Arizona Hot Springs
Arizona has many hot springs, ranging from comfortable private
resorts, to isolated natural pools on BLM (Bureau of Land Management)
land. For a list of 60 of them, with a map showing each one,
you can visit the Arizona page of The Hot Springs Enthusiast. You'll need a GPS
or practice reading topographical maps to use the information
there. Alternately, try one of the springs below.
Hot Well Dunes Recreation Area
This is our favorite. My wife and I spent many days and night
here last winter, including an eight-day stretch in March, when
we also went treasure hunting in the surrounding desert. For
that story, see the page, "Arrowhead
Hunting In Arizona."It can be a bit crowded on the weekends
here, but with good reason. This part of Arizona is beautiful.
There are two hot spring tubs, made of rocks and cement, with
enough trees to provide shade and some privacy. The water is
around 104 delicious degrees in both. The area right around the
tubs is fenced off to keep out the all-terrain-vehicles that
tear up the surrounding dunes on weekends. There are no closing
times, and the best time to use the pools may be under the stars
It cost $3 per day (and night) to use the area, or you can
do like we did, and buy an annual pass at the BLM office in Safford
for $30. You are allowed to stay for up to two weeks per month.
There is a cement outhouse, and several covered picnic tables
(first-come, first-serve for these camping sites). You can also
camp for free in the desert outside of the area, but you still
are supposed to pay the fee for using the hot springs.
This is an area that is very popular with the RV crowd. There
did seem to be a natural separation between the RVers and the
group we shared a fire with each night. Our gathering included
a retired heavy equipment operator, an old Mayan indian, a guy
that left each morning to sell stuffed animals by the side of
the highway, and several "rainbow kids," who shared
their food and music with us nightly.
Most mornings were cold, so we ran to the hot springs and
climbed in. We soaked for hours, sometimes bringing reading material,
until the sun warmed up our van. Walks in the desert every day
brought us to interesting hills, cliffs and swamps (a result
of the hot springs run-off). I chased a coyote one morning, and
there were tracks of javelina, deer and many other animals.
For more information, visit the BLM's Hot Well Dunes Webpage. There is a good map
showing you how to get to the hot springs Here.
Roper Lake State Park
After a long day of driving Arizona highways, or hiking in
the desert, the natural hot springs at Roper Lake are a nice
place to relax. Roper Lake State Park provides a great place
to spend a few days or just a few hours. Desert vegetation, a
peaceful lake and a view of Mount Graham, just a few miles away,
frames a beautiful picture for visitors to enjoy. It costs $5
per day to use the park, which is about five miles south of Safford.
For more information, visit the Roper Lake State Park Website.
Watson Wash Hot Well
Northwest of Safford, Watson Wash is an above ground, circular
stone tub with 101 degree water flowing out of a well casing
into the pool. The flow rate is very high, which helps maintain
the cleanliness of the tub. It has a reputation as a party location,
so be ready for a crowd on the weekends. Because it is a few
hundred yards up a wash off the road, nudity is common here.
For more information on this and other hotsprings near Safford,
stop in at the visitor center in the center of Safford.
Related page: Colorado Hot
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