7 Top-Rated Hot Springs in Washington

Written by Brad Lane
May 4, 2020

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From glacier-topped peaks to underground lava tubes, Washington is full of unique adventures. The state's several mineral-fed hot springs provide an iconic Pacific Northwest attraction everyone can enjoy.

The ease of access to these different hot springs varies from backcountry hiking to resort and spa visits, and each offers its own ambience and style, including clothing-optional policies at some.

Whatever hot spring you choose, if you do a little research and plan ahead, you can easily enjoy some of the nation's best geothermal attractions. Several of the best places to soak also cater to other adventures like hiking and camping. Some hot springs, like Sol Duc Hot Springs, have the entire Olympic National Park surrounding them.

Hot Springs are hot attractions in the state. They also represent a fragile environment. Whenever visiting a hot spring, whether commercial, wild, or with access granted on private land, it's important to tread lightly around these awesome attractions. Find the best places to visit and soak your cares away with our list of the top hot springs in Washington.

1. Goldmyer Hot Springs

Goldmyer Hot Springs
Goldmyer Hot Springs | hundertmorgen_ / photo modified

Nestled among the ancient forests of the Cascade Mountains near Snoqualmie Pass, approximately 45 minutes east of Seattle, Goldmyer Hot Springs is one of the best-kept geothermal gems in the entire state of Washington.

You have to work to enjoy Goldmyer Hot Springs though, and the 15-mile drive on a non-maintained, unpaved Forest Service road, plus the 4.5-mile hike into the wilderness to access the springs, helps to keep this hard to reach location in good condition.

As does Northwest Wilderness Programs, the nonprofit organization that maintains the springs via an innkeeper, who enforces low-impact policies to protect the fragile environment. Northwest Wilderness Programs limits use of Goldmyer Hot Springs to 20 people a day, and will turn people back if the space is full, making reservations a high recommendation for this geothermal attraction.

Reservations to visit Goldmyer Hot Springs can be made up to five months in advance. Camping is available near the hot springs among the giant trees that define the area. Camping is considered primitive, and visitors need to pack in (and pack out) all their own supplies.

Trail and road conditions to reach Goldmyer vary with the weather, and visitors should consult the official site before planning a trip.

Address: Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Goldmyer Hot Springs Trail, North Bend, Washington

Official site: http://www.goldmyer.org/

2. Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort

A bridge with a view of the Sol Duc Falls, near the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort
A bridge with a view of the Sol Duc Falls, near the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort

The Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort in Olympic National Park is perhaps one of the most appealing hot springs destinations in Washington. Not only is Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort easy to access and perfect for the whole family, but with the enormity of Olympic National Park surrounding the mineral pools, the hot springs are only a small part of an excellent adventure.

Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort offers cabins and one of the best campgrounds at Olympic National Park, the Sol Duc Hot Springs Campground. The facility also features three different mineral hot spring soaking pools and one freshwater pool. It also lends access to iconic hikes in and around the Sol Duc Valley, including the Sol Duc Falls Trail and Lake Crescent not far away. All pools are open to overnight visitors of the resort and the adjacent campground, and day passes are also available.

Address: Olympic National Park, 12076 Sol Duc Hot Springs Road, Port Angeles, Washington

Accommodation: Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort

3. Doe Bay Resort and Retreat

Doe Bay Resort and Retreat
Doe Bay Resort and Retreat | Chelsea Nesvig / photo modified

Doe Bay Resort and Retreat is your first-class ticket for everything the San Juan Islands has to offer. Located on Orcas Island in Olga, the waterfront soaking tubs and sauna are many people's centerpiece experience while visiting Doe Bay Resort. But the mineral baths are only a small part of the offerings at this natural resort.

The resort also features a one-acre organic garden that supplies the ingredients for the on-site Doe Bay Cafe. The facility also features a yoga studio to perfect your pose, as well as adventure opportunities like guided kayaking excursions in Puget Sound or hiking the nearby trails in Moran State Park. Accommodations at Doe Bay Resort include cabins, yurts, and waterfront campsites.

The Spa at Doe Bay has three outdoor soaking tubs, a dry sauna, and outdoor showers. All overnight guests at Doe Bay Resort have unlimited access to the spa tubs during operating hours. This part of the facility is clothing optional. Day passes are also available for $15 per person.

