Clear, warm pools within a secluded slot canyon, water singing over the rocks, and light dancing on the walls: a hot spring hideaway tucked between dusty desert and refreshing river. This is Arizona Hot Springs.
The Black Canyon of the Colorado River is below Hoover Dam near Las Vegas, where the river forms the border between Nevada and Arizona. Within this rugged desert canyon, several hot springs well up out of the rock in side drainages. Some are only accessible from the river, but Arizona Hot Springs is one that also has an overland trail.
This hot spring emerges from the gravelly bottom of a slot canyon and tumbles down many natural cascades on its way to the Colorado River. Near the source, pools have been built up with rocks and sand bags. There are three main pools that increase in temperature as you go up. The hottest is approximately 111 degrees.
There are three ways to get to Arizona Hot Springs. The first is to hike in approximately 3 miles from White Rock Canyon Trailhead along Highway 93. The second is to float down 4 miles from Hoover Dam. This requires a permit and fee. The third option is to paddle 8 miles upriver from Willow Beach, which requires a $10 per vehicle entry fee but no additional launch permit. The hot springs are located on river left at Ringbolt Rapid, river mile 59.75. There is a large beach with plenty of room to pull up boats.
Once you are on the beach, walk into the mouth of the canyon as it narrows and twists upward. As you hike inward, what started as nothing but wet ground becomes a trickle, then a stream of water. Your feet get warmer and warmer as you step up small cascades and boulders and slosh through the water. After less than a quarter-mile you'll reach a metal ladder that ascends a 20-foot warm waterfall. Climb this to access the inner fold of hot spring paradise.
This place is worth spending a few days, especially if you have boats to explore more of the river corridor. Camping near the hot spring is free and fantastic. There are both shady and sunny spots to suit the time of year. It is dispersed camping near the pebbly beach, with plenty of room for multiple groups to spread out. While there are pit toilets, there are no other amenities.