Castle Hot Springs – Castle Hot Springs, Arizona

If you’ve ever been on a hot springs road trip and felt like you’d seen it all, Castle Hot Springs may not have popped into your mind. Hidden within a state park with the same name and just an hour from the hustle and bustle of downtown Phoenix, Castle Hot Springs is Arizona’s best-kept secret when it comes to soaking in natural hot springs.

Cascading mineral water at Castle Hot Springs. Photo:
Cascading mineral water at Castle Hot Springs. Photo:

The area got its start as a resort back in the 1920s, after wealthy businessman and copper miner Michael V. Oye built what was then known as Oye Hotel there. It was later named after the nearby castle-shaped cliff formation that is now a registered National Historic Landmark. The hotel attracted visitors from all over who were able to enjoy the various mineral-rich hot springs that flowed throughout the property.

In 1945, Mr. OYe sold his beloved hotel for only $1 under rather…unusual circumstances—the buyer being none other than local eccentric Howard Hughes (yes, THAT Howard Hughes).

In 1947, Hughes sold it once again—this time to a mining company called New Cornish Copper Company. That same year, they tore down the old hotel entirely (but kept the springs) so they could build a more modern structure instead – but that also never happened because they stopped mining copper in Castle Hot Springs altogether in 1968…and so eventually ownership of both properties changed hands once again between different owners until their current owners today.

The Basics

Castle Hot Springs in Castle Hot Springs, <a class=
Castle Hot Springs in Castle Hot Springs, Arizona.Photo:

What used to be a grand old resort and copper mining operation is now an outdoor hot springs soaking area and a state park you can visit for free! The historic mineral baths, swimming pools, and manicured grounds are all still there, but now you can visit them free of charge. The state park has its own entrance about one mile from the hotel area.

The springs are located at the southwestern end of the park. The swimming pools (which are fed by the same water) are towards the northern end. It’s a short walk from one to the other. There are no lifeguards on duty so it’s important to swim at your own risk. The park is open every day from sunrise to sunset.

How to Get There

Sunset on Castle Hot Springs Road. Photo: J Etzel
Sunset on Castle Hot Springs Road. Photo: J Etzel

The best way to get to Castle Hot Springs is by car. From Phoenix, head south on Interstate 10 for about an hour. Take exit 151, which is north of the park. Turn left at the end of the exit. Continue south on the road toward the park and follow the signs to the parking lots.

From Tucson, head north on Interstate 10 for about two hours and take exit 151 as in the instructions above. The park’s address is 998 E. Robson, Sierra Vista, AZ, 85635. The hotel area is about 2 miles from the I-10 exit. The hotel area is only accessible to guests and State Park pass holders. They do not have a public address.

What is There to Do?

Hiking around Castle Hot Springs. Photo:
Hiking around Castle Hot Springs. Photo:

The one thing you HAVE to do when visiting Castle Hot Springs is, of course, soak in the hot springs! There are several options for soaking in the mineral-rich waters, including a natural pool, a man-made pool, and even a private soaking tub. The most convenient method, though, is to visit the old hotel and soak in the various swimming pools.

There are two indoor pools (one warm, one cooler) and an outdoor pool that is fed by the same water as the springs. Of course, soaking in the springs is just the start of your adventure. There are several hiking trails to explore in the park, including the Castle Trail that leads to the Castle formation. While exploring the trails, keep an eye out for wildlife, including wild pigs, javelinas, and many species of birds.

Camping at Castle Hot Springs

Aerial view of Castle Hot Springs.
Aerial view of Castle Hot Springs.

As it’s a state park, camping is permitted at Castle Hot Springs. The park has a number of walk-in tent sites that offer shaded areas, picnic tables, and fire pits. There are also RV sites available for those with larger vehicles. All campsites are first-come, first-served with no reservations.

Camping costs $15 per night for walk-in sites and $25 per night for RV sites. If you’re camping, be sure to explore the trails and enjoy the views from the top of the nearby Castle Rock. You’ll get a great view of the entire area from the top. There are also several nearby trails, including the Castle Trail that leads to the Castle formation.

