As those who have felt earthquakes in northern Nevada know, the Reno area is geologically active. One of the more pleasant and useful manifestations of this activity is hot water -- specifically, hot water that is found in numerous hot springs around the region. While some are hot enough to foster a thriving geothermal energy industry, several others have been tapped to provide soothing soaking pools and health spas for people to enjoy.
California's Grover Hot Springs State Park is a short drive from Minden/Gardnerville, Nevada. It is located in Alpine County, California, four miles west of the little town of Markleeville. In the 1800s, the site sported a popular resort. Today, the hot springs are used to fill a pool that is open to the public for soaking. There is an adjacent cool pool for those who like to take a bracing plunge after a spell in the hot water. There are men's and women's dressing rooms and restrooms. The pool area is surrounded by a fence and open to the sky.
The 700-acre park is at an elevation of nearly 6,000 feet in Hot Springs Valley. It is in the forest and surrounded by lofty Sierra peaks, affording stunning views while you soak. Summers are pleasant, but it is snowy and quite cold in the winter.
The hot springs are open every day from June through August. From September through May, the pools are closed on Wednesdays, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.
Steamboat Hot Springs Healing Center and Spa is just south of Reno on Old U.S. Highway 395. This hot spring has been around for a long time and is a Nevada registered historic landmark. In addition to the hot mineral water soaking tubs, Steamboat Hot Springs features alternative health treatments like aromatherapy, massages, facials, detoxifying mud wraps, light therapy, and energetic healing. Steamboat Hot Springs is south of the Mount Rose Highway on the east side of old U.S. 395.
If you want a more upscale place to soak,1862 David Walley's Hot Springs Resort is for you. The resort features overnight accommodations and ownership opportunities, along with the hot springs and other facilities. The 1862 Restaurant & Saloon is the place to go for good food and drink after a day soaking in the hot springs.
For day-use, Walley's has a big hot springs pool and six surrounding small spa-type pools. All of the pools are outside and open to the sky. There is a steam room, sauna, restaurant, fitness room, and a playground, among other amenities. There is a fee for daily use of the hot springs, and various massages and other spa services are available at additional cost.
1862 David Walley's Hot Springs Resort is in the Carson Valley, just north of Genoa on Nevada Highway 206.
While you're at Walley's, take some time to hike the Genoa Vista Trail. This scenic path runs between the resort and the historic town of Genoa, and it has expansive views of the Carson Valley and lots of bird-watching opportunities.
Carson Hot Springs Resort is a historic place that has been in business since the 1800s. Before white settlers arrived, Native Americans in the area made use of the healing waters. Today, Carson Hot Springs Resort is in Nevada's capital city and still offers visitors a soothing soak in a warm mineral water pool. There are no overnight accommodations, but efficiency apartments are rented on a monthly basis. The rate of flow is such that no city water or chemicals are needed. The pools are drained and refilled every day. Carson Hot Springs Resort has a large outdoor pool and several private spa rooms. It is located at 1500 Old Hot Springs Road in Carson City. Take the College Parkway exit from U.S. 395 to reach the resort.
Sierra Hot Springs Resort and Retreat Center, near Sierraville, California, is operated as a non-profit retreat. To use the hot soaking pool and other amenities, at least one person in a group of visitors must be a member. The good news: You can buy a membership by the month.
Sierra Hot Springs is in a secluded, peaceful setting with a large outdoor pool and a smaller, hotter "quiet" pool inside a geodesic dome. Clothing is optional in both areas, and the dressing rooms are co-ed. There is a hotel at Sierra Hot Springs, and the Philosophy Cafe at the resort offers up food and drink Friday through Monday. Sierraville also has three restaurants. There is a campground suitable for RVs, but there are no hookups. Before going, you should familiarize yourself with the atmosphere you will be entering.
Sierra Hot Springs Resort and Retreat Center is north of Truckee, California, from California Highway 89.