Photo courtesy Ojo Caliente
The City Different has its share of luxurious spas. Known as an alternative healing oasis, it also has a handful of natural soaking pools within a stone's throw.
Natural Hot Springs
An ancient volcanic field in north-central New Mexico hosts a long-lived geothermal system that burbles to the surface via natural pools in the town of Jemez Springs, 72 miles west of Santa Fe. The Valles Caldera National Preserve, along State Route 4 en route to Jemez Springs, is evidence of that volcanic past, as are several primitive hot springs in the Jemez Mountains. Spence Hot Springs, McCauley Warm Springs, and San Antonio Hot Springs reward hikers with relaxing soaks beneath towering ponderosas. In town, the Jemez Springs Bath House pipes geothermal waters into concrete tubs. At Jemez Springs, home of the Giggling Springs, visitors soak in open-air turquoise pools along the Jemez River.
Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa
Even though this resort dates to 1868 and lays claim to being one of the oldest natural wellness resorts in the country, its history extends even further: The eight northern Pueblo communities have been soaking in sacred waters here for almost 3,000 years. Today, you're more likely to see travelers post-hike or après-ski gliding into the waters with four different kinds of minerals, all known to have various healing properties. If your trip coincides, don't miss December's blessing of the waters by Tibetan monks.
A sister property to Ojo Caliente, this integrative wellness resort has been a place of respite since the days of El Camino Real, a trading route between Mexico City and Spain's northern outpost, Santa Fe. Today this pajare is a one-stop shop to disconnect from the everyday and reconnect with yourself, whether through soaks in its natural springs, a sweat lodge, cooking classes, or puppy play sessions with future Assistance Dogs of the West. Chef Rocky Durham, a champion of local food, presides over the fresh flavors at resident Blue Heron Restaurant.
Ten Thousand WavesDesigned in the style of Japanese mountain hot springs resorts, Ten Thousand Waves offers outdoor hot tubs set among the piñons and junipers of the Sangre de Cristo Mountain foothills. Wraps, massages, and skin polishing are all on the menu at the resort's spa. Izanami, the on-site restaurant, continues the Asian inspiration with Japanese small plates and housemade sake.