I love hot springs. Something about sitting in the hot sulfur water that comes bubbling out of earth makes me feel connected to the earth. Probably it’s just the heat that makes me relax but mmm.. feels so good.
The Goldmyer hot springs are a lovely hidden gem in Washington state. In fact, I had lived here for two years before I even heard about it.
A friend of mine suggested we go on an adventure and seek out the springs. And of course I said yes.
Sometimes I really do think living your life like an improv sketch would make everyone’s life more interesting. Yes, and…
Anyway, from where we live in Leavenworth, WA, it’s a quite a drive. Took us two hours just to get to the exit, although from Seattle it’s about a 45 minute drive. (Exit 34 on highway 90). From here is where it starts to get tricky…
Apparently the road is freshly paved, making the 20 miles drive much more pleasant than before. There is still construction going on, and there are some nasty blind turns, so be careful and drive with caution. Most of these blind corners have a stop sign, so be sure to stop and check for oncoming traffic.
The road is paved for about 12 miles, but the last 8 miles are rough and bumpy. DO NOT DRIVE UP HERE WITH A LOW PROFILE CAR. They recommend 4 wheel drive as well. We pushed through and thankfully it wasn’t super wet, else we might have gotten stuck since we decided eehh.. whatever, who needs 4 wheel drive?
At one point we came to a massive puddle, so I hopped out of the car and walked through it in my boots, poking it with a stick to make sure it wasn’t too deep. Friendship.
Once you arrive to the trailhead at Dingford Creek, there are two trails.
Do not hike up to Dingford Lake!
This trail is more obvious with a big posted sign, but this DOES NOT lead you to the Goldmyer hot springs. At the end of the parking area is a gated road, for the Dutch Miller Gap Trail. This is the path you want.
It’s a 5-mile hike to the hot springs. So, it’s best to get up early and make your way there. Even at a good steady pace, the trail has a slight incline and it took us just under two hours to reach the springs.
Just before you reach the springs, there is a fork in the road (take it, hehe). Walk down, to the right, there’s a very not obvious sign posted on a tree that says “Goldmyer”.
We did not have a reservation.
This is a bad idea.
Thankfully, my friend and I were up for an adventure, and had we not been able to enter, we decided it was a nice 5 mile hike in the woods.
And we got to drive on the awesome paved road. Amazingly, there was space for the day, so we were able to enter. Hurrah!
There is no cell service anywhere near the springs, so definitely make a reservation before hand. We went on a Wednesday, so we had a higher chance of getting in last minute. Our expectations were to have an adventurous afternoon, and we had already decided not to be upset if we didn’t get to the hot springs that day. Always tomorrow…
If you do go without a reservation, be aware that you have to pay your $15 entrance fee in cash.
So imagine how delighted we were, that not only did we get to enter but WE HAD THE PLACE TO OURSELVES. There was a family at the springs when we arrived, but they were packing to leave as we got there. Apparently showing up at 2 o’clock in the afternoon means personal spa time.
Nudity is permitted at these springs, unless there’s a boy scout troupe or something similar there that day. Don’t want to frighten young children with nipples. We all know how terrifying they are.
However, since we were alone, my friend and I stripped down and enjoyed the hot springs au natural.
It was incredible. The springs are very small and intimate so it was difficult to imagine sharing the space with other people.
Only 20 people are permitted a day…
…but the two lower pools only fit about 2 people. Maybe three good friends. As it was, we felt like wood nymphs having a private conversation with Mother Nature about the beauty of the natural world.
There are three pools, one lower, one outside the entrance of the cave and then the cave itself, which has the most space. At first, looking into the cave is incredibly intimidating, as you can’t tell how far back it goes. I definitely had visions of strange creatures leaping out at me.
However, it only retreats about 20 feet, with a wooden plank at the back big enough for 2 people, if you’d rather get your sauna on, and out of the water for awhile.
We spent three hours there, luckily with the place to ourselves the entire time. It was such a treat, considering we our expectation was we were going to have an adventure that may or may not end in hot springs. Everything after the hike was a bonus. It might sound ridiculous, but I truly believe having low expectations leads to a happier life…
The river that runs next to the hot springs was RAGING while we were there. It’s tempting to go explore it, but it’s dangerous and they ask that you stay away from the river to prevent accidents. It’s lovely to listen to while soaking, so enjoy it that way.
A few recommendations on how best to enjoy Goldmyer Hot Springs:
- Make a reservation and leave plenty of time to arrive.
- Candles would have been amazing inside the cave and are permitted.
- Bring plenty of water. There is no potable water at the site and you will get dehydrated sitting in the pools.
- Wear decent hiking boots for the hike. It’s rocky plus gets muddy and wet.
- Plan to spend the night if you can. There’s camping on site for an additional fee and the pools don’t close until 9pm.
- Bring a headlamp! We walked back to the car while the sun was setting and it got dark quickly.
Eventually we realized we had to leave, although we barely felt like we had spent any time there. We said our thanks to Mother Nature and the pools, the ancient forest with some trees over 900 years old, the cold water dripping on our heads from the moss above.
If you have a day or two, make a reservation and explore this gorgeous space. If you can go during the week, you have a higher likelihood of having some time to yourself. I think it’s best enjoyed with one good friend. Or lover (makes the candles extra romantic ::wink::)
I’d love to go back here in the winter when there’s snow everywhere, I bet it’s stunning. Although, the road is probably closed which means a 25 mile hike to the springs. Always check road conditions before you go. Or find a friend with a snowmobile!
Where are your favorite hot springs?
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