While our really unbearable temperatures are a bit slower to arrive this year, it's still officially "damn cold" outside. We're all a bit more eager to be outdoors these days (what, with last year's indoor demands and all), and the emotional benefits of "getting out" are nigh-on innnumerable. Our good state has plenty to offer in the way of warm, natural waters (many of which are still a secret, and we hope it stays that way), and nothing quite hits on a chilly day like a well-chosen hot spring. We are in the midst of a pandemic, of course...you have to choose your visit times wisely (planning to go on a Saturday? So's COVID). We always advise a very safe distance between other spring-goers and yourself (and a mask if necessary), but if you can responsibly soak in a little warmth and a little friendship in the proverbial great outdoors, then let's get soaking wet!
MEADOW HOT SPRINGS
If a couple hours on the road followed by a dip in the most natural of settings sounds like a good time, consider Meadow Hot Springs. Just a few miles off I-15, the springs are located on private property, and while the owner allows free dips at all times, it's donation-based and imperative that visitors adopt a "leave no trace" mentality (full disclosure: we can make no guarantees on the availability of these springs during a pandemic). Comprised of three pools, the temps here range from ~80º to just over 100º, and with depths up to 25 feet or more and crystal-clear waters, you might want to bring your snorkel.
One of our state's many impressive natural phenomena, the crater is officially the only destination in the continental US for warm scuba diving. Formed over many thousands of years and tucked inside the 50+ foot walls of a volcano-shaped limestone deposit, Utah's only geothermal springs hovers around 95º year round. Reservations are required for all forms of a soak (and you can read our story here about paddleboard yoga classes), so be sure to call ahead. Reservation info here.
maple grove hot springs
Newly revamped, Maple Grove Hot Springs in Preston, Idaho (our story here) is set up specifically to ensure that its natural lithium pools can be enjoyed with a degree of peace and privacy sure to put even the most overworked at ease. In total, their 45 acres include 4 soaking pools for guests, three of which offer temperatures between 100º and 107º. Reservations are required for a soak (or a stay in the yurts, cabins, or tents), so be sure to call ahead. Given that it’s only a two-and-a-half hour jaunt from SLC to these generously refreshed springs, we think it's the perfect place to quite literally soak it all in. Click here for reservations.
MYSTIC HOT SPRINGS
Roughly 175 miles south of Salt Lake, Mystic Hot Springs is the ideal spot for a soak and a veritable Bohemian paradise (read our story here). You won't find any high-end amenities, but you will find mineral deposits that have all but full enveloped the six vintage, claw-foot soaking tubs and unpolluted views of meteor showers from a 100º, mineral-enriched bath (but no sulfur here). For those who wish to stay overnight, Mystic offers a few rustic cabin options, a handful of defunct school-buses-turned-sleepers, and spots for RV and tent camping. Click here for reservations.
LAVA HOT SPRINGS
Located in Idaho just two hours north of SLC, Lava Hot Springs is a small town with all the expected charms and idiosyncracies. Visitors to Lava have plenty of options to soak, dip, or dunk: you can float the Portneuf River and head to the outdoor swimming complex in the warmer months, or you can set you rcoordinates for the hot mineral pools and never look back. The faciities are clean, and the temperatures range from 102º to 112º, so there's a comforttable spot for everyone. A handful of shops, hotels, and restaurants dot Main Street too, so leave some time to walk around and explore a bit. More information here.