Tucked into the mountainside overlooking the beautiful, tranquil forested canyon, the steam rises into the air, catching the light and teasing at your senses in that magical way only a primitive hot springs can.
The picturesque San Antonio Hot Springs offers an unbelievable view down the valley as you soak away your worries in hot, crystal clear water – the perfect reward for your hike in.
|Address||Forest Service Road 376, Jemez Springs, NM 87025|
|Location||Off Hwy 4, 17.6 miles north of Jemez Springs, New Mexico|
|Open||From Sunrise to sunset, the access road closed in winter|
|Clothing||Required (but known as “optional”)|
|Road Access||High clearance needed to trailhead. Short hike required|
What To Expect
The San Antonio Hot Springs offers four sandy-bottomed, cascading, turquoise-blue pools on a steep mountain slope, open to the blue skies and with a colorful view across the pines to the other side of the canyon. The hot spring water, brought gushing from various sources to flow out of pipes and into the top pool, is 129°F at the source, cooling to around 105°F as the water trickles down into the rock-bordered 2-feet-deep pools below.
If you have a 4×4, and dry weather, you’ll be able to drive the bumpy but nicely graded 5 miles of a dirt road right up to the trailhead, and from there enjoy the short one-mile walk uphill to the hot springs. The toughest climb is in the few minutes before you arrive, on a steep dirt trail interrupted by rocks and exposed tree roots, but the destination is well worth the effort!
Keep in mind that in winter, the dirt road from FS-376 to the trailhead is closed, making the hike a full 10-mile round trip. The advantage to pulling on your hiking boots (or snowshoes) and taking that walk is the stunning New Mexico scenery you’ll get to experience on the way, through the pines and grassy meadows, across the creek, and up the other side!
The top pool is the largest and warmest, with the three pipes pumping out a constant flow of hot mineral water. Aim to get there early in the day if you want a few hours of solitude, as these are among the most popular hot springs in New Mexico, and usually draw quite a crowd on the weekends and holidays.
Note that nudity is a violation of New Mexico State Law and violators may well be cited, though knowing that doesn’t necessarily discourage some guests from letting it all hangout. Go open-minded.
Camping in the area is not allowed and there are no shops nearby, so fill the tank, pack plenty of water, and bring along everything else you’ll need for a day of isolated nature.
In the olden days, the hot springs drew the Native Americans, and the mineral water pools were used as a place for healing and rituals.
Jemez Springs became a tourist destination in the 1800s because of its spring waters, with locals quickly realizing the commercial opportunities. The source in the village was enclosed within a rock wall and a gazebo that still stands today at the Plaza. Remnants of the original bathhouse, which shut its door for good following a flood in 1941, can be explored on the property of Jemez Hot Springs.
In fact, it’s worth stopping for a look around on your way to or from the San Antonio Hot Springs – you’ll see a lot of buildings in Jemez Springs that are over 100 years old. Check out the Los Ojos Restaurant and Saloon, Abousleman Home Jemez Mountain Inn, Casa Blanca Guest House, Jemez Stage Stop, and Garden Inn.
How To Get There
From Jemez Springs, New Mexico, drive north on the NM-4 for approximately 6 miles. Turn left onto the NM-126. Three miles on and you’ll see Forest Service Road 376 on the right. From here, if you’re in a high clearance vehicle, you can drive the next 5 miles along the bumpy dirt track (not recommended in wet weather, and closed in winter anyway), or walk. From the sign directing you to San Antonio Hot Springs, it’s another mile of dirt trail down to the creek, across a neat wooden bridge, and up the hill to the hot springs. That last uphill part needs sturdy shoes and concentration due to the rocks and exposed roots. But, boy, is it worth it!
If you’re coming from Albuquerque, NM, it’ll take just under two hours to travel the 77 miles. Head along the I-25 N, and join the US-550 N at Bernalillo. At San Ysidro, turn northeast onto the NM-4 E. Then, 8.7 miles after Jemez Springs village, turn left onto the NM-126 N. Keep your eyes open for the sharp right turn onto Forest Service Road 376. You’ll see signs for the San Antonio Hot Springs guiding you to the parking lot and trailhead.
Can I Stay There?
No. But the Santa Fe National Forest has some beautiful camping areas that range in elevation, type (desert to forest), and style (primitive to developed).
