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Review of Verde Hot Springs in Arizona PDF Print E-mail
Topics - Felicity's Nudist Blog
Written by Felicity Jones   
Thursday, 08 February 2018 01:15

Jordan and I needed our annual break from the harsh winter (the groundhog saw his shadow so only 6 more weeks, right?!), so at the end of January we flew from NY to Arizona!

Our goal was to do a lot of hikes and spend time in nature, and that we did while exploring the areas around Sedona and Flagstaff. I find the landscape, red rocks, desert and forests to be absolutely beautiful out there. And we haven’t even seen it in spring or summer yet. That will be for another trip!

Review of Verde Hot Springs in ArizonaStanding on the Verde Hot Springs ruins along the Verde River.

I hadn’t planned for any nudie excursions, partly because I wasn’t sure the daily temperature was going to get above 60 degrees north of Phoenix (this didn’t scare me, it was still warmer than NY). But as it turned out, a warm front swept in with plenty of sunshine and temperatures above average all over the state.

Then, thanks to some very nice friends on Twitter, we got a recommendation to visit Verde Hot Springs located in the Tonto National Forest in Camp Verde, Arizona. I had done research about hot springs in AZ a while back, and had come across this location, but thought it was swimsuits-required. Lucky for us, it’s more so clothing-optional!

We saw it wasn’t far from Sedona and found a free day for it in our week-long trip. Though we also knew it was a bit of a trek to get there. The highway part was easy, but from Hwy 260 it was a turn-off onto a bumpy dirt road for around 21 miles. We’d already done some heavy off-roading for a shorter hike to the famous Devil’s Bride in Sedona (not a fun drive – do the longer hike), so after that experience and getting advice from locals, we figured this must be doable for us.

Review of Verde Hot Springs in ArizonaA brief pause on our route to let the cowboys and their cattle herd pass by!

And the drive was fine. I’d still recommend taking a SUV with 4 wheel drive, but even a guy we met there got almost the whole way with a regular size car. The road is maintained and gets re-graveled periodically. There isn’t just hot springs around here but also other recreational areas for hiking, camping and swimming in this area known as “Fossil Creek” (a tributary of the Verde River). It also offers great views of the forest and mountains on the way down!

Review of Verde Hot Springs in ArizonaScenic views on the way to Verde Hot Springs in Arizona.

Verde Hot Springs has an interesting history – they were once part of a luxury resort built along the Verde River (hence its name) in the early 1900’s. It came after the construction of the now closed Child’s Power Plant. The resort was a famous destination for the wealthy but they ceased operations in the 1950’s. After several attempts made to reopen, it burned down in 1962.

Now all that remains are some concrete slabs from the foundation and the hot spring pools built into the cliffside across the river.

We parked down by the river, which I believe is also a camping area. Then we set off on a mile hike. There isn’t a clear path, so we had to kind of zig-zag our way through, but you won’t get lost as long as you keep following the river. (There is a road you can follow also – more on that later.)

Review of Verde Hot Springs in ArizonaFollowing a path along the river to Verde Hot Springs (sometimes there’s a clear path, sometimes there isn’t)

An easy sign that you’re in the right place is the sight of tall palm trees on the other side of the water! Planted back in the resort’s heydays. So then you have to swim or wade across the river to reach the old hot springs. Further upstream there’s an opening in the trees along the water where many people do the crossing. The water level can vary, and it’s a little off-putting when you can’t tell how deep it is. But on this day it came up mid-thigh on me. I rolled up my pants, went barefoot and carried my boots and bag (water shoes would be helpful here). The water was freezing and the current pulled at us, but we made it!

Review of Verde Hot Springs in ArizonaThe easiest place we found to cross the Verde River to the path on the other side, which leads to Verde Hot Springs!

Once you reach other side, it’s a short trail to get to the hot springs. What remains here are some concrete steps leading down to a platform and a few pools. The biggest one is in the open air against the rocky cliffside and is quite deep. Another pool next to it is smaller and shallow and surrounded by a rock wall. Next to that is an even smaller pool fit for one person. Then there’s one more small pool situated inside of a dark cave. Nobody went in that one.

Review of Verde Hot Springs in ArizonaSoaking in the main pool at Verde Hot Springs (photo courtesy of our friend Shaggy)Review of Verde Hot Springs in ArizonaRemaining decorated stone walls surrounding the middle pool

There is lots of colorful graffiti and artwork on the walls and on the old pillars – drawings, cartoons, odd and inspirational sayings. It is entertaining to read, and some of it’s pretty to look at. It all adds to the character of the place. A message on the big concrete steps instructs visitors: “Please paint only from your heart on man made walls. Thank You.”

Review of Verde Hot Springs in ArizonaConcrete steps in the ruins at Verde Hot Springs -“Please paint only from your heart on man made walls. Thank You.”Review of Verde Hot Springs in ArizonaThe hot springs middle pool with walls covered in paintings and artworkReview of Verde Hot Springs in ArizonaArtwork on the walls at the enclosed hot springs pool which has the Genesis 2:25 Bible verse quote on it – “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and are not ashamed”Review of Verde Hot Springs in ArizonaAlien face and other artwork on the wallsReview of Verde Hot Springs in ArizonaNaked Simpsons cartoon artwork on the wallReview of Verde Hot Springs in ArizonaThe walkway and entrance to the eerie looking cave pool

It was a warm day, but I was surprised to see about 6 people there over the course of our visit, seeing as this was in winter and a weekday. Just goes to show how popular this spot is, despite the patience required to reach it. Upon arriving we met two hippie wanderers and later a mermaid (!). A local friend who told me about Verde said he’s “never met anyone here who wasn’t cool.”

Review of Verde Hot Springs in ArizonaThe mermaid we met at the hot springs! (She’s on Instagram @missjumpinjackfruit if you want to follow her