As the state with more hot springs than any other country, Nevada boasts some of the most beautiful and healing pools of natural water you’ll ever see. But 12 Mile Hot Springs, also known as Bishop Creek Hot Springs, stands out as one of the biggest and most enchanting of them all.
The name ‘12 Mile’ comes from the fact that this hot spring gem is twelve miles from the charming town of Wells. And let me tell you, the journey to get here is absolutely worth it!
|12 miles north of Wells, Northeastern Nevada, USA
|365 days a year; road might become inaccessible during wet and snowy weather
|Bishop Creek Canyon Info center
|High-clearance 4WD vehicle is required
Directions: Where is 12 Mile Hot Springs located?
Nestled on the banks of the stunning Humboldt River along Bishop Creek Canyon, 12 Mile Hot Springs is arguably the most relaxing swimming spot in Northern Nevada.
You’ll first need to head into Wells, NV, to reach this natural jacuzzi. Once there, cross the RR tracks and turn onto 8th St. From there, simply follow the signs to Metropolis, a ghost town that’s sure to pique your curiosity. Once you’re on Metropolis Road, keep driving until the road turns 90 degrees left. The springs are located on the right-hand side, just beyond the cattle guard.
You’ll need to drive through a dirt road to reach the creek. Park right before you cross the stream and then continue your journey on foot. Yes, 12 Mile Hot Springs includes a little bit of a hike that will definitely make your trip more exciting and adventurous.
Road Conditions to 12 Mile Hot Springs
Before you set out on your adventure to 12 Mile Hot Springs, knowing what to expect from the road leading to the pools is important.
There are no signs for parking or directions to the springs, so getting lost is easy, especially since cell service is intermittent in the area. Additionally, once you get to the site, be prepared for some hiking, as most people park a ¼ mile from the hot springs and hike the rest of the way.
The road to the springs is unsuitable for low cars due to enormous potholes, dips, and ridges on the dirt road. Even trucks may find the ride bumpy. It’s highly recommended that you use a 4-wheel drive to ensure your safety.
Also, remember that the road may be flooded during the rainy season, so it’s advisable to park at the cattle guard and hike the two miles to the hot springs. This option will allow you to enjoy the beauty of the narrow Bishop Creek Canyon.
Once you park your vehicle right before you cross the creek, it’s just a short hike up the road to the springs. But be prepared to get wet, especially from the point that the road runs out.
The bridge to the springs is currently collapsed. While some still cross it by stepping on the side rods, for safety reasons, we advise walking through the stream as an alternate route. After all, you’re going to be rewarded with soothing hot water once you arrive.
You’ll know you’re close when you see the old bridge. The springs are located in a concrete retaining area about 200 yards from the bridge. Just continue along the roadway and you can’t miss them.
Overall, if you’re up for a bit of an adventure, this remote marvel is definitely worth the effort to get there!
12 Mile Hot Springs: What should you expect?
Unlike other hot springs housed in cattle troughs or natural pools in the ground, the 12 Mile Hot Springs pool is a large, above-ground concrete structure. Despite its primitive nature, the clarity of the water is truly something to behold. With stunning aquamarine hues, the water is clean and beautiful, and the lack of a strong sulfur smell is a pleasant surprise.
While the pool’s depth is only 2-3 feet, the length of the pool is an astounding 30 feet long, making it one of the biggest outdoor hot springs in the state. The temperature at the source is around 102 degrees, perfect for a relaxing soak. But don’t worry, if you need a break from the heat, the concrete wall separates this thermal detox from the cold river, so you can easily climb over and cool down in the cold stream.
One of the best parts about 12 Mile Hot Springs is that it’s less crowded than other hot springs in Nevada, making it a hidden gem for those who love to soak in peace. In fact, if you’re lucky, you might even have the whole pool to yourself.