A few miles away from this particular hot spring is the popular San Antonio Campground. Situated in a beautiful ponderosa pine forest, it has 20 standard tent/RV campsites, six with their own hookups. The campground also offers onsite drinking water and pit toilets.
Jemez Falls Campground (May-November) is surrounded by ponderosa pine and forest meadows. It has 52 sites with picnic tables and fire rings. Paved roads allow trailers and RVs up to 40 feet to enter and move around the site. There are no hookups for RVs. Drinking water is provided as are pit toilets. A campground host will be there to greet you. $10/vehicle/night.
The Redondo Campground (May-October) can also be found in the midst of ponderosa pines and grass and wildflower meadows. It has 62 campsites for tents, RVs, and trailers up to 30ft, each with a picnic table and fire ring. Drinking water is not available at this campground. There are pit toilets but no hookups or dump stations. $10/vehicle/night.
Reserve up to six months in advance through Recreation.gov or by calling toll-free 1-877-444-6777.
For more hot springs and comfort, head to Jemez Hot Springs resort which has three newly decorated cabins of 500 square feet plus $195/night. There, you’ll find four therapeutic mineral water pools of 98-105°F in a lush, well-maintained desert landscape. 1 Hour Property Pass/Soak: $25/person, 2 Hour Property Pass/Soak: $50/person*
*Walk-ins only. They do not take reservations for pool use. Open 10 am – 5 pm. If you stay, a 2-hour soak is included in your stay (10 am – 5 pm).
There are international standard hotels in Albuquerque, including a Days Inn & Suites by Wyndham, Holiday Inn Express, and Hilton Garden Inn.
What Else Can I Do In The Area?
You can’t go to the San Antonio Hot Springs without exploring everything the Santa Fe National Forest has to offer. From hiking and fishing to rock climbing or horseback riding in the high country, this is a nature-lovers paradise. The Valles Caldera Preserve in particular is known for its vast meadows, diversity of wildlife, creeks, and geothermal beauty. If you get lucky, you can spot eastern mountain bluebirds, golden eagles, badgers, elk, and black bears as you travel through.
If you love hot springing, it is definitely worth checking out some other New Mexico options. Closest by is the Spence Hot Springs, coming in at a lukewarm 81-95°F, but with a “grotto” treat hidden in the rocks- a natural two-man sauna! Also check out Jordan Hot Springs, a shallow, pebble-bottomed, and natural rock-walled pool that is wide enough to accommodate 5-6 people. The water temperature is 94°-100°F. Next comes Black Rock Hot Springs, set right on the edge of the river. This 97°F to 101°F springs has its temperature controlled by the water coming in from that river- so, for some, if the river is low, it might be too hot to handle! We’ll definitely be adding more New Mexico hot springs soon, so just type “New Mexico” in the search and see what else there is to explore!
A popular clearwater, four-pool paradise, San Antonio Hot Springs is well worth the hike it takes to get there. Bathe in clear waters overlooking a stunning canyon, with the creek bubbling past below you and nature singing her song to ease away your worries.
The Dos And Don’ts Of Visiting A Hot Springs
Every hot springs has its own quirks. Visitors to San Antonio Hot Springs, for example, need to be ready for a steep uphill walk on the last leg of the way to the hot springs – a hike that doubles in length in winter, when the road is shut. For more general and very important “hot springs etiquette,” we highly recommend you take a moment to check out our carefully compiled easy-to-read list of “dos and don’ts” here. And always, always respect our nature – pack out what you pack in and LEAVE NO TRACE.
Frequently Asked Questions
San Antonio Hot Springs is on Forest Service Road 376, off Highway 4, 17.6 miles north of Jemez Springs, New Mexico.
Yes, it is free.
Nudity is a violation of New Mexico State Law and violators may well be cited, though knowing that doesn’t necessarily discourage some guests from letting it all hangout. Go open-minded.
Yes, dogs are permitted but should be kept on a leash. Be careful your dog doesn’t get too close to the hot water.
It is safe at around 105°F, but you should pay attention to your body and be sure to stay hydrated, and not stay longer in the hot water than you can realistically take. As with any hot springs, there is always a risk of the presence of Naegleria Fowleri, which thrive in hot temperatures. Naegleria Fowleri is a lethal brain-eating parasitic amoeba common in hot springs. Never get water in your nose or dunk your head in the water.
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!