I would never have expected it, but three years after writing about the Carson River Hot Springs, it has become my most popular post, by far.
I cannot deprive you of any more hot spring recommendations, so here are my favorite hot springs in Nevada (so far).
Carson River Hot Springs
The Carson River Hot Springs are technically in California, but they’re just barely over the Nevada border. The are included on this list because they were the closest to where we lived in Carson City, therefore, the most frequented. I’ll never forget the first time we drove there in my Jeep. It was a dark October night and I’m pretty sure it was snowing a little bit. Matt was driving, our friend Duncan in the passenger seat, and I was in the back, completely terrified that we were going to get lost and that my car was going to fall apart. In addition, because the road is so gnarly, my car was often at weird angles (and the gas tank was low to begin with), so the gas light would turn on and off, on and off.
We made it, of course, mainly because I had my trusty hot spring guidebook. The river was low, and the hot spring was steaming away directly across from us. We waded across the Carson River on a pretty clear path of rocks in the shallow water. And it was wonderful. We returned many times with groups of friends and often camped for a night or two. You can read more about these hot springs here.
12 Mile Hot Spring
I truly don’t think we would’ve ever come across 12 Mile Hot Spring if we weren’t staying the night in Wells, Nevada. And we would never stay the night in Wells, Nevada unless it was the perfect stopping point on our carefully planned itinerary on our drive east when we were moving to Michigan. It was in the spring, so the drive out to the hot spring was lush and green, and the sagebrush so fragrant as we passed by sprawling ranches. Soon we were in a canyon and we parked the car and crossed the river on foot and walked the short (1/4 mile?) distance to the hot spring. The pool itself is huge and is situated right along the river. (This would be a great place to camp!)
Spencer Hot Springs
We visited Spencer Hot Springs years ago, it was in February, I believe. A group of us booked motel rooms in the town of Austin, Nevada. Austin is very small but has the rustic charm of the old mining towns. It’s located pretty much right in the middle of the state, Highway 50 runs right through town. The hot springs are east of town, off of a dusty dirt road. We soaked until the sun went down, and enjoyed them so much, we went back the next morning.
A little note about Austin, our group of six went to the only open restaurant that evening, and then afterwards headed to the bar next door for drinks. In that time, we were invited by the locals to multiple Superbowl parties the following day and had an open invite to come back for an ATV tour of the back country. In other words, we made lots of friends/the people are very friendly.
Monitor/Pott’s Hot Spring
Monitor Hot Spring is my favorite, my absolute very favorite. We drove for hours to the middle of nowhere, not knowing what to expect. When we arrived in the valley, late in the afternoon on a Saturday, there was no one around and plenty of room to pitch our tents and camp. We were surrounded by grazing cattle and mountains in the distance. I remember sinking into the freshly filled pool and looking up at the night sky to so many stars. (We even brought our XM radio and boombox to listen to the Tigers game. Worked great! Until the batteries died.)
Monitor Valley is about an hour further down another dusty dirt road from Spencer hot springs. *As of Fall 2017, this hot spring has been closed to the public.*
You can read more about the beautiful Monitor Valley here.
If you plan on visiting hot springs in Nevada or California, check out this book. We planned entire weekends around places in this book.
If you like this post, you’ll like reading about my favorite northern California hot springs.