Address: 107 Doe Bay Road, Olga, Washington

Official site: https://doebay.com/

4. Olympic Hot Springs

Olympic Hot Springs
Olympic Hot Springs | Robert Ashworth / photo modified

For another option of hot springs while visiting Olympic National Park, the Olympic Hot Springs add more of a wilderness experience compared to the comfortable confines of the neighboring Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort. A similar resort operated on the Olympic Hot Springs until 1966, when the lease with the National Park Service (NPS) expired. Since then, the NPS has removed all man-made structures from the area, and hikers can access these natural hot springs via a 2.5-mile trail.

You won't find the same amenities at Olympic Hot Springs that you'll find at Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort, but for many, that's exactly what makes these natural wonders worth visiting.

The hike to Olympic Hot Springs starts in the Elwha Valley at the Boulder Creek Trailhead. The hike has very limited elevation gain, and the trail is wide. The pools of Olympic Hot Springs are not maintained by the park, and visitors should use caution when taking a dip.

5. Carson Hot Springs Resort

Panther Creek Falls near Carson Hot Springs Resort
Panther Creek Falls near Carson Hot Springs Resort

In the Columbia River Valley in southern Washington, Carson Hot Springs Resort takes tourists into the past and away from their present concerns. The facade of the hot springs resort and surrounding small town of Carson has received a few fresh layers of paint over the last century. Other than that and some modern renovations, not much else has changed in this rustic retreat and getaway.

Carson Hot Springs Resort offers all sorts of rooms, with a few containing personal mineral-fed hot tubs for private enjoyment. The 1930s bathhouse at Carson Hot Springs is an adults-only facility and features several tubs with mineral water pumped directly into the basins.

Carson Hot Springs Resort also features the 18-hole Elk Ridge Golf Course on the property. The surrounding Columbia River Gorge is worth exploring, including many of the best waterfalls in Oregon.

Accommodation: Carson Hot Springs Golf and Spa Resort

6. Scenic Hot Springs

Scenic Hot Springs, amid 40 acres that border the Alpine Lakes Wilderness just west of Stevens Pass, is a privately owned hot spring location with a long and continuing history in the state.

First recorded interest in the hot springs by our current civilization can be linked back to the construction of the nearby Great Northern Railway, and a resort was built around the hot springs in the late 19th century.

The lodge remained a commercial entity until the early 1920s and was nearly forgotten for 50 years, until new hot spring enthusiasts started seeking these soaking waters. Then problems with overcrowding and damaging the natural environment caused issues with local law enforcement and the private owner of the property. Within the past few years, new agreements have begun to open Scenic Hot Springs back up to the public.

Advance permission from the landowner is required to visit Scenic Hot Springs. The facility is limited to 10 people a day. You can gain permission to Scenic Hot Springs by visiting the Scenic Hot Springs site and filling out the necessary reservation request.

The history of Scenic Hot Springs is still in the making, so if you are granted permission to visit this natural attraction, be sure to pack out everything you bring in and help keep this pristine location open to visitors for years to come.

7. Gamma Hot Springs

Glacier Peak and Image Lake, near Gamma Hot Springs
Glacier Peak and Image Lake, near Gamma Hot Springs

Touted as the most remote hot springs in the state of Washington, Gamma Hot Springs isn't suited for your first ever excursion into the wilderness. Tucked amid the rugged Glacier Peak Wilderness, Gamma Hot Springs has a nearly mythic status. Even with the necessary equipment and experience in backcountry navigation to search for these geothermal diamonds in the rough, there is still no safe bet you'll find them.

However, if you do find Gamma Hot Springs, you'll most likely have it to yourself. Proper precautions and experienced route-finding abilities are needed to make the trek.

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imageOther Hot Springs to Explore: South of the state of Washington, Oregon might be the true Pacific Northwest hot spot for hot springs. Our guide to the best hot springs in Oregon lays out the top spots to soak in the state. For inland adventures, the best hot springs in Montana comprise several awesome commercial resorts and places for a weekend getaway.

imageMore to Explore in Washington: The state of Washington is stacked with adventure. Great places to start exploring are the several state and national parks in Washington. Likewise, the top hiking trails in the state also lead to some awesome places to visit. For overnight adventures, our guide to places to camp in Washington will have you pitching a tent under the stars in no time (or parking an RV).

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