|Chinati Hot Springs
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Chinati Hot Springs, Ruidosa Texas, Report.
In the extreme lower left portion of west Texas is what I can only describe as a bit of heaven on earth. Flowing out of the ground at 109 degrees F is the most incredible water that you could possibly soak in.
Chinati Hot Springs, a beautiful rustic oasis at the end of a box canyon in the Chihuahuan desert,taps this nectar of Mother Earth and diverts it into two indoor bath houses and an outside tub. The waters contain a plethora of trace minerals including lithium which makes your skin as smooth as silk. It is truly therapuetic.
My wife Barb and I were there over the Christmas holidays and there were about twenty people there, mostly college kids on break. We were a bit concerned when we arrived due to the fact that no one was nude. But Wendy the caretaker assured us that Chinati is clothing optional so we doffed the duds and got in the outdoor tub. Aside from a few suprised glances, nobody seemed to mind. We did not get into the inside baths as they were pretty much occupied by the group of semester breakers, but we were the only ones in the outside tub. Even with the 20 or so people there the entire place was tranquil. Everyone just seemed to bask in the quietness and soothing waters and and take in nature.
The only drawback was having to leave. It was the hardest time we've ever had trying to pry our bare butts away from a naturist setting. And as a bonus, Wendy keeps a supply of plastic jugs (just ask her for a couple) which you can fill with water right out of the pipe at the outside tub. We did and stuck it in our cooler to chill and had it to drink on the way home. It is incredible.
Getting there: Chinati is remote. We left Big Bend Natioanl Park after a backcountry stay there and Chinati is about 2 hrs west. Go to Ruidosa then seven miles of dirt road to the hot springs. Always fill your fuel tank when you have the chance. There is NOTHING out there. The border town of Presidio is the only place with any kind of services. We returned via County Rd 2810 to Marfa Tx. DO NOT attempt this route unless you have a high clearance vehicle in good condition (we had our Jeep and had no problems). But if you do you will be treated to some fantastic landscape. It is 20 miles of very rough backcountry dirt road through towering peaks and steep canyons then another 30 miles of narrow pavement to Marfa.
As a side note: We planned on checking out Boquillas Hot Springs inside Big Bend but opted not to because of the NPS's 'no nudity' policy at the hot springs. However we have had correspondence with a couple that were at Big Bend the same time as us and they told us that nudity is quite common at Boquillas after nightfall. We are sorry now that we did not check it out. But we will be back next fall and rest assured it will be on our list. Right underneath Chinati, which will be at the top. Joe and Barb
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