Hot Springs: An Out-of-the-Box Vegas Day Trip

by  Teresa Bitler | Feb 5, 2018

Before neon lights drew visitors to Las Vegas, early inhabitants came for the area’s naturally heated rivers and springs. Today, few visitors know the hot springs exist, but you can easily visit them on a day trip from Las Vegas. Here’s how to get them and what you need to know, whether you're splurging for a guided tour, or visiting the hot springs on a DIY trip. 

By Kayak

The easiest way to take a hot springs day trip from Las Vegas is by kayak, as part of a guided tour. Desert Adventures will pick you up and drop you off at your hotel on the Strip,  take care of necessary permits, and provide kayaking instruction. You just need to show up.

After launching near the base of the Hoover Dam, about 40 minutes from Las Vegas, our group paddled less than a mile to Goldstrike Hot Springs. The soaking pools have dried up, but smaller pools puddle along the rocks and water seeps from the canyon’s walls. Note: Getting to the actual springs required a short hike and scrambling over slippery rocks.

Not far down the Colorado River, we hiked through a sandy wash to Arizona Hot Springs. Don’t let the rusty, 20-foot metal ladder deter you from climbing to the hot springs — the ladder is surprisingly steady, and the soaking pools are a highlight of the trip.

The rest of the daylong, 12-mile kayak trip didn’t include hot springs, but the water was calm and Black Canyon is incredibly beautiful. Lunch, water, dry bags, and lifejackets are provided. Cost is $199 per person, plus a $22 park permit fee.

By Car and On Foot

For a less guided, more economic option, you can also hike to the hot springs. From Las Vegas, head past Hoover Dam on US 93 to Exit 2, across from Hoover Dam Lodge, and drive to the end of the graded road to the trailhead for Goldstrike Hot Springs. The 4.5-mile hike is difficult, requiring the use of fixed ropes to scale large boulders along the way. Due to heat, the trail is closed June to September.    

Another option is to continue four miles past Hoover Dam on US 93, and turn off at the dirt parking area for White Rock Canyon. The National Park Service considers the six-mile roundtrip hike to Arizona Hot Springs strenuous, but you won’t have to rappel boulders to get to the springs (just climb the 20-foot ladder). Like the trail to Goldstrike Hot Springs, this trail closes during the summer.  

If you have time to venture further out, you have more options, including Rogers Spring in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. The 85-degree pool is ringed by palm trees and filled with small fish and other bathers. (There is a $20 entrance fee per vehicle to enter the recreation area.)

Roughly 175 miles northwest from Las Vegas, just off State Route 318, Hot Creek Springs is one of the more isolated hot springs. Ash Springs, which is slightly closer (103 miles north of Las Vegas), is closed temporarily.

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