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Ringbolt Hot Springs, also known as Arizona Hot Springs, is located in Lake Mead Recreational Area bordering Nevada. It is one of the most popular natural hot springs in Arizona that guarantees a full-day adventure with your loved ones, no matter how you choose to access it.
Whether you are looking for a hiking adventure or love soaking in the best hot springs, in this guide, we share all the ways to access Ringbolt Hot Springs, the best time to visit, and helpful tips for a fantastic trip.
If you are specifically looking for something in central Arizona, check out this guide to the best swimming holes in Sedona, or better, cool off at the best Arizona swimming holes this summer.
OVERVIEW OF RINGBOLT HOT SPRINGS, LAKE MEAD RECREATIONAL AREA
- Elevation – 750 to 1,545 feet
- Temperature – 95°F to 110°F
- Hiking distance – 6.4 miles in total or 11.6 miles in total, depending on the trail
- Duration – 6 to 7 hours
- Difficulty level – Moderate/Difficult
- Location – near Hoover Dam, Lake Mead Recreational Area
- Best season – October to May
- Trail closing Period – Annually May 15 to September 30
- Permit Required – No
- Pet Friendly – Yes
- Family Friendly – Yes
- Camping Available – Yes
- Entry Fee – $25 per vehicle
Located in Lake Mead National Park at the border of Arizona-Nevada along the Colorado River in the middle of the desert, Ringbolt hot springs offer splendid views of Arizona slot canyons, the stunning Colorado River, and the unique vegetation, wildlife, and wilderness.
Ringbolt has a sizzling temperature of 85 to 120 degrees or 110 F year-round. Ringbolt Hot Springs comprise four pools separated by rocks, located about 1,000 feet from the Colorado River and a gorgeous 25-foot waterfall surrounded by the high walls of the Canyon.
Temperatures cool slightly by the time it reaches and disperses through the other three pools.
The bottom two pools are located near the Colorado river and offer some magnificent views of canyons and the river, while the top two are accessible by ladder. You will first see the first two pools and then climb the ladder to view the other two.
WHERE ARE RINGBOLT HOT SPRINGS?
Ringbolt Hot Springs is located on the Colorado River south of the Hoover Dam, near river mile 59.75. The hot springs are inside a narrow slot canyon and can be accessed in many ways, all of which are covered in detail further in this guide.
THINGS TO KNOW WHILE VISITING THE HOT SPRINGS
CHECK THE SEASON
It is best to check the weather and the opening details of Ringbolt Hot Springs, as a few of them may be closed due to repairs or during the very hot days of the summer months.
Also, flash floods happen here frequently. Avoid the hike if there is rain or thunderstorms.
WEAR COMFORTABLE HIKING SHOES
Wear comfortable hiking shoes with good traction to conveniently tackle the slippery sections and places you need to scramble. . Carry water shoes, a pair of sandals and hiking boots to alternate between them as the terrain changes.
BRING SNACKS AND SUNSCREEN
Since most trails are exposed with little or no shade, carry and drink lots of water to stay hydrated. Carry sunscreen, a hat, glasses, snacks and anything else. Also, even if you plan on returning before the sun sets, it’s always a good idea to have a headlamp.
KEEP AN EYE ON THE TIMEZONE
Since Ringbolt Hot Springs are near the Nevada-Arizona border, the time zone may change back and forth depending on the time of year, as Arizona does not observe daylight savings.
PRACTICE LEAVING NO TRACE
Natural hot springs are one of the fragile areas in the environment, and as with anywhere outdoors, practice Leave No Trace principles, including cleaning up after yourself, staying in the designated trails, and not touching or harming the surrounding natural things in and around Arizona hot springs.
If you are going to camp or picnic, make sure you dispose of waste properly.
There is no trash collection at many public hot springs, so ensure you take all trash with you.
WATCH OUT FOR DANGER
You may see rattlesnakes and giant lizards along the trail, especially in warmer weather. Stay away from thorny vegetation and keep an eye on reptiles.
Some hot springs in Ringbolt Hot Springs allow nudity or are clothing-optional pools. Hence it is common to find people enjoying the baths in their birthday suits.
