Natural hot springs in Washington range from high-end spas to rugged, all-natural pools. In addition, don’t be surprised to find that several of these hot springs are clothing-optional — though no one will object if you choose to hop in with your swimsuit on. Be aware that bathing in hot springs may not be safe for pregnant women or people with heart conditions. Whether you’re staying at a Washington vacation rental in the San Juan Islands or the Cascade Mountains, you can find a natural hot spring not too far away. Take a look at the top hot springs in Washington.
1. Sol Duc Hot Springs
From your vacation rental on the Olympic Peninsula, head to the heart of Olympic National Park to enjoy the three mineral soaking pools here. Pool temperatures range from 99 to 104 degrees, thanks to the natural thermal heating from volcanic rocks cooling under the surface of the earth. Fresh spring water from melting snow seeps down through cracks in the rocks, where it’s heated, and then it rises back through larger cracks to form the pools. Sol Duc also features a large, unheated freshwater pool for water play, and the whole facility is kid-friendly. The facility is wheelchair-accessible in two of the hot soaking pools. While you’re in Olympic National Park, drive the Quinault Rain Forest Loop to experience a temperate rain forest, and keep your eyes open for bald eagles, cougars, elk, and even bears.
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2. Carson Hot Springs Resort
If your vacation destination is the Columbia River Gorge, the Carson Hot Springs Resort offers luxurious hot springs along with spa treatments. There’s no need to pay high resort prices for your lodging, since you can access all the spa facilities separately. Enjoy the 1930s bathhouse as you soak in mineral water pumped straight into the clawfoot tubs, and then book a massage, wrap, or other spa treatment to pamper yourself thoroughly. The mineral water at Carson Hot Springs is well-known for bringing relaxation to those suffering from stress, chronic pain, and indigestion. The public mineral soaking pool is available to non-guests of the hotel for $10 to $15 an hour, depending on when you visit. Get in your relaxation, then head back to your vacation rental where you have plenty of room to stretch out and continue unwinding.
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3. Goldmyer Hot Springs
Get ready for a significant hike when you visit Goldmyer Hot Springs — and get ready as well for a beautiful experience at these crystal-clear geothermal hot springs surrounded by old-growth forest and stunning waterfalls. The hike to Goldmyer, which is due north of Snoqualmie Pass in the Cascades, is 5 miles each way, and you’re encouraged to wear waterproof hiking boots and to carry in your own water and emergency supplies. Make your reservations at least a couple of weeks ahead of time, as Goldmyer only allows 20 visitors a day — which means you get a tranquil, rejuvenating visit when you arrive. Picnic tables and an open-air cabana give you a place to relax when you’re not soaking in the hot pools that range from 104 to 125 degrees, filled with mineral water containing sodium, bicarbonate, sulfate, potassium, and other beneficial minerals.
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4. Baker Hot Spring
Baker Hot Spring is a bit off the beaten trail, but this hot spring is particularly welcoming after you hike in on a chilly day. The hike in takes you through stands of tall cedar trees, whether you start at the Rainbow Falls viewpoint or hike in through the Shadow of the Sentinels, a handicapped-accessible interpretive trail. The latter offers information along the way giving you fascinating information about early settlements in the area and the ecology of the region. Baker Hot Spring has been a popular destination for decades, and once fed into a cedar-lined pool; however, that was destroyed because the material encouraged the development of bacteria. Stop to light the candles that volunteers have arranged around the pool, and check the vents for volcanic ash, which sometimes causes a bit of clogging. Because the hike is so short (less than half a mile), you can easily stop for a brief soak while exploring the North Cascades, and then return to vacation rental near Western Washington University refreshed.
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5. Doe Bay Hot Springs
If you’ve booked your vacation rental on Orcas Island, you definitely want to visit Doe Bay Hot Springs. For only $15 a day, pamper yourself in the three outdoor saltwater soaking tubs that enjoy spectacular views of the bay, with water splashing right against the platform holding the hot pools. A sauna is also available, as well as massage bookings at the resort’s spa for a complete indulgence. Bring your kids who are 6 and over, but be aware that the spa area is clothing-optional, even during the designated family hours. While you’re visiting the San Juan Islands, find some time to get out on the water to do some kayaking or take a whale-watching cruise. Orcas Island also features beautiful beaches and great hiking, including trails that take you to the top of Mount Constitution.
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