Saratoga Hot Springs in Wyoming, also known as Hobo Hot Springs, is unlike most hot springs in the US. Saratoga Hot Springs is actually an old, renovated bathhouse, using the same thermal water source as way back in the day.
It’s actually a pretty cool experience if you’re passing through the area and if you are making the drive from Colorado to Wyoming like I was, it’s only a short 30-min detour on the way back and provides a unique soaking experience. The alternative driving route back to CO is also a beautiful detour through Snowy Range Pass and the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest, instead of staying on the 80 fwy the whole time.
What is a bathhouse?
A bathhouse is a communal facility for relaxation, hygiene, and socialization dating back to ancient civilizations. In modern days, bathhouses come in the form of spas and a soaking fee, but this minimal hot spring facility is FREE.
Most people who look to soak in natural hot springs aren’t looking for a large bathhouse, but Hobo Hot Springs is a cool balance between a spa and a wild natural hot spring because it still has the mineral hot spring source, has both rock pools and concrete pool options, is still open 24/7, is typically clean and easy to access, and you don’t have to pay for it although donations are encouraged.
This was my first time visiting an old-school-style bathhouse and it was a freaking cool experience. I’ve always wondered about bathhouses since I’ve visited bathhouse ruins of others, I just wish we had more free facilities like this on the west coast.
History of Hobo Hot Springs
Saratoga Hot Spring holds a captivating history that traces back to indigenous cultures who revered its healing properties long before European settlers arrived. Native American tribes considered the springs sacred and used them for their therapeutic benefits.
In the 19th century, the area gained popularity as a spa destination, attracting visitors seeking relief from various ailments.
In recent years, modern renovations have breathed new life into Saratoga Hobo Hot Spring, combining its historical significance with contemporary amenities. The revitalization efforts have focused on preserving the natural beauty of the site while enhancing the visitor experience.
Today, Saratoga Hot Spring continues to be a cherished retreat, inviting people to indulge in its restorative waters and connect with its storied past.
How hot are the hot springs in Saratoga Wyoming?
There are 3 pools at this facility and some additional rock pools down along the Platte River, all with varying temperatures from 100 to 120 degrees. There is a whiteboard with the day’s water temperatures posted between the changing rooms.
- Lobster pool – the boiling pot
- This tiny little pool is scorching hot, around 117 degrees when we visited but can get up to 120 degrees.
- Although it is certainly possible to get inside (I’ve been in a hot spring at 120 degrees before in Iceland), I do not recommend it and didn’t even try it during my summer visit.
- Main pool – probably where you will want to hang out on a cool day
- The largest hot pool in the middle of the facility was a blazing 110 degrees. This would be ideal for winter and cooler seasons, but we went in the middle of a summer morning on a thunderstorm day and it got to be a bit much.
- The edges were nice to dip our feet but the middle was super toasty.
- The heat seeps through the ground so there are definitely a lot of hot spots that burn a little when you walk directly over it. Luckily, the water is crystal clear so you can see where you’re stepping; just tread lightly through the water.
- Small pool – this one is about the size of a small kid pool you see at hotels
- Most people hung out at this smaller hot spring pool to the side. It’s the medium size of all three pools.
- It wasn’t much cooler than the main pool but I guess every little bit helps on a warm day.
- On average, this not-so-hot pool (when it’s not summer) is around 100 degrees.
- There’s also a wall to separate the small pool from the main and lobster pool
- Natural rock pools -the temps of these will vary and the amount of pools will vary depending on the river flow and how much water there is
- There were at least four very shallow pools with a bunch of people in them during our summer visit.
- Because these pools are along the river, you can do the hot-cold plunge conveniently.
How do you get to Saratoga Hobo Hot Springs?
Satagona is located 23 miles south of Walcott, Wyoming from the 80 fwy.
Once you park, head towards the right side of the building to access the hot springs area. The front building is a public swimming pool which is separate from the hot springs behind it so do not go in there.
From the side, you will reach a fence at the end where the entrance to the soak areas is. There is also a donation box here.
The building has a men’s and women’s changing room with showers but don’t expect anything fancy. The temperature of each pool for that day is listed outside of this building.
You will see most of the hot spring pools from here. The lobster pool is the tiny one centered at the top end of the main pool (the very big one). The small pool that is slightly cooler is to the side of the main pool, and the additional natural rock pools are along the Platte River.
Saratoga Hobo Hot Spring Rules
Saratoga Hobo Hot Springs is a family-friendly area so please follow the rules below. The facility is monitored by video surveillance.
- This is NOT a clothing-optional hot spring – no nude swimming
- No alcohol
- No glass containers
- No smoking
- No animals
- No profanity
- Respect others
- Don’t forget to bring your own towel – click here to shop my favorite travel towel
Other Hot Springs in Wyoming
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Places to stay near Saratoga Hot Spring
- Sage Motel – basic, budget-friendly motel with free wifi and clean rooms + pet-friendly
- Private 4 bedroom cabin rental – this property is amazing if you’re looking to spend some time out here! The riverfront location is perched up on a little hill and is surrounded by nature.
- Hampton Inn Rawlins – if you’re looking to stay closer to civilization with some of life’s comforts, the Hampton Inn in Rawlins is clean and has a full-size spa and hot tub. This is the closest big-ish city to Saratoga.