It is not San Francisco, the metropolis famous for the Golden Gate Bridge.
San Francisco Hot Springs in the State of New Mexico is suitable for a single-day hiking.
Introductory Natural Hot Springs
Gila National Forest is the sixth largest National Forest in the continental United States, which covers the watershed area of the Gila River and a tributary, the San Francisco River.
It is 2.5 hours' drive from Wildwood Retreat in the riverside of the Gila River to the hot spring near the San Francisco River.
Some natural hot springs in the forest are challenging to reach; for example Jordan Hot Springs is difficult for a round trip in a day, and the path to Turkey Creek Hot Springs is almost disappeared.
San Francisco Hot Springs needs only 1.5 miles hiking on the other hand, so it can be said as an introductory natural hot spring.
At the trailhead in the end of a dirt road, there is a public restroom and a bulletin board.
According to the notice, you need to watch out for rattlesnakes, and the pools are clothing required.
Walking in the wilderness, you will look down the canyon of the San Francisco River.
Beyond this point, overnight camping is prohibited.
Walk down the slope to the wooded flood plain.
Indeed it has a steep slant, but the trail to be followed is clear.
You need to walk across the San Francisco River one time.
Normally it is safe enough, but head back to the trailhead, if the water level is high.
Bring Your Shovel
On the opposite side of the river, you will see algae with characteristic color in a water hole.
The water temperature is 107 degrees F.
Definitely, it is a warm spring, but is not suitable for soaking due to the lack of cleanliness.
You will find other three pools upstream.
The structure varies with conditions because the place is in the flood plain and goes under water when it rains.
It may be better to bring your own shovel in order to create your favorite outdoor tubs.
Due to the water stream, algae cannot be seen in the three pools.
Although they are located near the river, the warm water seems purely spring water straight out of the ground.
Unfortunately, I forgot bringing my shovel, so it was too shallow to soak comfortably.
The spring quality lacks distinction, and the temperature is around 104 degrees F.
I wondered if the bathing environment was more comfortable, but the fundamental problem was that I should have brought my shovel considering America’s DIY culture.
The pools were so primitive in comparison with the beautiful hiking trail that equips even a public restroom.
It is no wonder when considering that hot spring fans in the U.S. consist of many natural soakers who attach weight on how rich the natural environment along the way is and how a spring keeps as it really is.
San Francisco Hot Springs, Gila National Forest, New Mexico, U.S.
- Walk-in: Yes
- Lodging: No