Let Off a Little Steam: Our Favorite Hot Springs Near National Parks

The perfect way to start or end an epic day? In a pool of naturally hot water, gazing at a gorgeous view. You should always leave a day in your itinerary to hunt for hot springs near your favorite park—so, we catalogued the details. Follow this guide to #HotSpringBetter:

Near Yosemite National Park

The closest hot springs to Yosemite National Park live in Mammoth Lakes, CA, on the east side of the Tioga Pass. They’re easy to access from Benton Crossing Road, just off Highway 395, if you know where to look. An iconic green church marks the Benton Crossing turnout.

1. Crab Cooker 

Crab Cooker is on Benton Crossing Road. When you pass the third cattle gate, take a left on the next dirt road.

Capacity: Seats 5-8 people

Crowds: Busiest at dusk

Getting there: .2 mile walk from parking

Reservations: Not required and fee-free

2. The Rock Tub

Whitmore or the Rock Tub is on Benton Crossing Road. When you pass the second cattle gate, you’ll descend a small hill. At the bottom, take a left on the next dirt road. 

Capacity: Seats 4-6 people

Crowds: Busiest at dusk

Getting there: 100 ft from parking

Reservations: Not required and fee-free

3. Wild Willy’s

Wild Willy’s is on Benton Crossing Road. When you pass the second cattle gate, immediately after, turn right on a dirt road.

Capacity: Multiple pools

Crowds: Busiest at dusk

Getting there: .25 mile walk on boardwalk

Reservations: Not required and fee-free

Near Grand Canyon National Park

Hot springs are hidden gems in the southern desert of Arizona. Most are tucked away on off-road trails or in acres of dunes. If you’re up for some deep-desert exploration, an uncrowded hot spring could be your reward.

1. Sheep Bridge

When you arrive at Sheep Bridge Crossing on the Verde River, follow the visible trail off the road on the western side. Walk into the phragmite tunnel and it will lead you straight to the springs. 

Capacity: Seats 10 people

Crowds: Unlikely

Getting there: 16mi of off-road driving

Reservations: Not required and fee-free

Near Yellowstone National Park

In the land of geysers, you’re bound to find an ideal place to let off a little steam. Discover the magic of Montana beyond the boundaries of Yellowstone. An evening excursion to hot pools you can actually touch creates the perfect balance of adventure.

1. Upper Potosi

From Potosi Campground, look for an unmarked dirt path leading through a lush green field. Look for a log rail fence—that’s the hot spring pool!

Capacity: Seats 3-6 people

Crowds: Busiest after dark

Getting there: .8 mi walk from parking

Reservations: Not required and fee-free

2. Renova

From Point of Rocks Rd, take a left and travel north 3.5 miles. Look for Potosi Creek Campground on your left—when you see it, the spring is about 200 yards ahead. 

Capacity: Seats 5-8 people

Crowds: Busiest after dark

Getting there: Short walk from parking

Reservations: Not required and fee-free

Near Olympic National Park

The Pacific Northwest is known for water in all its forms, but did you know that includes hot springs? Within Olympic National Park, an entire trail is dedicated to the many hot springs found along it—and the park is just the start.

1. Olympic Hot Springs Trail

Olympic Hot Springs Trail features many hidden soaking spots. Once you cross the bridge over Boulder Creek, you’ll start to discover hot spring pools. 

Capacity: Multiple pools

Crowds: Not likely

Getting there: 8 mi bike to trailhead, 2.2 mi hike

Reservations: Entry fee to Olympic National Park

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