However, keep in mind that the site is clothing-optional, so consider that before bringing your children. Also, the hot springs are located on private property. Still, the owner kindly opens the pool area to the public for free, so do not leave any litter, protect nature, and enjoy the geothermal therapy peacefully.
Camping sites near 12 Mile Hot Springs
If you’re looking to stay in the area, dispersed camping spots are located close to 12 Mile Hot Springs, albeit sporadically. These are not designated camping areas. Also, there aren’t any facilities, so you’ll need to bring your own gear and be self-sufficient.
Remember that this type of camping is basic, so there won’t be any amenities like restrooms, trash cans, or picnic tables. The sites are first-come, first-served, and it’s important to practice Leave No Trace principles to help preserve the beauty of the area. There’s only one table construction right next to the concrete wall in the pool to balance your drink while soaking in the relaxing warm water.
When camping, stay at least 100 feet away from any water source for safety, drink lots of water to stay hydrated, and respect the wildlife.
Nearby activities – Explore the ghost town Metropolis
If you’re looking to add some historical context to your trip, exploring the remnants of the ghost town of Metropolis is an absolute must! Metropolis is only 25 minutes away on your way back from 12 Mile Hot Springs, and then it’s just a 20-minute drive to Wells. These few miles are certainly worth it, as they offer a unique glimpse into the history of the American West.
Once home to a bustling community of roughly 2,000 people, the town was founded in 1910, with hopes of becoming a thriving agricultural center. However, the town was plagued by various natural and artificial disasters, including jackrabbits, typhoid, and drought, which led to its ultimate demise.
Today, only a few remnants of the town remain, including the ruins of The Lincoln School, which is the most prominent landmark. Despite the passage of time, the elegant arched entrance of the school still stands and serves as a testament to the town’s once-promising future.
Weather conditions at 12 Mile Hot Springs
As we discussed, 12 Mile Hot Springs is located near Bishop Creek Canyon, where weather conditions can vary greatly depending on the season. During the summer, temperatures can soar and be quite dry, so visitors should bring plenty of water and sunscreen to protect themselves from the sun’s harsh rays.
Tyann and Allison enjoying the winter soak in 12 Miles Hot Springs
In contrast, in the winter the place can be frigid and snowy, so be prepared for icy road conditions and dress warmly to protect yourself from the cold. After all, coming out from the hot pool and wandering around in freezing-cold air can quickly make you cold.
Over the course of the year, the temperature at 12 Mile Hot Springs typically varies from 24°F to 97°F and is rarely below 14°F or above 102°F, so check the forecast and pack accordingly.
Parkent documenting the crystal-clean water of 12 Mile Hot Springs
The overall remote location, crystal-clear waters, and surrounding natural beauty make 12 Mile Hot Springs a must-visit destination for those seeking relaxation and adventure in equal measure. And while the hot springs may be challenging to find and require a lot of effort to access, the journey is well worth the reward.
So, pack your bags, grab your swimsuit and towel, and head out to 12 Mile Hot Springs to discover Nevada’s best-kept secret for yourself.
Frequently Asked Questions
12 Mile Hot Springs is located in Nevada, about 12 miles northeast of Wells.
The temperature of the water at the source is around 102 degrees Fahrenheit.
Yes, 12 Mile Hot Springs is a clothing-optional hot spring.
The best time to visit 12 Mile Hot Springs is early summer or autumn, as inaccessible during rainy and snowy seasons.
Yes, dispersed camping spots are located along the road to the hot springs and beside the river, though there are no signs.
No, there is no fee to enter 12 Mile Hot Springs.
No, there is usually no cell phone service around the area, so it’s best to be prepared and download offline maps before heading up.
While we at Traxplorio do our very best to give you the latest information about these hot springs sites, life happens, weather happens, and property owners happen. We always recommend you go to the official hot springs’ web page and/or the relevant state authority page to check conditions, times, and prices (where relevant) before you head out. Thanks for understanding, and enjoy your soak!