Map of Natural Hot Springs in the U.S.
This interactive map shows the Locations, Names, and Temperatures of Hot Springs in the US. The color of each circle shows the average temperature of each hot spring. For more detail zoom in. For more data hover over the map. For more information scroll down.
|Average Spring Temperature (Fahrenheit)|
Thermal Springs Map
A spring is a location on the surface of the Earth, where groundwater discharges from an aquifer. Thermal springs can be divided into Warm Springs and Hot Springs.
There is no official definition of what is the temperature for "hot spring" or what is the temperature for "warm spring". One definition states that a Warm Spring has a temperature warmer, than the average annual air temperature of the location at discharge Groundwater Hydrology.
To be a Hot Spring, the water temperature has to be above 35°C - 40°C (95°F-104°F). This is not a random value, but what is considered body temperature.
So a hot spring has temperatures between 40°C and boiling point. Boiling point changes with altitude so this temperature depends on the location Hot Springs.
The water temperature of both hot and warm springs can change over time; reflecting some atmospheric influence. For example snow melt water infiltrating Granite Hot Springs, near Jackson Wyoming, will decrease the spring temperature.
Because the division between warm and hot spring is not precise, this map has a gradient of color showing their temperatures.
The data includes two temperatures, the highest and the lowest temperatures measured. To ease the visualization, the average temperature is the one depicted.
A common characteristic of hot springs is their presence close to volcanic areas with resent activity. This characteristic is also visible in the map above. Hot springs are concentrated in active and hilly areas.
Hot water that seeps from the ground and vents, comes in different forms: Hot Springs, Geysers, Fumaroles, Mud Pots and Paint Pots. Below is a description of each.
As mentioned before, many hot springs are found close to a fault or fracture near areas of volcanic activity. This suggests that these fault systems supply channels for the flow of warm water to feed springs. These channels provide the means for circulation of rain water to reach great depths.
At great depths the water will get in contact with rocks that have been heated with Magma. Once they have been heated they turn buoyant and return to the surface in the form of hot springs. Geothermal Springs.
There are hot springs that are not directly related to volcanic activity. In this situation the temperature increases due to depth. In such cases the temperature increase is known as Geothermal Gradient.
Cracks on the ground will allow the water to filter down and return warmer than the surface temperature.
Because temperature is related to depth, for every 1,000 feet of depth, groundwater is heated an additional 15°F. Source: World Atlas.
Geysers are a special kind of hot spring that spouts streams of water intermittently. Rain water in active volcanic areas infiltrate Earth's crust. Once it reaches deep hot underground rocks, it can be superheated and ejected through orifices.
Normally, Geysers require large amounts of water to fill underground cavities. Once it is heated, all of a sudden, water is ejected into a steam that expands suddenly. Next, the water is forced in a violent explosion out though a vent.
Geyser temperatures are close to boiling point. The content of silica is high but the content of other components is low, which means the water is in short contact with the rock. Their pH is usually neutral to alkaline. Geysers.
The term 'geyser' in English dates back to the late 18th century and comes from Geysir, which is a geyser in Iceland. It means "one who gushes".
Natural Geysers are rare. There are about 1,000 worldwide, and half of them are in Yellow Stone National Park. Some of them can be small bubbling pools, while others can reach a few hundred meters high. Source: USGS.
Geyser explosion cycles can be repeated regularly. A well-known example is Old Faithful Geyser which erupts every 65 min. hence the name.
The world's tallest active Geyser is Steamboat Geyser in Yellowstone, its eruptions reach an incredible 200feet (91m). Unfortunately this Geyser's eruptions are not regular like Old Faithful, they are more haphazard. Source: NPS.gov
Mud Pots and Paint Pots
When a hot spring mixes with clay or dirt before it reaches the surface it is called a mud pot. Mud pots can be acidic which will also help dissolve the rocks around it forming a viscous bubbling pool.
Paint pots are Mud Pots with bright colors from the minerals in the clay.
Fumaroles are openings or vents on Earth's crust that emit steam and volcanic gases.. Those gases may be hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide, and carbon dioxide.
Fumaroles occur in cracks, holes, or fissures near active volcanoes, where magma has surged to Earth's crust without erupting.
Because of their chemical composition fumaroles can be very dangerous. These chemicals can also color the surrounding rocks by reacting with them.
Fumaroles are more common in volcanoes at their end stages, as the magma underground solidifies and cools off. Source: NPS.gov
Life in Thermal Springs
Life is possible in a Hot or Thermal Spring. Right at the vent or upwelling section only microorganisms may thrive. As the distance from the vent and the temperatures decrease (>40°C), it is possible for invertebrates and eventually fish to survive.
Geothermal springs are not only deadly environments because their water reaches boiling temperatures, but because their waters usually have high concentrations of sulfur.
