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Arizona Hot Spring Report.

Fall 2002

Arizona Hot Spring (aka Ringbolt Rapids Hot Spring) is located near the Colorado River in northwest Arizona, about 35 miles from Las Vegas, Nevada. It’s one of the Southwest’s finest natural hot springs, and a truly wonderful place to soak and relax your nude body and restore your mind.

AZ Hot Spring
Soaking in the lower pool. Ladder to the upper pools is just around the corner, to the right.
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The hot springs flow out of the ground where a desert wash cuts deep into the rock, forming a slot canyon. Spring water seeps from the rock walls and up from underground, where it has been heated by geothermal activity.

AZ Hot Spring
Skyward view from the upper pool.
Click image to enlarge.

There are usually 3 or 4 pools of various temperatures built near the source of the springs in the narrow part of the canyon. The pools are created by damming up the waterflow with sandbags and/or large rocks. There’s no sulfur present in these springs, and with a decent flow rate over a gravel bed, the amount of algae formation is negligible.

AZ Hot Spring
Middle pools, above the ladder (usually not present).
Click image to enlarge.

The upper pools are located above a 20-foot vertical drop, negotiated by a steel ladder.

AZ Hot Spring
Ladder access to upper pools and source springs
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The waterfall over the drop makes an excellent natural warm shower, with a flow rate of over 100 gallons per minute.

AZ Hot Spring
Natural water massage... absolutely free of charge!
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The upper pool temperatures range from about 102-111 degrees F, depending on their proximity to the hottest source spring, which averages 120*F.

AZ Hot Spring
Upper pool. 106 degrees F.
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During the warmer months, there’s usually a pool built near the top of the ladder and another about 20 yards from the bottom of the ladder. These pool temperatures are less than 90 degrees.

AZ Hot Spring
Lower pool, looking down the canyon. It's about 250 yards from the source of the spring to the Colorado River. The spring flow disappears underground before it reaches the river.
Click image to enlarge.

The desert scenery of the area is exceptional. Rugged volcanic rock formations rise hundreds of feet above the green waters of the Colorado River, which is also referred to as upper Lake Mohave. The local wildlife includes Desert Bighorn Sheep, waterfowl, lizards, snakes, and at night, ring-tailed cats, which are similar to raccoons and equally curious. Hoover Dam is about 4 miles upstream, where the river water is drawn from a depth of over 300 feet, keeping the temperature at a chilly 53*F year-round. There are 2 other worthwhile hotsprings located upriver on the Nevada side, in Boy Scout Canyon and Goldstrike Canyon.

AZ Hot Spring
Down river view of the Colorado River from an overlook above the hot springs. Boaters and campers use the wash in the foreground.
Click image to enlarge.

AZ Hot Spring
High vantage view looking up the Colorado River, toward Hoover Dam..
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AZ Hot Spring
A couple of naturists soaking up some sun above the Colorado River.
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Arizona Hot Spring has been a popular naturist destination for several years. Long before it was discovered by settlers, Native Americans frequented here. Nowadays there are more and more textile visitors, as the watercraft traffic on the Colorado River increases each year. However, clothing optional is still the local custom, depending on the company present. The hot spring and surrounding area are on federal land within the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. It is open to the public and there are no fees for this particular region. Camping is allowed without a permit (except at the parking area). There are no services available here. A couple of chemical toilet outhouses are located near the river. The best times to visit (especially if you hike in) are from October thru late April. The summer heat makes this place unbearable during the daytime. Bring plenty of water any time of year. Good hiking shoes are advisable, along with sandals or water shoes for walking in the gravel streambed. Don’t forget your camera.

Getting There: You can hike to Arizona Hot Spring or reach it by boat. The trailhead is located beside Highway 93, 4.2 miles south of Hoover Dam. An opening in the guardrail allows access to a leveled dirt parking area. There is a sign at the trailhead to confirm you're in the right place.

AZ Hot Spring
Trailhead to AZ Hot Spring.
Click image to enlarge.

The trail is actually a dry wash through White Rock Canyon. The easy route is a little over 3 miles down the wash to the river, then south along the river for about 1/4 mile, up and over some rugged hills to the next wash, then up the canyon to the springs--just follow the water to its source. A slightly shorter route (discouraged by the Park Service) breaks off to the left of the main trail and over the hills south of White Rock Canyon before it narrows. This route takes you into another canyon that eventually leads to the top of the hotsprings. It involves a couple of tricky rock scrambles over 15-20 foot drops. The first big vertical drop can be bypassed to the right, if you're headed down the canyon. The second drop is a chute-like crevasse, called “the chimney” that you can easily slide down. The round trip for the average hiker is 2 to 2.5 hours, so if you're planning a day trip, try to get an early start.

To get there by boat, you can launch at Willow Beach Marina, or obtain a permit to launch a canoe or kayak from below Hoover Dam by contacting the Hacienda Hotel & Casino in Nevada. The canyon to the springs is about 1/4 mile south of Ringbolt Rapids (near mile marker 65). The mouth of the canyon is identified by the small gravel wash fanning out into the river. There is also a large boulder in the river here, marked by a round warning buoy when the river level rises over the top of it. If you ever visit Las Vegas in the future, include a daytime excursion to Arizona Hot Spring…you won't be disappointed!

Happy Trails & Soulful Soaking! --Nevada Naturist

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