Spencer Hot Springs lies in Nevada's Big Smokey Valley where solitude and gorgeous views of the Toiyabe Mountains reign. But don't let their location off of the Loneliest Road in America, otherwise known as Nevada's Highway 50, fool you; Spencer's beauty and multiple soaking pools are well-known and well-trafficked, and you'll likely be joining other soakers and campers during your stay.
Consisting of three springs that flow by pipes into more-or-less primitive tubs, visitors have the chance to try different pools to find the right fit.
The lower pool, the first one you reach driving in from NV-376, tends to be the most crowded, as it sits beside a large and flat parking area. Consisting of a round trough with a moveable inflow pipe that can be used to adjust the pool temperature, the water hovers around 105 degrees and falls into a series of shallow and concentric pools and ditches where you can find a population of medium-sized orange fish if you look closely.
The next pool is stone-lined and sits in the ground, large enough to fit around eight people comfortably. It sits immediately beside the source, which is dangerously hot and has black fencing surrounding it, and its temperature can be adjusted slightly with a nozzle placed on the inflow pipe. It also hovers around the vicinity of 105 degrees. A wooden deck adds to its oasis-like charm.
The final pool is located further up the bumpy dirt roads and consists of a cattle trough with water fed through a pipe from the source about 30 feet away. This pool is around 95 degrees, and it may be a better fit for a summer afternoon soak than a cool desert evening.
Donkies, jackrabbits, antelope and other wildlife roam this distant country, and there are no amenities of any kind. The nearest groceries and food are in Austin, Nevada.
Though camping near the springs is bad etiquette, you will most likely find one, sometimes more, vehicles doing just that here. There are plenty of turnouts on the meandering dirt roads throughout the spring area to find a more private spot if you choose to camp out for the night.
Roads into the springs can get extremely muddy following wet weather. It is also possible, with a high-clearance vehicle, to continue on the main dirt road in from NV-376 further east into Monitor Valley and the area of Diana's Punchbowl hot springs.