The 7 Best Natural Springs in Texas
Let these soothing waters cure what ails you
Texas doesn’t have the hot springs reputation of Arkansas or Colorado, but you don’t have to cross state lines to take a dip. Texas has several of its own spring-fed watering holes, some with hot tub temperatures and others that are temperate year-round, so you can visit the springs this winter or whenever you want to submerge yourself in life-affirming mineral waters. These are seven of the best natural springs in Texas.
Head west to the Chihuahuan Desert, and just before you hit the Mexican border you’ll find Chinati Hot Springs, a remote oasis with overnight accommodations, hiking trails and pools at multiple temperatures. The cold pool runs about 70 degrees, depending on the season, while the volcanic thermal springs top out around 110 degrees. Secure one of the climate-controlled cabins for the night, bring supplies to cook in the community kitchen and enjoy a relaxing weekend of therapeutic waters and fresh air.
Big Bend National Park
Big Bend is home to some of the most scenic landscapes and the best hiking in Texas. When your muscles need a rest, step into the Langford Hot Springs along the Rio Grande. According to the National Park Service, the water is heated by geothermal processes below ground and emerges at 105 degrees, purportedly with healing powers due to the dissolved mineral salts. The site once contained the J.O. Langford Bath House, which was built more than a century ago to take advantage of the natural waters, and today remnants of the old structure are still visible.
Another West Texas destination, Capote Springs is a collection of naturally occurring hot springs that sits about an hour outside of Marfa. The water hovers around 99 degrees year-round. From the springs, it’s just a quick hike to Capote Falls, a 180-foot-tall waterfall, so you can enjoy a little show before your soak.
Austin’s most famous swimming hole is Barton Springs Pool, a three-acre spring-fed pool that sits around 68-70 degrees all year. Hordes of locals and visitors congregate there during summer to lie in the surrounding grass and cool off in the water, but hardcore swimmers and bathers still use the springs during colder months, when the water temperature is higher than the outside air.
A waterfall spilling off Hamilton Creek creates Hamilton Pool below. The emerald-green swimming hole was designated a nature preserve in 1990 and today draws visitors to experience the hidden gem and the unique natural area that surrounds it. Take a dip in the pool, go for a hike and keep your eyes peeled for lush plants and endangered wildlife. Reservations are required for entry.
Opened in 1955, Krause Springs is a popular Hill Country hangout with 32 springs across 115 acres. Those springs feed natural and manmade pools, which hold steady at 68 degrees and provide refreshment during the hot summers. If you want to spend the night, pitch a tent or claim one of the RV sites, and grill up some dinner over a fire pit.
Jacob’s Well is an artesian spring that draws water from the Trinity Aquifer and through an extensive underground cave system that measures 140 feet at its deepest point. For visitors, that results in a scenic well that’s 68 degrees all year and a popular respite during the summer months. You can hike and explore the 81-acre natural area year-round, but swimming is only permitted from May 1 to September 30, and reservations are required.
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