McCauley Hot Springs

This is a naturally occurring hot spring near Jemez Springs and like all things occurring in nature instead of being packaged for our comfort and consumption, it requires LOTS and LOTS of TIPS!!!!!

TIP #1: There is a hike and anyone who tells you this is an easy hike spends way too much time at REI and is not to be trusted. It’s about two miles to the pools, and you turn and go right back instead of making a loop, and it’s decently steep and challenging due to the elevation. I went right after a snow so there was a lot of mud on the ground from melted snow which made it extra challenging. Additionally, there are few trail markers, so you’re basically intuiting from the path in front of you. It’s definitely an enjoyable hike AND I would also mentally prepare yourself. Make like an Asian mom and bring snacks.

TIP #2: This is technically a “warm spring”, the internet places the temperature at about 95 degrees F and it’s been cooling over the years. There are three different pools and they get slightly cooler with each downstream pool. It’s a fun time but in the winter, it’s hard to get your core temperature hot enough to offset freezing your ass off once you leave the spring.

The internet says this is fairly busy but when I went it was relaxed, there were only two other people and they were both hot springs junkies who recommended a hot spring in a cave up the road. It’s really lovely to be in the natural pools looking out into the mountains with no entry fee (except for $5 parking fee when the park is open), no built up area, minimal presence of capitalism et cetera. For those who are squeamish, there are minnows in the water that nip at your skin if you stay still, but I like to think of that as nature’s exfoliant.


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