Northern Arizona is known for its mountainous landscape, so escaping to one of the hot springs close to Flagstaff is a great way to relax. These resorts and primitive pools are also among the closest ones to Sedona as well.
Even though the nearest locations are all a few hours away, visiting one of these thermal waters can be a fun day trip to soothe sore legs after some skiing or hiking. Both resort-style and natural hot springs are accessible from northern AZ and open all year long. Consider basing at one of the campgrounds near Flagstaff for an affordable and picturesque place to stay.
Here are the nearest springs to Flagstaff and Sedona, AZ, *in order of proximity:
*mileage and time from Flagstaff and (Sedona in parenthesis)
Verde Hot Spring – 102 mi (73) | 3 hr 30 min (3)
Note: Due to recent wildfire and construction, the roads to these springs have been reportedly closed off and on throughout 2021 and 2022. While the springs aren’t closed, it is a several-mile journey on rough roads, so walking would be an unlikely option. Check the status of the paths before attempting to visit.
Flagstaff’s nearest hot springs are only a little over 100 miles south of the city, but its rural location is what makes traveling there a challenge. Verde Hot Springs was once a resort in the 1920s, and all that’s left of it are ruins that include a few walls, steps, and enclosures for the pools. However, the difficult path to these waters is worth the trouble and features soaking areas that range from 92° to 104 °F.
One of the popular places to get in the water is the art gallery room, an open-air cement space that features colorful drawings around the pool. The largest place to soak is in the outdoor pool by the river. Visitors interested in camping can stay up to five days at the Childs Dispersed Camping Area, but be aware that there are no amenities other than a vault toilet.
Castle Hot Springs Resort – 138 mi (109) | 2 .5 hr (2)
Located just north of the Phoenix area, Castle Hot Springs Resort is a luxury boutique property that provides guests with an all-inclusive stay. Access to the hot springs and facilities is only for overnight stayers, but having the time to unwind and enjoy the resort entirely is key.
This oasis also features five-star dining with fresh ingredients and numerous daily activities like hiking, Via Ferrata, biking, boating, archery, water aerobics, and more. For a slower-paced itinerary, check out their wellness and spa menu for lists of treatments.
Castle Hot Springs Resort has three natural soaking pools set in a desert canyon environment under canopied palm trees. The top pool is the warmest at 106 °F, the middle collection is a temperate 96 °F, and the third pool is a refreshing 86 °F. Free-flowing from the Earth below, these waters are a healing elixir loaded with lithium, magnesium, and bicarbonates, great for lifting moods and relieving physical pain.
The cozy lodging options at the resort are a treat on their own and include their sky view cabins, spring bungalows, and three-room cottage.
Kaiser Hot Springs – 170 mi (147) | 2.5 hr (3)
Set a little over 60 miles south of Kingman, Kaiser Hot Springs is a rural, small springs pool that makes a nice treat after a hike in Warm Springs Canyon. The water is about 99°F right at the source where it gushes out of the rock, but most of the pool hovers around 93°F. While the pool isn’t large enough to swim in, it is about calf-deep and suitable for sitting down and soaking.
Visitors have to hike a trail 1.5 miles each way to reach Kaiser Hot Springs, taking roughly an hour out and back. Wildlife sightings like burros and horses are possible in this area, so keep an eye out. This hike and pool are more enjoyable during the spring or fall months when it isn’t as hot outside, and camping is available nearby at the Burro Creek Campground.
El Dorado Hot Springs – 187 mi (157) | 3 hr (2.5)
El Dorado Hot Springs is a rustic, privately-owned soaking facility that is famed for its high alkaline water and clothing-optional pools. This is a no-frills springs resort with tubs made out of large rocks, but the views of the quiet surrounding environment are astounding. Guests can choose to pay for a public or private session, and visitors that want to spend the night can camp in their RV or tent.
There are numerous pools that keep a temperature around 100-107°F, but this varies depending on the season. Arizona is a naturally warm state most of the year, so soaking in hot water might be best done in the fall, winter, or early spring. The source of the water runs at about 111°F, and the minerals in it have been said to leave skin feeling silky after about just 30 minutes.
Essence of Tranquility – 258 mi (250) | 4.75 hr (4.5)
The Essence of Tranquility is both a day-use and overnight hot springs facility with six tubs, five of which are private and clothing-optional. The rustic yet welcoming environment is a great place to unwind in a semi-primitive setting.
Water temperatures range from 98-105°F, and guests can book a one-hour session or purchase an all-day pass. Visitors are asked to come in groups no larger than four people and bring their own towels; everyone must be at least 12 years old.
If you want to make an overnight trip of it, lodging is available in the form of private casitas, hostel-style bunks, or tent camping at on-site spots. The casitas have a few amenities like heating, air conditioning, nice beds, and WiFi in the communal living room.
No RV camping is permitted on the property and no walk-ins for lodging. Guests can come spontaneously to soak for the day, but staying at the facility requires advanced reservations.
Kachina Mineral Springs – 258 mi (251) | 4.75 hr (4.5)
Kachina Mineral Springs is a spa facility that offers hot mineral water soaks for parties of one to three people, massages, reflexology services, and other treatments. Individual and couple packages are provided for those looking for a retreat that comes with an avenue to decompress. Multiple session packages are available too.
For the hot springs, baths, towels, and drinking water is provided for guests. The tubs are indoors and private, allowing users to completely relax and let their minds drift off to other places. The property is child-friendly, and appointments are easily made online for all service options.
Even though Arizona is known for its heat, these steamy springs are excellent choices for soaking in a different type of warmth. Whether you have sore muscles, a stressful month, or just looking for something different to do, any one of these springs locations will hit the spot.