There are microorganisms called thermophiles that thrive in hot springs. These microorganisms even survive temperatures above 100°C (212°F).
Thermophiles produce compounds that allow them to survive in these conditions. These compounds are currently being studied for commercial uses such as enzymes, sugars, and antibiotics.
There is a special kind of biome that grows in one of America's most renowned parks: Yellowstone! As mentioned before the type of organism changes as the temperature decreases away from the vent. This is most evident in Grand Prismatic Spring, where different types of thermophilic bacteria thrive, giving it different hues of color as the water progressively gets cooler away from the central vent ScienceDirect.
Hot Spring Chemistry and Therapeutic Uses
Since antiquity hot springs have been used for therapeutic purposes. Their medicinal purposes has also been exploited by animals who have been observed curing feet, healing wounds, or maintaining body temperature. Medical Hydrology is today a modern branch of medicine.
Because heated water can hold more dissolved solids than cold water, warm and especially hot springs, may have very high mineral content.
Balneology or Balneotherapy is the "treatment of disease by bathing" and is usually done in waters containing minerals. These minerals sometimes give an odor to the water and the hot springs.
The different components found in geothermal waters are used to classify them in: chlorinated, sulphureous, sulphated, ferruginous, and bicarbonate waters. They may also be of mixed composition and balanced with sodium, calcium or magnesium. These compounds are the ones that are attributed their therapeutic benefits. Source: Therapeutic properties of springs.
Some of the therapeutic properties found in hot springs include:
- Detoxify the body through sweat
- Thermoregulatory system restauration
- Analgesic and pain reliever
- Sedation of the Nervous system through relaxation
- Reconstitution and toning of muscles
- Renal insufficiency therapy
- Reactivation of metabolic and endocrine activity
- Sulfur waters may decrease blood pressure
- Improve skin conditions
- Decrease anxiety and chronic stress
To its best use, Balneotherapy should always be done under specialist, or medical prescription, especially during pregnancy, illness, or old age.
Best Hot Springs per State
The best thing about Hot Springs is that most of them don't have an off season. You can always visit them because their temperatures are almost constant. Making even freezing environments, attractive and relaxing in the winter time.
Visitors flock to these sites for the therapeutic uses mentioned above, but also for the incredible sites that surround them.
Wondering which Hot Spring you want to visit First? Not all states have springs, but those that do have plenty to choose from. Even with the map it might be hard to decide where to go. If you are looking for the best ones, here is a summary by state.
Alaska's Chena Hot Springs
A definite A+ and a personal favorite is Chena Hot Springs Resort, close to Fairbanks Alaska. Once you arrive to Fairbanks, going to Chena Hot springs may take about an hour 20min.
The best time to visit this resort is in winter. You will have the opportunity of feeling the freezing weather of Alaska and the hot waters of the springs. From the large pools it is possible to see the natura beauty of the surrounding hills.
This hot springs are not just special because you might bathe outdoors, in a warm pool, surrounded by snow, but because you might find yourself looking at the northern lights in this spectacular location.
At night, the steam might make you believe you are seeing things in the sky, but fortunately the resort will confirm, with speakers, if the aurora borealis is on display.
The resort also has sled dogs you can use, or visit year round, plus an ice bar! The springs provide geothermal electricity for the property and warmth for their own hydroponics garden.
Arizona's Castle Hot Springs
North of Phoenix, this hot spring has been developed into a luxurious retreat, but it still has natural pools nestled in mountains and canyons where you can soak in their warm waters.
The stay gives you access to a large property of 1,100 acres, ideal for riding, and hiking. The property also has pickle ball courts, yoga, boating, and climbing. All possible thanks to its location in the Sonoran Desert.
To encourage relaxation in a natural setting, there is the option of staying in cottages, and harvest the fruits and vegetables from the properties orchard.
Arkansas Hot Springs National Park
Southwest of Little Rock, this Spring was developed into a bath house in 1912. Today there are two spas where visitors can find relaxation and hydrotherapy.
Inside the park it is still possible to see hot springs in natural surroundings under the trees. You cannot bath in them but you can still approach the pools and feel their hot water.
California's Hot Springs
Natural and wild hot springs vs spa with everything included? It was hard to make a decision on only one location, so here is a list with the most attractive Hot Springs in California.
- Travertine Hot Springs: East of Sacramento and close to the Nevada State Line is this Natural Beauty. Small natural pools in travertine sedimentary rock. This is an outdoor FREE entrance hot spring. So take a towel and enjoy this natural wonder!
- Calistoga: located in Napa Valley, this area has a plethora of hot springs. There are more than 10 resorts and spas to choose from in this unique location. Because of its surroundings it is possible to combine wine tasting and therapeutic bathing.
