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Is It Illegal to Soak in Hot Springs Naked?

Some folks find soaking in hot springs while naked to be relaxing. On the other hand, others can’t imagine stripping down to their birthday suit in public.

Most thermal bathing pools have rules and regulations you must follow. You could be in a different type of hot water if you refuse to follow them.

Today, we’re diving into the laws around swimming au naturel, so you can legally enjoy hot springs in the buff. 

Let’s hit it!

A rear view of two naked women taking in the views of nature from an outdoor Japanese hot spring.
Can you enjoy a hot spring in the USA while naked?

About Hot Springs

Hot springs are geothermal pools heated by the Earth’s internal heat. These waters range from 90°F to well over 150°F. In extreme cases, like those found in Yellowstone National Park, temperatures can reach the boiling point of 212°F.

These waterholes often contain a variety of minerals believed to provide health benefits. While we aren’t doctors, we can confirm they feel fantastic after a long hike. It’s one of our favorite ways to rejuvenate our tired and aching muscles from a grueling trail.

Because springs can vary considerably, you don’t want to jump in without first testing the water. You’re taking a chance that you could experience excruciating burns if you do. The severity can range from minor first-degree injuries to more serious second or third-degree burns.

Painful injuries and deaths have occurred in and around them. Safety is one thing that you can’t take lightly. In 2022, Yellowstone National Park officials found a human foot floating in the Abyss Pool. If this doesn’t convince you to prioritize safety around them, we’re not sure anything will. 

The Benefits of Soaking Nude

Despite the potential dangers, soaking in hot springs naked can be beneficial. However, since we value honesty, it’s worth noting that you can enjoy many of the perks while fully clothed. Those uncomfortable with nudity can relax, knowing it’s generally not required.

One enormous benefit of bathing in these pools is reducing stress. As we mentioned, warm waters can be great for tired muscles and tension. You can unwind physically and mentally, whether you’re out in nature or at a luxurious spa. Watch your stress melt away as the calcium, magnesium, and sulfur minerals calm you.

Another advantage to consider is the therapeutic effects on your skin. The minerals absorb into your body, improving textures and relieving dryness. Those with eczema or psoriasis often find them to be healing. Many experience increased blood circulation and reduced inflammation from arthritis and muscle pains.

Lastly, if you can find a hot spring in the wild, it can be an excellent way to connect with Mother Nature. Some are in remote locations that are extremely quiet and offer a tranquil environment. 

Close your eyes and let the sounds of trickling water revitalize your entire body. Enjoy a little time disconnected from everything our fast-paced world offers. 

Can You Legally Soak in Hot Springs While Naked?

Laws regarding soaking in hot springs naked are incredibly frustrating. Private resorts set their own rules when it comes to the dress code. But these geothermal features are also on public lands managed by the National Park Service, US Forest Service, and Bureau of Land Management. Unfortunately, there’s no consistent prohibition or acceptance of nudity.

These agencies often default to local, county, or state codes. When in doubt, look for signs or research online. You may need to call the local agency to get an answer straight from the source. Note the names of anyone you speak with, as you may need them if someone challenges your nudity. To be safe, know the laws before disrobing. 

Not ready to be naked? You’ll probably enjoy these: 10 Awesome Hot Springs with RV Parks On Site.

Hot Springs Rules for Soaking Naked

Even if it’s legal to soak in hot springs naked, you should follow both written and unwritten rules. For starters, don’t be a creep. People who are comfortable with public nudity don’t objectify others. If you can’t keep your eyes to yourself, reconsider joining in. You could end up ruining the experience for others.

In addition, it’s also a good idea to read the room. Keep a towel or cover-up nearby in case you need to cover yourself. A family could unknowingly wander into the site and get more than they bargained for. You’ll want to dodge any problems, especially if you don’t check local regulations first.

Whether nude or not, you should always leave a spot better than you found it. Many of these springs are in remote locations, so there likely won’t be a trash can. Bring a bag for your rubbish, and take it with you when you leave. 

Another thing to remember is that you want to avoid contaminating these pools. Introducing foreign substances like soap, shampoo, or urine can significantly impact the natural environment. Because there’s no drain or filter, these chemicals can stay in the water for a long time. In the worst cases, health officials will restrict access to unsafe sites.

The most important rule to follow is not to ruin it for others. How you behave and treat the hot springs can impact their availability to others in the future. Do your part and treat the site, and other bathers, with respect.

Group of people swimming a large hot spring. Large public hot springs tend not to allow nudity.
Large public hot springs tend not to allow nudity, but we found three that do…

Best Hot Springs for Soaking Naked

While there are many great hot springs, they don’t all allow you to soak naked. If you want to bare it all, we’ve found a few of the best options. Here, you can relax without worrying about the rules and regulations.

Valley View Hot Springs, Colorado

Valley View Hot Springs is in Moffat, Colorado, a remote area about three hours south of Denver. It’s a clothing-optional nature sanctuary that welcomes all ages. You can spot wildlife and plants while bathing, camping, or navigating their trails.

Their geothermal and hydroelectrically heated tubs sit in a natural setting. The Soaking Pond is the largest and deepest pool. During the winter, it’s approximately 93°F, and in the summer, it can reach 98°F. Another popular spot is the Top Pond, which cools to 70°F in the winter and can hit 105°F during summer. 

Breitenbush Hot Springs, Oregon

Breitenbush Hot Springs sits in Willamette National Forest. They claim to be the largest private geothermal facility in the Pacific Northwest. This off-grid property features 20 miles of hiking trails, seven hot springs, and a cold plunge. The pools here range from 100°F to 110°F and are clothing optional.

Take your relaxation to the next level, and try the Sacred Meadow pools, one of which requires complete silence. Take the opportunity to listen to the sounds of nature.

This resort does require guests to pay a day rate for adults and teens. However, guests must be 12 or older to visit the property. You can make a weekend out of your trip and book a campsite, yurt, or room at the lodge.

The Northwest offers many hot springs due to its thermal activity, so you can plan a whole trip around them: Touring Hot Springs Washington and Oregon.

Orr Hot Springs Resort, California

Orr Hot Springs Resort is in the northern California city of Ukiah. It sits on 27 acres of the Mendocino Coastal Range. Accessing this remote paradise requires a scenic drive through the mountains. Bathers have been flocking here since the late 1800s to escape the chaos of city life.

It features six private indoor hot spring tubs. Additionally, the resort has a spa fed by the mineral spring. The temperature is typically 105°F, while the natural pool sits around 85°F, but changes with the seasons.

Since it’s a smaller resort, you’ll need to make reservations. You can book a room or yurt to make a weekend out of your trip. However, kids and pets are not welcome. So make sure you plan accordingly.

Has this piqued your interest? Try How to Take a Clothing Optional Camping Trip.

Know the Rules Before Stripping Down

While bathing in hot springs naked can be relaxing, legalities can be tricky. Confirm the rules and regulations prior to disrobing. You could be over your head in legal trouble if you don’t!

Sometimes it’s best to go to the source and ask the local authorities. After all, laws can change, and you don’t want to rely on outdated information.

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