Taos, New Mexico, is known for its steep, deep downhill skiing and amazing art scene. But those in the know skip the resort town and head for the banks of the Rio Grande River to bask in Black Rock Hot Springs’s warm, healing waters.
Here you can wall off your own ‘hot tub’ with rocks and sit in the river, soaking in 97-degree water with forests and mountains in sight. Many people dream of this pleasure, but only a few experience it.
It’s not called the Land of Enchantment for nothing. Let’s learn more about this mesmerizing place.
Where Are the Black Rock Hot Springs?
The Black Rock Hot Springs lie along the Rio Grande River about 8 miles west of Arroyo Hondo, N.M. You can easily access them from the resort town of Taos. These rock bottom pools sit in the run-off terraces of the Rio Grande, capturing water from hot springs at the bottom of each pool.
They stay around 97 degrees year-round. The two pools are quite popular but tricky to get to, making them an adult destination. The hike down a boulder field can be difficult for children.
How Do You Get to the Black Rock Hot Springs
Traveling from Taos, take US Highway 64 for 4.1 miles. Continue on Highway 552 north for 5.7 miles to County Road B006 (also known as Acequia Madre del Llano Road). And stay straight when Highway 64 turns left. Then turn left on County Road B006.
Follow it for 1 mile to County Road B007, then turn right. In .2 miles, you’ll travel over John Dunn Bridge and need to turn left after crossing it.
Travel to the parking area at the first switchback and hike down to the hot springs. It is best to leave the springs before sunset, as the trek back up the hill is difficult in the dark.
What Is There to Do at Black Rock Hot Springs?
Black Rock Hot Springs lies in a region well known for outdoor activities like skiing at Taos Ski Area, camping, rock climbing, and fishing along the Rio Grande River.
Hiking close to Black Rock Hot Springs is best done in the morning, as the Taos Mesa gets summer afternoon thunderstorms and plenty of lightning.
You can find several trails near this location, the most popular being the Rio Grande Gorge Trail. It’s 6 miles long and rated as an easy hike.
Or you can enjoy the Rio Grande Gorge West Rim Trail for a short but scenic walk of 3.7 miles. For a moderate hike, try the 4.1-mile La Junta and River Trail Loop or the Pescado Trail in the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument.
With various birds in the region, you’ll likely see several birds of prey, like hawks, eagles, falcons, and turkey vultures. Crows and their larger relatives, the ravens, join camp robbers looking for food.
And with the higher altitudes of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains nearby, you can see hummingbirds, tanagers, juncos, and grosbeaks.
Bring your binoculars and field guides to identify a wide variety of feathered friends in this area.
Sit in the Pools
Of course, the big draw on this trip is the two hot spring pools at Black Rock. A separate spring in each pool heats them; usually, the upper pool stays a little warmer than the lower one.
The pool’s water depends on the springs and the snow runoff in the Rio Grande River. This is because the springs sit a little higher than the river, so when the water level is high, the runoff terraces fill with water.
As summer goes on, the Rio Grande does not receive much more runoff, as snow in the high country has already melted. So late spring and early summer are probably the best time to visit Black Rock Hot Springs.
Traveler’s Tip: While in New Mexico make sure you catch a hot air balloon ride!
Where to Stay Near the Black Rock Hot Springs
Taos is less than 30 minutes away from Black Rock Hot Springs and has various lodging options. But resort prices can get pretty steep, so we found three options a little more budget-friendly.
Address: 137 Kit Carson Road, Taos, New Mexico 87571
About: The Casa Benavides Bed & Breakfast Inn consists of several historic adobe buildings just a block from renowned Taos Plaza. This three-star lodge has 37 private rooms with wood-burning fireplaces, and the nightly rates range from $130 to $180.
Amenities: The price includes a full gourmet breakfast. Additionally, the inn has two hot tubs, a massage room, free high-speed Wi-Fi, and cable TV.
Hotel Luna Mystica
Address: 25 ABC Mesa Road, El Prado, New Mexico 87529
About: This vintage trailer hotel and campground has an extraordinary collection of retro travel trailers available for nightly rent.
If you have ever wanted to camp in a Terry trailer, Avion, or Airstream, Hotel Luna is your dream. Pick a trailer, or bring your tent to camp just 7 miles from downtown Taos. Nightly rates start at $114.
Amenities: These renovated trailers have unique elements. These RVs are enchanting, from hammered copper sinks to tiled backsplashes and leather banquettes to parquet floors.
However, all 20 trailers have a few things in common. Each has a large deck with chairs outside and comes equipped with fine linen sheets, towels, and kitchenware.
Taos Valley RV Park
Address: 120 Este Es Road, Taos, New Mexico 87571
About: With 92 full-hookup and tent sites, Taos Valley RV Park can handle your camping needs. It’s only 3 miles from downtown Taos, with level campsites just off the main drag.
They offer nightly, weekly and monthly rates. And depending on the season, the cost per night runs from $32 to $54.
Amenities: Clean restrooms, showers, and a laundry room will help you enjoy Taos any time of year. The park lies a short distance from the Kit Carson Museum and a plethora of art galleries, restaurants, and shops.
Additionally, the Rancho de Taos and the San Francisco de Asis church of Georgia O’Keeffe fame sit 2 miles away.
Is Black Rock Hot Springs Worth Visiting?
If relaxing in nature’s handmade hot tub, surrounded by Northern New Mexico’s grand scenery, doesn’t sound enticing, you better check your relaxation meter. Black Rock Hot Springs has all the markings of an adventurous yet tranquil setting, complete with an envy-inducing outdoor location.
And it has just enough coolness to catch the attention of the masses. You’d better get there quick before they all beat you to it. Get ready to experience the beauty at these hot springs in the Land of Enchantment.
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