Alkali Hot Springs

Sitting in the little pool at sunset in winter
Sitting in the little pool at sunset in winter

One of my favorite little pit stops on the way north out of Vegas is this little hot spring pool just outside Goldfield, on the way to Tonopah. It’s a small tub, maybe big enough for 4 people to share cozily, with a view of the surrounding high desert.


The pool is made of mossy concrete, which can be slippery, and has a built-in bench big enough for 2 friendly people to sit on together. The water comes in fairly hot, but the temperature of the pool can be adjusted by diverting the pipe carrying the water from the source up the hill.

abandoned concrete building up the hill behind the springs
abandoned concrete building up the hill behind the springs

This little soak is technically on private land, but the owner allows people to use the springs and even to camp here overnight, as long as you clean up after yourself and camp a polite distance from the pool — there is plenty of flat ground in the area.

One caveat is that not all the citizens from nearby Goldfield have hot water in their homes, so sometimes you’ll see locals using this as a bathtub — even shaving in it, I’m told. But on all my visits, the water has seemed clean enough…and the flow of water from the source is heavy enough that it seems to flush out the pool well enough.

Overall, this is a GREAT overnight stopping point when heading north out of Vegas. It’s 7 miles off U.S. 95, but the road to get here is pretty good and mostly paved, so no high clearance/4WD needed. The road continues on past the springs to a working mine, so there is a bit of mine traffic — the occasional truck rumbling by, but nothing obnoxious.

And the stars are INCREDIBLE!

GPS: 37.824937, -117.337526

Wonderhussy rating: 10/10


These hot springs reports are fantastic! I am going to have to check these out. YouTube thought I might like your videos and from there I got to here. Just leaving a note here in a quiet spot. Ya your body is art too, I did notice 😉


love your blog and your attitude. I found you researching the Walker River springs. I’m surprised you haven’t been to Fish Lake Valley Springs yet which is just over the hill from this springs

some photos and that’s my RV

better photos with a nice sunset

anyway the few days I was there some nice people came by and we ended up have a great shroom party (I’m an expert on those) and listened to live concerts half the night. I finally got it set up to run almost all solar/battery with home stereo and Klipsch speakers for a good 12 hours

this springs you can camp anywhere and it’s easy to get to, but a bit out of the way, so it can have familys in RVs come through sometimes, but sometimes there’s nobody. Unfortunately I can only get out that way a few times a year. I live in SF so maybe next spring who knows

If you go through my flickr you’ll see I’m also a big fan of the desert and have been to a lot of places you have or close by. I like it better than the coast. Your recent blog about the ‘east of I-5’ thing is pretty close imho

Keep doing whatever your doing. It’s nice to see that. It’s better than boring SF..haha


Thanks, man! I’ve been to Fish Lake a couple times…I like it, but it can get really windy and full of rednecks with their loud toys!
A trip I’ve been wanting to do is to go up to Alkali for a night, then follow the road to Silver Peak, have a drink in the saloon, and come down into Fish Lake for a night…then a drink at the Boonies in Dyer, before heading home 🙂 Love all those weird little places!


I see a lot more of those rednecks with ATVs in other places like Sierra Nevada, other BLM lands like Wilson Canyon BLM – east fork Walker River

but I didn’t at Fish Lake, so I suppose it’s just lucky timing. The one good thing is being able to move away from that noise in most places is not too hard. Most of the time the ATV crowd doesn’t stay more than a few hours

There’s also some nice hot springs near Benton Crossing and some other nice ones up in Oregon

I wish there was a decent phone app map with GPS, but until there is, I may have to buy that book

btw, when I was at Fish Lake, somebody came buy who had just been to Alkali told me it was all muddy and messed up at the time. That’s the only reason I didn’t go there, but maybe it was just a fluke or he went to the wrong place..who knows. It looked OK in your video


here’s a new one for ya if you ever get further north. Surprise Valley, California, near the Nevada/Oregon border and it’s where a lot of burning man people from Oregon travel through – next town from eagleville is Gerlach

anyway, a number of hot springs are in the hot springs of the southwest book, which i now have a copy

one of them is Applegate Hot Springs (chicken springs) and up until last year nobody recommended it because it was too hot and not really a pool, but last year I did some digging and somebody else went even further and this is what it looks like now

water temp is perfect and easily adjustable. it’s not deep but two can easily submerge laying down, no bugs, the mud is like ash/mineral makes your skin silky smooth

and best of all, it’s not yet known even by locals who apparently haven’t gotten the word yet because I’ve been here 4 days and nobody has come by yet and I’ll be here till the end of september. It’s BLM land you can camp right at the springs

this more northern springs I prefer in late summer time. elevation 4500 feet, temps 70’s-80’s, no freeze yet. I’ll go south like Fish lake/tecopa more in winter time, february march

