The road to the hottest spring in Arizona is thoroughly destroyed by flash flood.
Scalding water at 180 degrees F gushes in the remote area.
Morenci is a mining town in the eastern Arizona, near the border with New Mexico.
There is one of the largest copper mines in North America, which is possessed by Freeport-McMoRan (72%) and affiliated companies of Sumitomo Metal Mining (28%).
You will see many special-purpose vehicles as large as a house crossing a street.
Used to be Vacation Destination
There remains an old hiking spot that was popular among miners of Morenci Operations started the business in 1872.
It is 30 minutes' drive from the mine to south for finding Gillard Hot Springs Road.
Going west along the dirt road, it is blocked with a barbed-wire fence.
You need to get out the car here, duck under the fence, and move forward.
By the way, one of the most likely causes of death in the desert is said to be drowning.
Due to the lack of water retaining capacity, a heavy rainfall can easily causes flash flood, failing to penetrate into the soil.
The torrent washed out the road and created a slot canyon.
The hot spring that used to be a miners' hiking spot is hardly forgotten in this way.
It is easy to jump ten feet down to the bottom, but looks like difficult to climb it for the return journey.
Getting anxious, go downstream the dried-up canyon.
It is not as beautiful as the popular scenic site, Antelope Canyon, but the structure is quite similar.
Rocks and stones are roundly eroded, which means gallons of rainwater rush to the narrow canyon.
This is the riverside of the Gila River.
It is the middle stream as New Mexico is the upper reaches of the river.
There are no artificial structures except a signboard that alert the scalding water.
Finally, you reached the destination.
The bank near the water surface is tarnished by the hot spring deposits.
The length is around 150 feet along the river, and boiling hot water is gushing widely.
It has no particular smell.
When reaching it, I got burn injury as expected.
The water is 180 degrees F at the gushing point, and not uniformly mixed with the river water.
The amount of river water is too much to be heated to comfortable temperature for dipping in, which is the different situation from Turkey Creek Hot Springs.
What is worse is a little bit muddy river water.
It cannot be said an ideal soaking, but hot spring maniacs must visit here because of the scalding water and brightly colored deposits.
Gillard Hot Springs, Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area, Arizona, U.S.
- Walk-in: Yes
- Lodging: No