Where to Stay?

Spring Bungalow covered deck. Photo:
Spring Bungalow covered deck. Photo:

The overnight accommodations at Castle Hot Springs are lavish and perhaps as soothing as the hot springs water itself. They have a number of different room options available. The payments cover the cost of all of the meals.

Spring Bungalows – Enjoy the epitome of relaxation in your very own private outdoor tub, which is filled with water drawn from the natural hot springs. Take in the beauties of the tranquil environment and the adjacent peaks as you do so. These Spring Bungalows come with one bedroom that is furnished with a king bed, an indoor/outdoor gas fireplace, and a deck that is covered.

Sky View Cabins offer, as their name suggests, some of the most breathtaking vistas of the desert sky. There is one bedroom, which has one king bed that can accommodate up to two people. Each one features a spacious veranda with a private hot tub and a telescope that can be used for stargazing. Beginning on March 1st, guests will have access to all 17 cabins.

Historic Cottage is almost a century old and has 1200 square feet of living space. It is the perfect place to get away from it all. In the three bedrooms, there is one king bed, one queen bed, and two twin beds. Additionally, there are two full bathrooms and a wet bar. It has the capacity to sleep up to 6 people. A fireplace made of stone may be found in the spacious living area.

The Cottage has played host to a number of well-known families over the years, including the Rockefellers, the Vanderbilts, and the Roosevelts.

Lodge Rooms: The lovely Lodge Rooms at Castle Hot Springs are the most cost-effective option for anyone looking for lodging there. Each features one bedroom, which is furnished with either a king or a queen bed, and may accommodate two people. A memorable stay is ensured by the presence of antique furniture as well as an original barefoot claw tub that is supplied with mineral water from the hot springs.

Dining On-Site

Heirloom tomatoes from The Farm. Photo:
Heirloom tomatoes from The Farm. Photo:

The food that Harvest Restaurant delivers is an extraordinary gastronomic adventure for your taste buds. The on-site Farm is responsible for the production of the majority of the goods, and it features more than 150 unique kinds of fruits and vegetables. The hotel costs already include the cost of all of the meals!

Is It Worth the Trip?

Castle Hot Springs is completely free to visit, and it’s open year-round (though it’s best to visit in the spring and fall when the weather is more moderate). What more could you ask for? If you’re visiting Arizona, this is one of the best places to go to enjoy the state’s famous natural hot springs.

You should also know that the water at the springs is extremely mineral-rich and salty. If you have any cuts or scrapes on your skin, it’s best to avoid getting the water on them. Just make sure to rinse yourself off after you’re done soaking to wash off the salt and minerals.

Tips for Visiting Castle Hot Springs

Castle Hot Springs is located in an area known as the Arizona Desert. Because of this, temperatures can rise quickly and are often higher than the surrounding areas. Be sure to bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and wear light-colored clothing. Because the park is an outdoor area, you may also encounter wildlife in the area.

Keep an eye out for snakes, tarantulas, and other desert wildlife while exploring the trails. If you’d like to visit Castle Hot Springs, be sure to make the trip soon. With no accommodations available, it’s unlikely that this Arizona desert oasis will stay a secret for long.

Weather (5 days forecast)

Castle Hot Springs, Arizona is a beautiful place to visit all year round. The weather is perfect for any outdoor activity, whether it’s hiking, biking or swimming. Summer temperatures hover around 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, but cool down to a comfortable 75 at night.

Winter brings highs in the 60s and lows in the 40s, making it an ideal time to enjoy the hot springs. No matter what time of year you visit, be sure to bring your sunscreen! The desert sun can be quite intense, even during winter months.

Local Information

Address: 5050 East Castle Hot Springs Rd, Castle Hot Springs, AZ 85342, USA
Phone: 928-501-1001 / 877-600-1137
Season: Year round