Mike’s Blog: The Hot Springs of New Mexico
May 20, 2014
Among the many natural resources the state has to offer, few are as conducive to well being as the hot springs. Soaking in hot, natural waters, is one of the primal pleasures of humanity – a pleasure shared by many cultures, and even other species, as seen in the Macaque monkeys of Japan.
Some of New Mexico’s most fabled hot springs are found in the Jemez mountains, the resort town of Ojo Caliente, the historic pools of Montezuma near Las Vegas, and the artesian springs of Truth or Consequences. A brief description of them should help the visitor decide which of these unique offerings might best fit their needs or itinerary.
Ojo Caliente is a true jewel of a town, located about 50 miles north of Santa Fe. Named by the early Spanish explorer Cabeza De Vaca, the earliest description dates to the 16th century.
“The greatest treasure I have I found these strange people to possess,” De Vaca wrote, “are hot springs which burst from out of the foot of the mountain…. so powerful are the chemicals contained in this water that the inhabitants believe they were given to them by the gods.”
Nestled in, and fully a part of the landscape, the hot springs of Ojo Caliente offer much to appeal to the visitor. The historical amenities offered by the resort include several buildings entered in the National Registry of Historic Places. These include the famous ‘Round Barn’ who’s unique architecture and design remain remarkably appealing to the visitor.
The hot waters of the town of Jemez Springs have tempted Santa Feans to make the trip for decades. Named for the nearbly Pueblo of Jemez, the small town offers numerous springs and bathhouses. The atmosphere of the Jemez Valley is a special and spiritual one, being home to both Catholic monasteries and Zen Buddhism centers.
Retreats and spas are found throughout the valley, including a village owned non-profit spa whose proceeds are invested within the community. The Jemez Bath House is over a hundred years old and remains a hub for community life.
Visitors can also find numerous free natural springs throughout the valley and are advised to check visitor reports for current conditions here.
Truth or Consequences has become synonymous for misguided civic boosterism. Originally named Hot Springs, after the myriad natural pools and springs, the city changed its name to that of a popular Radio show in 1950 as an effort to boost tourism. The town contains numerous resorts and baths, though there are significantly fewer than there used to be. Before World War 2, there were around 40 registered spas. Today there are ten, all featuring the minerally rich and complex waters of the region.
Many of these resorts can be found here, and a discerning traveler should be able to find “The cure for what ails them” through judicial booking and soaking.
As you can see, New Mexico has many geothermal amenities for the visitor. Assistance with booking or visiting any of these locations can be obtained through the Inn on the Alameda. We can’t wait to hear about your epic NM hot spring soaks!