Side trips: Hot Springs, NC

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Hot Springs in North Carolina.


Located about 54 miles from our cabins (you can get there in less than an hour and a half during normal driving conditions), driving most of the way along RT 25, there is a small town of just over 600 residents - Hot Springs, NC. 



Hot Springs is located at the confluence of the French Broad River and Spring Creek. Did you know?

  • A natural hot spring located here is the ONLY such spring known in North Carolina and in much of the southeastern United States
  • Native Americans were the first to discover the spring
  • 100°+ Fahrenheit (about 37° Celsius) mineral waters are reported to have healing properties
  • European immigrants settled the area over 200 years ago
  • People were visiting the springs as early as 1778 for the waters' reported healing properties
  • In 1828 the Buncombe Turnpike was constructed through the current town,  making the area more accessible.


A little bit of Hot Springs History


By 1831, James Patton bought the springs and had built a 350-room Warm Springs Hotel with its 13 tall columns representing the 13 original colonies in 1837. The railroad reached the village - then called Warm Springs - in 1882. The hotel burned in 1884 after 46 years of operation, succeeded by another hotel called the Mountain Park, which was built in 1886. A higher temperature spring was found, prompting the changing of the town's name from Warm Springs to Hot Springs in 1886. It was known as one of the most lavish resorts in the Southeast, with its Sixteen marble pools that were surrounded by landscaped lawns with croquet and tennis courts. By May 1917, the hotel and grounds were leased to the US Government to be used as an internment camp. Many German and Italian internees, noncombatant aliens, made local friends and stayed in the region after World War 1. That hotel burned in 1920, and two more were built - neither as large and opulent and both later burned as well. 


Hot Springs Resort and Spa today.


Today, the springs are privately owned as a spa by Hot Springs Resort and Spa. We visited in the fall and it was a quiet, calming experience. Since we arrived early, we walked the grounds and sat by an outdoor firepit chatting with friendly visitors.  Hot Springs Resort and Spa offers per person as well group pricing by the hour. You can select Standard or Premium (with Premium is said to be private with a better view and larger decks). With 3 of us visiting, we chose the Standard package and still were able to enjoy privacy and a good view of the French Broad River. The baths are private Jacuzzi-style tubs that hold up to 5 people.

hot springs NC warm mineral water spa

Each tub is reserved privately by the hour. After you change in a dressing room, you are led to one of the gazebos enclosed on 3 sides, and one side facing the river or a creek. Hot tubs are built into wooden decks inside the gazebos,  with the hot natural mineral water flowing constantly to them from deep inside the earth. Each bath is drained and sanitized after each use. Hours may vary depending on the weather so you are better off calling ahead and making a reservation for your group. 


The Hot Springs area


The town itself is becoming ever more popular as a modern tourist destination, for aside from the springs, there is a lot of outdoor recreation in the area area. The Appalachian Trail runs along downtown's Bridge Street and climbs the mountains on either side of the river. Rafting and kayaking are popular on the French Broad River itself. There are numerous other hiking, mountain biking, backpacking, and sightseeing opportunities in the nearby Pisgah National Forest.


hot springs lovers leap view river town


From Ridge View Lodge  - link to the map

From Appalachian Escape - link to the map