The Arizona Hot Springs (aka Ringbolt Hot Springs) are located along the Colorado River just south of the Hoover Dam. Tucked away inside a colorful slot canyon, these hot springs offer a beautiful environment to enjoy a nice long soak. They can be accessed by boat via the Colorado River or by hiking a 5.8 mile round trip trail from Arizona state highway 93.
In this post, we’ll cover how to hike to the Arizona Hot Springs as a day hike, or as an overnight backpacking trip!
Important Arizona Hot Spring Trail details
- Arizona Hot Springs is closed from May 15-September 30 each year. Please check for any other trail closures or alerts on the NPS website before your hike.
- Trail Distance: 5.8 miles round trip when hiked as a loop
- Total Elevation Change: 1000+ ft, depending on route
- Time to Hike: Six to seven hours round trip (plus time to enjoy the springs!)
- Trail Difficulty: Difficult
- Safety Considerations: Summer temperatures can exceed 120F and the trail is exposed (which is why the trail is closed in the summer months) and there is limited water until you reach the river. Flash floods in the canyon are a concern if there are rain or thunderstorms in the area. Be aware of rattlesnakes along the trail. For more info, please refer to this document from the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.
What to bring on an Arizona Hot Spring hike
Many people visit Arizona Hot Springs as a day hike, but we planned to camp there overnight.
Regardless of whether you hike to the springs for the day or overnight, you’ll want to make sure you have the following items in your backpack:
• Water: This hike is located in the desert, so until you hit the river at the end of the hike, there are no reliable water sources. Pack enough water for the 3.2 mile hike in, and bring a water filter so that you can safely fill up at the river before you hike out.
• Extra Food: Bring plenty of food, even if you’re not going to be camping overnight.
• Sun Protection: Desert hiking requires good sun protection to avoid sunburn and heat injury! In addition to sunscreen, we recommend a wide-brimmed hat and a UPF hiking shirt.
• Navigation Tools: A map of the trail can be found here. Bring along a compass or GPS that you feel comfortable using.
• Headlamp: In the event that you end up relaxing at the springs longer than planned, be sure to bring along a headlamp in case it gets dark before you return to the trailhead.
• Layers: The temperature swing in the desert is pretty significant, so be ready by packing several layers, including an insulation layer.
• Emergency Items: Pack a first aid kit, fire starter, and emergency shelter so that you’re prepared for the unexpected. You could also consider bringing an SOS/satellite messaging device if you have one.
• Water Shoes/Sandals: The unfortunate reality of many hot springs is that people are careless with their trash and there is occasionally glass in them. We always wear Chaco or Teva sandals at hot springs to protect our feet.
• Quick Dry Towel: We like to bring one of these lightweight, quick drying towels (instead of a regular beach towel).
If you plan on camping near the springs as we did, you’ll additionally want to back the proper backpacking gear. You can find our complete backpacking checklist here!
Leave No Trace Tips
Like many popular outdoor destinations, the Arizona Hot Springs have really felt the impact of visitors. Please be a good steward of the area by following these Leave No Trace guidelines:
Dispose of waste properly
Pack out all of your trash, including used toilet paper. There’s a disgusting amount of TP in this area, so please don’t add to it! Bring a zip-top bag to stash it in and dispose of it at home.
If you need to use the bathroom while you’re visiting the springs, there is a pit toilet down on the beach next to the river. Please use this instead of digging a cathole; the arid desert environment makes it much harder for waste to break down properly.
Don’t use soap in the springs
Don’t use any soap–even biodegradable soap–in the springs or in the nearby river. Additionally, if you are wearing sunscreen, we’d encourage you to rinse it off before getting in the springs to avoid polluting the water.
Leave it as you found it
The pools are built up with rocks and sandbags–please let these be as moving them around can impact the pools.
Arizona Hot Spring Trailhead & Hiking Routes
The Arizona Hot Springs Trail is about 40 miles from Las Vegas. The trailhead parking lot is on the north side of State Route 93, about 3.5 miles south of the Pat Tillman Bridge. The best way to set your directions is to search “Arizona Hot Spring Trailhead” on Google Maps.
You can find a map for the Arizona Hot Springs hike here. There are three main routes for you to take to get to the springs:
Out & Back: Hot Springs Canyon Trail
Distance: 5.2 miles (round trip) | Total elevation: ~1,150 ft
Out & Back: White Rock Canyon
Distance: 6.6 | Total elevation: ~1,840 ft
Loop: White Rock Canyon & Hot Springs Canyon Trails
Distance: 5.9 miles | Total elevation: ~1,500 ft
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What to expect when hiking to Arizona Hot Springs
Hot Spring Canyon approaches the springs from behind (you’ll have to wade through the pools, so be ready to get your feet wet!), and White Rock Canyon will allow you to approach the springs from the river.
There are some signs marking the way, even though the topography makes identifying the trail a little difficult. There are some areas along the White Rock Canyon Trail that will require scrambling (nothing you would need ropes for!).
The trails are hot and exposed, so be prepared with plenty of water, a wide brimmed hat, sun-protective clothing, and sunscreen.
It’s also worth noting that there is no cell service in the canyons, and the service down at the Colorado River is spotty at best.
If you approach the springs from the Colorado River side (from the White Rock Canyon Trail), you will need to climb a 20 foot ladder to get into the hot spring canyon–take your time as it can be slippery since it’s set up in a small waterfall.
Arizona Hot Springs
There are four pools that make up the Arizona Hot Springs. The top one (the first you’ll encounter if you approach from the Hot Spring Canyon Trail) is the hottest since it’s closest to the source, and it is indeed VERY hot–about 110F. The water in the pools cools down as you descend into the canyon, so you can play Goldilocks and find the pool that is juuust right.
These are some of the most unique hot springs we’ve been to, set in a canyon full of pink, lavender, and orange volcanic rock. Getting to listen to the trickle of the water dance off the canyon walls was incredibly relaxing.
One thing to note: Naegleria Fowleri can be found in thermal pools such as these. If present, the amoeba can travel up your nasal passage and cause a fatal infection. While such infections are extremely rare, with only 130 cases being reported to the CDC since 1962, it is still advised that visitors refrain from putting their head underwater.
Camping near the Arizona Hot Springs
Why not make your visit to the Arizona Hot Springs into an overnight adventure? This is what we did when we explored the area and it remains one of our favorite one night backpacking trips.
There is a camping area near the springs along the Colorado River. You can see it here on the map:
It’s accessible by trail and by boat, so there will be a mix of backcountry campers and rafters/boaters and it’s a fairly popular camping destination on the weekends. Luckily, there are lots of different areas to pitch a tent.
Despite the easy access from the river, this is backcountry camping, which means no amenities, potable water, trash service, or established campsites–other than the vault toilets located just south of the beach.
Be prepared to pack out all your own trash and bring along everything you will need for your stay (here’s our suggested backpacking gear list).
The Arizona Hot Springs have got to be some of the most interesting springs we’ve visited. The hike to them was pretty incredible, the campground was right on the Colorado River, and the springs themselves were hidden away in an amazing slot canyon. If you’re in the area, we’d definitely suggest checking it out.