People going nude are respectful and give you privacy, but if you plan to visit with kids or feel uncomfortable, it is better to know this before your trip.
You can enjoy it with your swimsuit on if you are not into going clothing optional, which is completely fine.
If the tub is tiny, wait until there is appropriate personal space for all involved. If you use your camera in the pool, wait until the naked visitors are away from the lens.
EXPECT AND BE READY FOR THE CROWDS
Despite its difficult accessibility or weather, many hot springs in Arizona are crowded most days, especially during the holidays and peak months. So although you may wish to have these hot springs to yourselves, it may not be practical in reality.
It is best to wait for other visitors to leave if you wish to have some space, but you need to be patient and also, keep in mind that you need to do the same and let other travelers soak once your time is up.
STICK TO THE TRAILS
Although you can venture around the hot springs to some distances, it is not suggested to wander off too further as there are no trails and the ecosystem is fragile and sensitive.
Keep to the trails and look for markers when you go around the springs, especially if you are here during the night.
DO NOT TAKE A BATH IN THE SPRINGS
Although it goes with saying, the natural hot springs are not where you take a bath. They are for soaking and hence please do not use soaps or any chemicals while in the pool.
The minerals in the water are wonderful for our bodies, and they are located in a sensitive terrain, and it is best left that way.
Plus, although rare, hot springs in Arizona like anywhere else can sometimes be home to the rare but terrifying bacteria, Naegleria fowleri, which can be deadly as it eats the brain if entered through your nose.
PLAN IF YOU WANT TO HAVE A PRIVATE EXPERIENCE
If you want to have some time alone in a hot spring, it is best to get there very early, an hour or so before sunrise.
Not only will you be able to witness the dramatic sunrise, but you will also get to enjoy the hot springs all by yourself.
It may not be the case exactly though if you are here during the weekends or the peak weeks of holidays as you will probably encounter a few fellow early morning birds but soaking in peace is possible on weekday mornings.
REGULATING AND TESTING WATER TEMPERATURE
Before immersing yourself wholly into the pools, it is best to test the waters for the temperature.
If previous visitors have not turned off the valve for higher temperatures, it is highly possible that the water may be burning hot.
Most of the pools have valves to regulate temperatures so you can control them as per your comfort level, but make sure you do not leave it too hot for the next visitors.
WEATHER CAN CHANGE
The weather gets unpredictable irrespective of the seasons. Expect winds, hot sun, or even a cold breeze when exploring Arizona hot springs.
Be prepared by packing layers ideal for all unexpected weather changes to comfortably enjoy your hot springs trip.
NO PUBLIC BATHROOMS
Many of these hot springs in Arizona do not have bathrooms, so you will have to go before you visit or go out in nature, especially if you have had too many beers or water.
There are also no changing rooms, so keep that in mind if you plan to wear swimsuits.
Since many of the Arizona natural hot springs are compact, you may share your soak with other travelers.
It may not be to your liking, but instead of being hostile, you have the option of waiting out until you are by yourself, or you can join them and make new friends.
If you are particular about enjoying the hot springs privately, aim to visit before and around sunrise when there is a high possibility.
THE BEST TIME TO VISIT RINGBOLT HOT SPRINGS
The best time to visit Ringbolt Hot Springs is between October and May, the ideal conditions for the water flow in the Colorado River.
Note that since the trail gets very hot in the summer months, it is closed from May 15 to September 30 for safety.
Although it is possible to reach the hot spring and enjoy soaking in a few hours, it is best to spend a whole day experiencing Ringbolt Hot Springs, completing the hike and soaking in the pools surrounded by beautiful landscapes.
Note that there are no restrooms or amenities here. Carry your food, snacks, water, swimming suit and anything else.
HOW TO REACH RINGBOLT HOT SPRINGS
GETTING TO THE TRAILHEAD
Ringbolt Hot Spring is located about an hour from Las Vegas in neighbouring Nevada, the nearest city, and about 4 hours from Phoenix in Arizona. (263 miles).
