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Blissing out at New Mexico hot springs

When it comes to travel destinations, Leslie is definitely hot for hot springs.

John doesn’t share her enthusiasm for relaxing soaks. He’d rather chill on a hike in the hills.

So imagine our excitement when we were able to check off both those goals during a recent visit to Ojo Caliente in northern New Mexico. This resort between Taos and Santa Fe has a long history of welcoming guests to dip into pools that offer different healing properties.

A few years ago, we stopped in to have a look around. When we noticed the place had an RV park, we vowed to get back there and stay.

It made for a blissful weekend.

As soon as we pulled into our spot, we knew this was a very special place. The hills rose dramatically in one direction and golden autumn leaves whispered in a gentle breeze behind us. It was just so peaceful and when the stars came out as the skies darkened… wow! The Milky Way poured over us.

The resort also rents vintage trailers that have been rehabbed in the park, a popular choice for some guests. They were fully occupied for the two nights we were there, yet Leslie managed to get a peek inside and was impressed with the stylish updates.

Those famous pools were a short walk away and an even shorter bike ride. When entering, visitors are asked to whisper or not talk at all. The only sounds are the sulphur-free mineral water cascading into the large pool, water that relaxes muscles to the point that your limbs might feel like noodles.

That’s where the cool pool offers a refreshing wakeup call. The cold plunge is Leslie’s favorite part of the process.

On this trip, she talked John into following up the hot springs soak with a bracing shot of chilling in the cool pool. He liked it! And he loved the free-flowing mud bath Ojo Caliente offers. Slather on the mud that’s the consistency of chocolate milk, bake in the sun and rinse. Skin is so soft after that ritual.

The following morning, we hiked from Ojo Caliente to an ancestral Pueblo Indian ruins, where we stepped back into time amid scenic mountain views. In this part of New Mexico, the bliss extends well beyond the soaking pools.

Another soak down south

Just a week later, we were hanging out at the wonderful Riverbend Hot Springs Resort in Truth or Consequences, the town named after a game show from long ago.

This stop was part of our greatest hits tour, a funky destination we discovered in 2019. Not only does Riverbend have the most beautiful pools on the edge of the Rio Grande River, it has parking and full hookups for a half-dozen RVs.

We were fortunate to snag a spot on a busy weekend and in between soaks, we got out on the Healing Waters Trail. Elephant Butte Lake State Park is nearby, but the reservoir is severely depleted by drought.

We’re rooting for rain to fall in the region, yet we sure enjoyed some unseasonably warm weather. Sitting outside in the sunshine as the temps hovered in the upper 70s, it certainly felt like we had officially hit Snowbird country.

We’re continuing that warming trend as we head to southern Arizona this week, returning to a couple of our favorite spots in Tucson and Phoenix before settling in for a while in Sedona.

Leslie Kelly
Leslie Kelly is a freelance writer.