In the midst of our Utah National Parks road trip we took a detour to the town of Monroe, Utah. There’s not much in this town; normally I wouldn’t recommend a stop here. But in this town is hidden gem that requires deviation of your route: Mystic Hot Springs.
WHAT IS MYSTIC HOT SPRINGS?
The land, homesteaded in 1886, supplies a flow of mineral water at about 200 gallons per minute, with temps of roughly 168 degrees.
Today this spring water is tempered to 99-110 degrees and collected in man-made hot tubs and vintage bathtubs, set in distinct upper and lower soaking areas. From there, it flows to other areas of the property for animals and vegetables, before evaporating or soaking into the ground.
The primary mineral in the water (note, these aren’t sulphur hot springs so there is no smell) is calcium carbonate. The “red clay” you see in these photos is actually that calcium carbonate build up. It grows so fast, and really gives the man-made structures a beautiful and natural look.
The other benefit of the calcium? It’s excellent for skin and bones and soothing sore, achy muscles…especially as it’s combined with the heat.
“Mystic Mike” Ginsburg is current owner of the property. After a flat tire on his way home from a Grateful Dead show he happened upon this place and immediately felt its supernatural powers. He purchased the place, and used his incredible artistic skills to add soaking areas, restore the cabins, and bring an array of musical talent for some sensational shows.
Our friends at Roadtrippers wrote an epic piece on Mr. Ginsburg. You can find it here.
HOW MUCH TIME SHOULD YOU SPEND IN MYSTIC HOT SPRINGS?
Reservations are required for your visit to the hot springs. Soaking passes are for two hours at a time. I’ll admit, it didn’t sound like long enough, but indeed it was.
You’ll spend your time between the upper and lower sections. The lower section includes two soaking pools: The smaller of the pools is about 4 ft deep and the larger one is 2 ft deep and includes a waterfall.
The upper section includes six vintage tubs, which were my very favorite places to soak. A bathtub? Yes! And no worries – the bathtubs are drained and cleaned a few times daily, and the pools are drained and cleaned bi-weekly. With a consistent flow, the water stays clean and hygienic.
A couple notes: Bring your own towel and snacks. There is no concession stand or towel rack.
IS IT REALLY OK TO BRING KIDS TO MYSTIC HOT SPRINGS? WHAT ABOUT PETS?
I was nervous about bringing the kiddos, but it turned out I had nothing to worry about. Mystic is family-friendly, for sure. There were other guests there when we were, but we all “rotated” through the tubs and pools, staying clear of each other. I think this would have naturally happened, though, even if we didn’t have the kids.
To be clear, we didn’t just let our kids roam wild and free. We stayed together as a family, and we discussed being respectful of such a special place.
Finally, our boys were 8 and 12 when we visited. The water can get up to 110 degrees, so if you have kids significantly younger than them then you’ll want to be cautious of the temps.
And pups? They are not allowed in the soaking area.
IS MYSTIC HOT SPRINGS “CLOTHING OPTIONAL”?
Wow! How fun would that be! I didn’t even think about it until you guys asked. But alas, the answer is no.
From their site: We want everyone to feel welcome at Mystic. We don’t allow alcohol, nudity, glass containers of any kind, smoking, or any illegal activities in the hot springs or any public area.
WHAT’S THE PRICE?
At the time of this writing your 2-hour reservation is $25 ($12.50 for kids under 13). If you want to ensure you soak alone, with no other people at the same time it’s $200.
WHAT’S IT LIKE CAMPING AT MYSTIC HOT SPRINGS?
Want to stay here? We did! It was great because you can easily get an early or (better yet) a late night soak. The stars are amazing here, so if it’s a clear night then opt for the 9pm soak. Just note that the camping reservation does NOT include a soak. Be sure to purchase reservations for both your soak and your overnight.
We were on our RV road trip, so we pulled into the springs with our fifth-wheel and stayed with full hook ups. The hook ups are extra, so you can save money if you’re up for boondocking. There are also tent camping spots available. The cost is the same as the hot springs (plus $20 if you need hookups.)
You’ve probably heard about the rustic hippie buses here, also. They include electricity, an electric heater, and sleep 2-4 people depending on the bus. Some allow pets and others do not. None of them have a restroom, but the bath house is very close and it is super clean.
There is also a rustic cabin for rent. It sleeps up to 4 people and requires the use of the bath house, also.
HOW FAR AWAY IS MYSTIC HOT SPRINGS FROM…
I mentioned that we were on our RV road trip when we stopped, coming from Colorado on our way to Arches NPS. Here are some standard distances for you:
- Moab/Arches NPS … about 3 hours
- Zion … about 2.5 hours
- Salt Lake City … about 2.75 hours
- Las Vegas … about 4 hours
MYSTIC HOT SPRINGS REVIEW…WAS IT WORTH THE TIME AND COST?
We added 2 days and several hundred miles to our adventure by taking this detour and it was worth every second.
Now, if you’re expecting a bougie hot springs experience with fine towels and a cocktail service then find another stop. It’s been made “famous” with Instagrammers, too…which kind of makes me sad, honestly. It’s more than a backdrop for Insta likes.
However…if you’re looking for a spiritual-esque journey in a natural setting, and a down-to-earth soak to heal your muscles and your mind – this is it.
MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO UTAH
- HOT SPRINGS UTAH: 10 Hot Springs You Can’t Miss
- UTAH: 50+ Astounding Things To Do In Utah: Your Ultimate Bucket List
- KANAB: 12 Mind-Blowing Things To Do In Kanab (Plus Day Trips)
- ZEBRA SLOTS: How to Hike the Beautiful Zebra Slot Canyon With Assurance
- PARK CITY: Your “Things to Do in Park City” Family Fun Itinerary
- HYATT CENTRIC PARK CITY: Your “Ski With Kids” Logistical Treasure
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STAY IN MONROE UT
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