Get nude in North America’s most insane hot springs
North America has no shortage of natural hot springs, but those that haven’t been commercialized are few and far between. And for the same reason a wandering soul wouldn’t cool off in a public pool during the summer when there’s a perfectly good stream just a short hike away, there’s no fun to be had in sharing a tamed hot spring when the wild caught version is available for skinny dipping nearby.
Better yet, some of the wildest hot springs require some serious hiking to reach them in the first place, making reaching them an adventure in itself. Then you get all the mineral benefits of a public hot spring but without the mass of hairy bodies and germs. So without further ado, here are five of the US and Canada’s most insane wild hot springs. Lose your clothes but take home your trash.
Set atop a sprawling valley outside of Aspen in the Elk Range, few hot springs are as picturesque at Conundrum. Nor are they as hard to get to, with these wild springs requiring an 8.5 mile hike up some 3000 feet of elevation to get there. So you’ll need to cool off before you can warm up.
Just north of the border, Canada is home to some 30 hot springs, but few more spectacular than the Keyhole Hot Springs in Squamish, BC. They’re free and open to the public, but make the two-mile return hike in the cooler months to avoid feeding grizzly bears. With the Pebble Creek rapids whipping whitewater past you, bathing in the keyhole knows few equals.
A series of terraced hot springs deep inside the national forest and overlooking the North Umpqua River, these hot springs know no bounds - or rules. Nudity isn’t just welcomed but encouraged in the five wild personal-size pools, which are at their best during the winter. In the snow, it’s a two-mile hike from the road. But from the carpark ($5) it’s a short quarter-mile uphill hike to the camping ground and springs.
It’s a 15-mile round hike to reach the pinnacle of Pagosa’s springs, but Rainbow Hot Springs is more than worth it once you set your eyes on the cascading waterfall above the ponds. Nestled in the canyon below an ample camp site, it’s a hot bath the way nature intended.
A 30-minute hike through Maquinna Provincial Park brings you to another of British Columbia’s finest thermal pools - Hot Springs Cove. Halfway up Vancouver Island in Tofino, the hot springs are creviced along the Sydney Inlet off the Pacific Ocean, and feature epic views and a waterfall to boot. The ideal respite from a bitter Canadian winter.
This one’s a little more populated than the others, so unless you want the gawking eyes of men, women and children alike staring at your naked frame, we’d suggest taking a bathing suit. But at 110 to 140 degrees fahrenheit, you’d be excused for wanting to shed it. You definitely will want to check signs and water temp before plunging in, as anything above 120 is considered brutal and can be dangerous. It’s 1.5 mile round trip to the pools. And while you can stretch your legs in the river, be careful of the current.