Spencer Hot Springs: A Remote Natural Gem

Nestled in the foothills of the Toiyabe Range in central Nevada, Spencer Hot Springs is a natural wonder that attracts visitors from far and wide. This geothermal wonder has been known to locals for centuries, but it has only recently started gaining popularity among tourists.

Where is Spencer Hot Springs, Nevada?

Spencer Hot Springs is located in the picturesque town of Austin, Nevada, which is a well-preserved mining town from the gold rush era.

How Do You Get To Spencer Hot Springs?

To get there, visitors can take a scenic drive east over the Toiyabe summit to Nevada Route 376, turn south for about a quarter mile and then turn east on the road to Toquima Cave.

Location19 miles southeast of Austin, Central Nevada, USA
Phone(775) 964-2200 (Austin Tourism)
AmenitiesNo Service
Road AccessAny vehicle when the roads are dry; 4WD recommended in rainy season

After driving approximately 6 miles, visitors will see steam wafting up out of the sagebrush, indicating the location of the hot springs on a cold day. While accessible by car, the last few miles of the road leading to the hot springs are unpaved and can be rough. Therefore, it is recommended to take a 4WD vehicle to ensure a smooth and safe journey.

Soaking Options At Spencer Hot Springs

Spencer Hot Springs is a magical oasis of relaxation with four different sources of hot water, each with its own unique characteristics. However, visitors should exercise caution as the sources can be dangerous, and signs are posted to remind them.

Signs warning visitors about the dangers of hot temperatures

Two of the soaking spots are man-made pools constructed from metal cattle troughs, which are often referred to as cowboy tubs. A third cowboy tub is not always accessible and is significantly cooler than the others. 

At the source, water temperatures consistently sit around 130 degrees Fahrenheit, and right around the low hundreds in the runoff soaking tubs, making it an ideal spot to visit during winter when the air is chilly.

There’s also a natural pool with a sandy base, providing a more authentic and wild experience. 

Rustic tubs of Spencer Hot Springs

Nevada BLM manages Spencer Hot Springs, but it is freely accessible to the public.

The hot springs are clothing optional, operating on a first-come, first-served basis, so visitors may need to wait for a spot to open up. 

Rustic tubs of Spencer Hot Springs

While waiting, bring a book to pass the time, or use the chance to take pictures and create memories. 

Keep in mind that there are no bathrooms or potable water available at the hot springs, so pack your gear wisely, bring a lot of water to hydrate, and enjoy the soak.

What Makes Spencer Hot Springs Unique?

Spencer Hot Springs is a destination that stands out for its ability to offer a one-of-a-kind experience that blends natural beauty and relaxation. Despite being tucked away in the open desert, the stunning Toiyabe Range encircles the hot springs, with its snow-capped peaks creating a striking contrast with the desert landscape.

Snowy Mountain Views From Spencer Hot Springs

The view is nothing short of majestic, enveloping visitors in a surreal and awe-inspiring atmosphere that allows them to relax in the hot springs while taking in the breathtaking surroundings. 

The warm water of the hot springs perfectly complements the cold, snowy peaks, creating a magical experience that cannot be replicated elsewhere. Whether it’s the warmth of the water on a chilly day or the view of the snowy peaks in the distance, Spencer Hot Springs is an exceptional destination that offers a unique and unforgettable experience to all who visit.

Camping at Spencer Hot Springs

For those who want to make a weekend of their trip to Spencer Hot Springs, there are a few options for camping and accommodation nearby. Basic camping on BLM land is available on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Before setting up camp, visitors should familiarize themselves with the current fire restrictions and hot spring etiquette. Camping on top of the source is strictly prohibited as it could harm the wildlife that relies on the water source.

Additionally, it is essential to ensure that your campsite is at least 100 yards away from any water sources, to give each other some space to respect other visitors’ privacy and enjoy the serene and peaceful surroundings.

Alternatively, visitors can explore accommodation options in Austin, Nevada. It’s only half an hour’s drive from the springs, and there you’ll find a few comfortable places to spend the night.

Dos and Don’ts at Spencer Hot Springs

Spencer Hot Springs is a beautiful and unique destination that offers visitors a chance to relax and unwind in a stunning natural setting. However, it is important to be aware of the dos and don’ts to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone. Here are some of the key dos and don’ts to keep in mind when visiting Spencer Hot Springs:

Respect the natural surroundings and wildlife. Spencer Hot Springs is situated on BLM land, so it is important to leave no trace and be mindful of the impact you have on the environment.Camp or park too close to the hot springs. It is important to give other visitors plenty of space and avoid crowding the pools or surrounding areas.
Follow proper hot springs etiquette. This includes avoiding the use of soap or shampoo in the pools, and not urinating in the water.Bring glass bottles or containers. Glass is not allowed at Spencer Hot Springs due to the risk of breakage and injury.
Be aware of fire restrictions. Fires are not allowed at Spencer Hot Springs, so it is important to check for current restrictions and be careful with any cooking stoves or other heat sources.Damage or disturb the natural surroundings and wildlife.
Practice good hygiene. Spencer Hot Springs is a public area, so it is important to practice good hygiene by washing your hands regularly and avoiding sharing towels or other personal items.Ignore safety signs or warnings. Spencer Hot Springs can be dangerous, particularly around the sources where water temperatures can be extremely hot. Be sure to follow all safety signs and warnings to avoid injury or harm.

By following these dos and don’ts, visitors can enjoy a safe and memorable experience at Spencer Hot Springs while respecting the natural environment and other visitors.

Final Takeaway

To sum up, Spencer Hot Springs is a natural wonder located in the remote wilderness of Nevada’s Toiyabe mountain range. With its serene surroundings, rejuvenating hot waters, and stunning views, it offers a unique opportunity for visitors to escape the hustle and bustle of modern life and connect with nature.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Spencer Hot Springs Clothing Optional?

Spencer Hot Springs is not officially designated as clothing-optional, but some visitors do choose to go nude while soaking in the hot springs. However, it’s important to be respectful of other visitors and follow common courtesy guidelines when visiting the hot springs.

How far is Spencer Hot Springs from Las Vegas?

Spencer Hot Springs is located about 360 miles northwest of Las Vegas. The drive takes approximately 6 hours.

Is Spencer Hot Springs Open?

Spencer Hot Springs is typically open year-round, although the road to the hot springs may be inaccessible during winter months due to snow and ice. It’s always a good idea to check the current conditions before heading out.

Are there any amenities at Spencer Hot Springs?

Spencer Hot Springs lacks fresh water, bathrooms, and other amenities, so it’s important to come prepared with food, water, and appropriate clothing.

Are pets allowed at Spencer Hot Springs?

Yes, Spencer Hot Springs is a pet-friendly sight. However,  your furry friends are not allowed in the pools.

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