- Wild Willy's Hot Spring: Northeast of Fresno in Mammoth Lakes region, this hot spring is outdoors and FREE. The spring has human made pools. The location is remote and the pools are shared with other visitors, but it gives you the option to choose between different temperature pools.
- Vichy Hot Springs: Located in Mendocino County. Vichy springs magnet for tourists, are its tubs with naturally carbonated waters, exceptionally high in mineral content.
Colorado Hot Springs
As shown in the map, there are multiple options in Colorado. Here is just a small sample of hot springs to visit.
- Glenwood Springs Colorado: West of Denver, is this historic resort. It is one of the world's largest spring pools in the world. It has slides and even a kiddy pool.
- Ouray Hot Springs: Surrounded by incredible sights of 13,000 foot peaks, this hot springs has slides and is open year round.
- Springs Resort and Spa in Pagosa Springs: is home to the world's deepest geothermal hot spring. The resort offers a variety of springs ranging from 66°F to 110°F.
- Strawberry Park Hot Springs: This park has a blend of natural beauty and stone pools. There is hiking, biking, and snowshoeing trails, conveniently close to Routt National Forest.
- Iron Mountain Hot Springs: This site is at the banks of the Colorado River. There are 16 pools with incredible views of Mt. Sopris.
- Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort: This resort in the Rocky mountains has multiple pools and a historic bath house.
Because of its unique geological location Idaho offers countless geothermal pools. Many are easy to access, others need a hike to be reached. Here are a couple of them. Source: VisitIdaho.org
- Boat Box Hot Springs: This spring flows into what appears to be an old mining cauldron. You can cool the pool a bit with water from the river!
- Frenchman’s Bend Hot Springs: A hot spring snuggled up against some large boulders along the gravel road.
- Kirkham Hot Springs: A well known spot, it’s famous for the numerous pools of varying temperatures. There is a warm water fall over the cliffside into a pool below that feels like a hot shower.
- Burgdorf Hot Springs: You can rent a wood cabin in this site but what makes it special is that is disconnected from modern world facilities.
Montana's Yellowstone Hot Springs in Gardiner
Yellowstone has at least 17 hot springs spread through Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. This is one of those springs!
This hot spring offers 400 square feet of pools surrounded by mountains and wildlife.
Mineral-rich pool waters with constant flow-through circulation to replenish its mineral waters.
Nevada's Spencer Hot Springs
Nevada has plenty of Hot Springs to choose from. Some of the best are accessible on a four wheel drive or a long hike. Spencer Hot springs is beautiful and accessible.
This is basically a hole on the ground in the vast Nevada desert. In the middle of the state and with the Toiyabe Range as a back drop, this spring consist of a steamy metal tub and an in-ground spring.
You will definitely like the views and want to camp on site. There is a nearby historical town called Austin, with cafes, shops, and hotels where you can spend an extra night.
New Mexico's Riverbend Hot Springs
South of Albuquerque, this spring is odorless and pumped from underground to the pools. There are private and public pools with different temperatures.
Thanks to its location, the pools have breathtaking views of the Rio Grande's riverside.
Oregon's Umpqua Hot Spring
Located in Umpqua National Forest this beautiful spring is popular throughout the year.
It has 3 cascading pools with decreasing temperature as you descend to the river.
Utah's Diamond Fork Hot Springs or Fifth Water
This spring has several hot pools with vibrant blue water cascading down a mountain. The waterfalls that form from it are just beautiful!
Reaching this Spring require a bit of a hike but you will not regret it!
Washington's Sol Duc Hot Springs
Located in Olympic National Park is easy to access and perfect for the whole family.
The hot springs are just a small part of the amenities offered by the park.
The site features three different mineral hot spring soaking pools and one freshwater pool.
The park also offers hiking trails, a resort, and a campground.
Wyoming's Hot Springs State Park, Thermopolis
This spring flows over colorful terraces, as it cools down, the minerals form beautiful travertine walls.
The park has a free bath house where the water is maintained at 104 degrees.
The park has 6.2 miles of hiking trails. It also has fishing, and a Bison herd!
Wyoming's Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces
This spring is also located in Yellowstone National Park. It is a must-see feature of Yellowstone National Park in part because its surrealistic look.
The springs have travertine formations due to the soft limestone that is dissolved and solidified as terraces.
Mammoth Hot Springs has two terrace boardwalks, an upper one and a lower one. Approximately 50 hot springs lie within the area. Source: Yellowstone.com
Hot Springs Map Resources
This map displays the location of Hot Springs in the United States, their names, and temperatures.
The Thermal Springs data is from NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), and contains 1661 hot springs for the United States. The content was originally published in 1980, and has not been updated since. Compiled by George W. Berry, Paul J. Grimm, and Joy A. Ikelman. Shapefiles downloaded from Koordinates.
The shapefiles for the states were downloaded from Natural Earth.
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