There are many fantastic day tours to Ringbolt Hot Spring from Las Vegas.
The parking lot to the trailhead is located along US Highway 93. On your Google Maps, look for “White Rock Canyon Trailhead” and follow the route, which will take you to the correct parking lot and the trailhead to Ringbolt Hot Springs.
This medium-sized parking can accommodate 50 to 60 cars, so get there early during the high season. There is no parking fee. There are no amenities, including no restrooms, so plan accordingly.
3 WAYS TO ACCESS RINGBOLT HOT SPRINGS
Ringbolt Hot Spring can only be reached in the following three ways.
- On foot by hiking through the canyon on one of the two trails
- Paddling downstream by renting a kayak or canoe from Willow Beach, 8 miles upriver. ($25 per vehicle entry). No permit fee. Boat and kayak rentals are available at Willow Beach, but it is best to book in advance.
- Float down the waters of the Colorado River for 4 miles from the Hoover Dam. (A permit needs to be taken first, and there is a fee).
No matter how you arrive, you will be rewarded with fantastic views of the Colorado River and cooling off by soaking in the pools overlooking the water and the canyons.
You can also camp at the base of the Colorado River overnight or raft a boat on weekends.
But since it is located in a slot canyon, it is always wise to check the weather beforehand if you wish to camp overnight, as flash floods are frequent in this area.
REACHING RINGBOLT THROUGH HIKING
Two trails lead to Ringbolt Hot Springs – Arizona (Ringbolt) Hot Spring Trail and the White Rock Canyon Trail. You can choose from either of them as a single trail and hike out and back.
Or, it is possible to do both as these two trails connect to make a 5.8-mile loop called the Arizona Hot Spring Loop Trail Loop.
Arizona (Ringbolt) Hot Spring Trail is more crowded, at a higher elevation and feels more accessible than the White Rock Canyon trail due to a lot of gravel and secluded location.
The White Rock Canyon is a beautiful trail taking you through many slot canyons, small waterfalls, stunning views of the Colorado River, and many distinct desert plants, including cheese bush, Mormon tea, rabbitbrush, desert fir, and globemallow.
It is a moderately complex trail, as there is a lot of gravel. Wear waterproof shoes.
If you come from this White Rock Canyon Trail, you will have to climb a 20-foot ladder to access the top two pools, and it can be slippery, so watch out.
Note that this trail is closed during the peak of the hot season, between mid-May through September.
As you leave the parking lot, whether you take the Ringbolt Hot Springs Trail or White Rock Canyon Trail, both will head down the same path for the first 0.5 miles until you reach a small fork.
To take the White Rock Canyon Trail, head to the right. To take the Arizona Hot Springs Trail, go left.
Once you take a right to get on the White Rock Canyon Trail, keep going until you come across the wash, from where you will scramble. You will come across the Colorado River in about 2.5 miles.
At the river, take a left to continue on the White Rocks Canyon Trail going through many rocks and washes. Throughout the trail, you will find yellow arrows on the canyon walls or metal trail signs to help you stay on the right path, so look for them.
After a while, you will come upon a twenty-foot ladder leading you to the four hot springs. This is the tricky part to consider while choosing between the two trails.
If you are taking the White Rocks Canyon Trail, you will have to climb this ladder to access the pools, while if you take the Ringbolt Hot Springs trail, it will be the opposite; you will climb down the ladder to get to the hot springs.
To most visitors, climbing up feels safer as the ladder is reinforced at the top with a slack rope to help you climb over the top and keep the ladder in place.
There are four hot springs at the top, the first being the coolest and temperatures increase as you go to the others. The first two pools are smaller than the other two pools.
If you want a change in the landscape, take the Ringbolt Hot Springs trail to the parking lot. Unlike the White Rock Canyon Trail, which has gravel, this trail is primarily sandy but steep, so watch your steps and take breaks.
CAMPING AT RINGBOLT HOT SPRINGS
There are some dispersed campsites near the Colorado River. It gets crowded on weekends, so it can be hard to find a spot as there is no charge for these primitive sites. There are two vault toilets south of the beach and no drinking water or other basic amenities.