If you happen to be traveling to Salt Lake City via Interstate 70, take a detour through Monroe, Utah to soak at Mystic Hot Springs. Located at the edge of town, the geothermal pools offer quiet, secluded soaking in a casual, family-friendly setting. No alcohol, drugs or nudity are allowed, yet the overall atmosphere is very warm and bohemian. Hiking trails and parks lie within a few miles of the hot springs, so you can work your muscles and absorb the beauty of nature before sinking into one of the facility’s pools or tubs.
Mystic Hot Springs, formerly Monroe Hot Springs, was once a sacred bathing ground for nomadic Native American tribes. The property was later settled in the 1880s by homesteaders, and structures from the original settlement can be seen today. Mike Ginsburg purchased the property in the 1990s and continues to make improvements and modifications. Visitors to Mystic Hot Springs shouldn’t expect a posh, fully appointed spa; this property is a creative work in progress. The pleasures of Mystic Hot Springs lie in its stunning mountain views, soothing waters and laid-back atmosphere.
The source of the water is a well head that sits at the top of the hill overlooking Mystic Hot Springs. Water spills into cast iron bathtubs, which offer beautiful views of the surrounding valley. Baths include one large concrete tub, which is about 4 feet deep when filled. Adjacent to the concrete soaking tub is a shallow pool that’s about 2 -3 feet deep and roughly 25 feet wide in places. This pool is surrounded by natural rock formations, encrusted with travertine mineral deposits. The bathtubs are perched at the top of the hill, a short climb up a fairly steep, rocky path. Bring an old pair of running shoes or amphibious shoes for the climb.
According to the owner, Mike, calcium carbonate is one of the predominant minerals in the water at Mystic Hot Springs. Iron and magnesium are also in abundance, but we have no precise figures. The water is smooth and silky. The temperature of the pools ranges from 98°F to 110°F/37°C to 43°C, according to information from the Mystic Hot Springs website. At 5:00 p.m., the temperature in the shallow pool felt moderately warm (approximately 99°F/37°C), while the concrete pool was warmer at about 103°F/39°C. When we returned early the next morning, we found that the concrete pool was considerably hotter, probably close to 106°F/41°C, while the shallow pool was closer to 101°F/38°C. We found the water to particularly effective for relieving muscle pain and tension from driving, especially after our second soak.
Mystic Hot Springs offers a variety of accommodations, all of which fall outside of the realm of the conventional. We stayed in the Nature Bus, a converted blue schoolbus that’s been airbrushed with a spectacular mural. The interior was cozy, but at the end of October, we found it a bit cold. We’re interested in checking out the cabins, which are apparently authentic historic structures that have been renovated by the owner. Camping and RV sites are available for travelers who carry their accommodations with them. Reservations are required for cabins or buses, but not for campers or RVs. We were able to get a next-day reservation for one of the buses, but the cabins probably need to be reserved further in advance. The town of Monroe is a short drive from the hot springs. We saw a few restaurants that looked intriguing, but we dined on homemade ham and cheese sandwiches in the Nature Bus. Fortunately, there was a hot plate for coffee.
Mystic Hot Springs. Campsite, RV Park, Hot Springs and Recording Studio all in Monroe, Utah, USA.
Topozone. Map of Monroe Hot Springs Resort.
Utah Geological Survey. Geothermal Use, Resorts.
Utah Outdoor Activities. Mystic Hot Springs.
UtahAdventurer.com. Rest and Relax Pioneer Hippie Style at Monroe’s Mystic Hot Springs; Leslie Kawai; June 24, 2008.
UtahAdventurer.com. Rejuvenate at Monroe’s Mystic Hot Springs; Leslie Kawai; June 13, 2008.
Adventure Bus Blog. Mystic Hot Springs, UT; March 28, 2011.