San Antonio Hot Springs
This one is by far the best natural hot springs we had been to, the best and also the last hot springs we visited on our 5-month road trip. It is located in the San Antonio Mountains, about 2.5 hours north of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
From researching on the web, you can drive all the way on a main road until you had to make a turn into a narrow mountain road. From there, the hot springs is 5 miles away. It is suggested that you are driving a 4×4 or high-clearance vehicle, or you can choose to hike the mileage. We chose the latter of course because there is no way we want to risk our home-on-wheels.
I am pretty sure we were the only ones who chose to hike the 5 miles that day. We saw no other person on the road, but a few cars drove passed us. Sedans, camper vans, going at 5 mph snail speed. We thought to ourselves, maybe our minivan could have survived the huge potholes and cracks on the road. Oh well, too late. The walk was a very slight and gradual downhill all the way and it took us 2 hours. There was snow on the ground and it was definitely a chilly walk.
The hot springs was so worth the cold hike! The water was comfortably hot. The tubs were very clean and clear. The hottest tub was at the top with hot water rushing out from three pipes, then the water cascaded down to a few more tubs. There were surprisingly a good amount of people in the end of December. We started from the bottom tubs and lower temperature. As people left, we worked our way up to the top and hotter tub. We soaked there for a long time while eating snacks and enjoying the mountain views. Nothing could be better.
We chatted with a lady who lives in New Mexico. She gave us a little history on the four corner states and the remains of the ancient Pueblos in the area. It is always best to learn about the culture and area from the locals. Thinking about the 5 miles trek back we had to make to get out, we finally and reluctantly got out of the hot springs and changed back to our clothes. You know a hot spring was great if you could dry off and put clothes on without shivering like crazy.
The trek out was colder than the way in because my hair was wet. I think it had been frozen after a little while. My body lost the heat from the hot springs fairly quickly. We secretly hoped that a car would pass by on the way out and kindly offer us a ride. But sadly we were the only souls, we did not see any other person nor cars. We thought, wow, everyone must be really enjoying themselves in the hot springs and did not want to leave. I mean if I could, I would stay there as long as I can too.