness and public lands areas.

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