I had to say something because it’s so biuzaare. I’ve been to much more remote hot springs in Oregon like Willow Creek out of Denio and Bog and those places aren’t any better, but they are more crowded, just like Fish lake with familys and ATVS

but there is absolutely nobody here at Applegate and it’s easy to get to, and that just makes it unusual. here’s another link

great view of Suprise Valley too from here. when I first got here last year there wasn’t much in the way of soaking, that was true, but people have been slowly building it and now it’s much better- it’s just the few people have heard that it’s better


sorry to use this single post a.s a forum but I;m not on facebook/instagram and this is just not well known…can’t think of any place to post

a couple of updates. It appears the Leonards Hot Spring, which is almost just around the corner from the previously mentioned Applegate Hot Springs, less than 2 miles is now all private. I biked over there and ‘no trespassing signs’ all over, and somebody moved in with some trailers. one local described the owner as ‘quirky’, well either way Leonards, listed in the famous book, is no longer public

Meanwhile, Applegate is still on BLM land, but few people have seen the improvements and is now probably the last hot springs in Suprise Valley that is public and you can camp for free right on the spot. I’ve been to a lot of hot springs and this Applegate one is a rare find with all the combo of a good pool, no bugs, fee camping, and not yet popular/known

For years this hot spring was neglected and just a mudhole or too hot, but all the other hot springs in the valley have been slowly closed off/restricted in some fashion, probably because too popular, abused in some way, so now there’s not much left except for Applegate

Of course, BLM can also make restriction if people abuse this as well and it happens a lot in California, as opposed to Nevada, because there’s a lot more people in California

Here’s a new shot today of my happy feet in Applegate hot springs

this is literally part of the famous old west Applegate trail, lengthy BLM historical read from `1980

one of the best historical documents you will ever see about the old west emigrants. In fact, part of it is the Black Rock desert, where Burning Man takes place. Part of it is called the High Rock desert Emigrant Trail, which leads right into this hot springs

but there’s something even better than just the history and the hot springs. a couiple of locals came through on ATVs, just for a minute to explore the Applegate trail, which they, and apparently nobody else has in years. You can tell because the trail is overgrown in most places once you get about 1/2 mile up the hill. Very obvious nobody has gone over it in years

they were surprised when I told them there is a wild horse herd just 1 mile up the hill and they’ve been there for awhile, staying just out of sight of people, and sneaking drinks at night. It’s easy to miss if you’re in a car, but on a bicycle you can see and hear a lot more and that’s exactly what happened

and here they are from yesterday, within 1000 yards of Leonards hot spring, or nearly behind her tent/camper

from today, on the applgate trail, which goes up the hill from applegate hot springs and overlooks leanords hot spring property

if you look closely in the background you can just make out the two white dots at Leonards and the alkalai lake of Surprise Valley in the background. The is literally the last fenced property in California. the foreground is all BLM land into Nevada which is just a few more miles further up the hill

closeup of the wild horses

this is just a 15 minute walk from Applegate Hot Springs

not only do the locals not know Applegate Hot Springs has been worked on during the last year, but they also didn’t know about the wild horse herd just up the hill

sheesh…sometimes you just get fucking lucky 🙂


ps, the darker maned ones have some chracteristics of the famous ‘kiger mustangs’

look it up

Carl Metzski

There is another very neat hot spring near Sierraville, CA you may want to visit. (Wish I could remember the name! Getting old is a bitch!)

I have not been there in nearly 26 years, but it was very remote. Off CA 49, Lemon Canyon Road, then south on Deer Field Road about a mile. right fork about a half mile, parking on the left. (Just looked it up, looks like it went commercial, Campbell Hot Springs. Bet it is not free access as it used to be!)

When I was there the water was about 72 degrees. Can’t say if underground earth shifts has changed the water temperature flowing up from underground. Ledges to sit on on the east side. Mossy & slippery, drop off to about 12′ deep. about 12-15′ across. Great soak! That is how I remember it from 1991. Because it was a water supply for grazing livestock, it was requested no soap or detergents be brought into the pool. (I never do that with an outdoor spring!)

Desolate then, but cared for & respected by the visitors. No broken glass or toilet paper tissue on the ground.

Since then, I hope it remained this way! I hope no idiots took to breaking beer bottles in it! Went nude in there many times! Elevation: just under 5000′ (495x’) so in winter there, because of weather patterns & the way snow blows through the sierras, you are going to get deep snow in winter. Very damned cold in the mornings in fall & spring, cool mornings in summer. Cold all fucking day & night in winter. Cockroach!


I have camped here several times. Note, the springs are on private property and so it is best to camp on the other side of the road.
It is almost certain that you will see wild horses and burros as the sun sets. This is the only watering hole for miles around.
Another great place (no hot springs) nearby is gemfield – turnoff 95 about two miles closer to Goldfield.

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