Located just north of Jemez Springs, Spence Hot Springs is a small cluster of primitive hot springs found inside the Valles Caldera National Preserve. One of the more popular attractions in the area, these hot springs are found on a hillside overlooking the Jemez River and offer a vast view of the surrounding mountains.
They are relatively easy to access via a short hike from the parking area just off of Highway 4. Although Spence Hot Springs is not located in a town, its 7-mile proximity to Jemez Springs makes it an ideal trip if you’re staying there or passing through on your way to Los Alamos.
Guests of all ages are allowed to visit the springs during daylight hours, and leashed dogs are welcome as well. The springs are open all year round.
Spence Hot Springs Pools
Spence Hot Springs is configured in a three-tier manner, beginning with the upper spring that cascades down to the middle soaking pool. This middle pool also benefits from an additional water source that flows from inside a small cave opening.
For those willing to squeeze through the small space, the cave itself can comfortably accommodate a maximum of three people and offers the warmest and clearest water in the springs, typically maintaining a temperature of around 100°F.
The lowest soaking pool has a median temperature of around 95°F. It requires a steeper, quarter-mile trek to reach. Both pools have soft, sandy bottoms and plenty of flat boulders along the edges for sitting.
A maximum of 10-12 people can enjoy the soaking pools at any given time, so expect to either wait or share the pools with others during peak seasons.
(Note: As with most hot springs, visitors should avoid getting any water inside their noses due to the small risk of contracting a dangerous parasitic amoeba called Naegleria Fowleri.)
Camping and overnight stays are prohibited in Spence Hot Springs, but accommodations can be found nearby in Jemez Springs to the south and Los Alamos to the northeast. Albuquerque is roughly 1.5 hours to the south via Highway 4 and Highway 550.
The 0.7-mile moderate-level hike is part of the Spence Hot Springs experience. Visitors can park in the lot on the east side of Highway 4, and then follow the short trail down towards the river and up the other side to reach the springs. There are a few steep portions during the hike, but most will have an easy time navigating the trail.
Address: NM-4 E, Jemez Springs, New Mexico 87025
Pets: Yes, dogs must remain leashed at all times