Sheep Bridge Hot Springs – Yavapai County, Arizona

The natural beauty of Arizona is something that never ceases to amaze us. Whether it’s the soaring red rocks of Sedona, the wildlife and falls of Oak Creek, or even the cacti-filled grasslands outside Flagstaff, there’s no shortage of amazing places to explore in our home state. And let’s not forget about the awesome hot springs within its borders.

Sheep Bridge Hot Springs – Yavapai County, Arizona. Image Source: Unsplash
Sheep Bridge Hot Springs – Yavapai County, Arizona. Image Source: Unsplash

There are so many natural hot springs throughout Arizona that it can be tough to keep them all straight in your head. So what are some of our favorites? Well, we must say that Sheep Bridge Hot Springs definitely ranks pretty high on our list!

Overlooking the Verde River is where you’ll find the Sheep Bridge. In the 1940s, it was constructed so that shepherds could assist their sheep in traversing the gap. In spite of the fact that the bridge was taken down in the 1980s, a new version of it has been constructed since then to assist hikers and other visitors in crossing the river.

Even though there are no longer any sheep in the region, this place has become a very popular destination for tourists to check out, and the original suspension tower is still standing today with this replica bridge.

Where Is Sheep Bridge Hot Springs?

Well, we’re happy to report that Sheep Bridge Hot Springs is located in the Coronado National Forest, just outside of the town of Portal, Arizona.

Take Cave Creek Road starting from Carefree for 33 miles. Make a right onto Forest Road 269 and continue driving for 12 miles. You will arrive to the Sheep Bridge, and the hot springs are not far away from there.

Pools fed by natural hot springs

The long trip up to Sheep Bridge can be stressful, and the area around the bridge may be busy, but happily, the hot springs will allow you to get away from it all and unwind once you get there. The interior of the little tub is comprised of river boulders, and it has enough space to accommodate approximately two to three people in comfort.

The mineral water has a temperature of approximately 100 degrees and is clear and warm to the touch. You are sure to have a deeper appreciation for Arizona’s breathtaking scenery while you are luxuriating in the hot tub.

Activities

If you find that the warm water of the springs and the heat of Arizona are becoming too much for you, you may always take a quick dip in the Verde River. If you are feeling particularly daring, you may even jump into the river from a jump-off point or use the rope swing to launch yourself into the water. You may also go for a stroll on the Sheep Bridge, which provides fantastic perspectives of the hills and mountains that are located in the surrounding area.

Camping

If you think that spending just one afternoon taking advantage of everything that Sheep Bridge and the neighboring hot springs have to offer won’t be enough time, then you have the option of participating in a primitive camping experience in the area for a period of up to 14 days. It is important to remember that the park does not have any facilities or stores, so you should come prepared with anything you might require during your time there.

A visit to Sheep Bridge on a weekday, as opposed to a weekend, will allow you to completely unwind and take in the beauty of your surroundings. Weekends tend to be very busy. Sheep Bridge Hot Springs is an amazing destination that should not be missed if you find yourself in the central part of Arizona. You are going to be blown away by all of the wonderful activities, sights, and scenery that are accessible to you here.

Why We Love Sheep Bridge Hot Springs

There’s a lot to love about hot springs in general, but Sheep Bridge Hot Springs has a few things that make it extra special in our book. The first of these is the remote location of Sheep Bridge, which means that you’re far less likely to encounter a crowd. We don’t know about you, but we love the feeling of being one with nature. So we’re pretty sure you’ll feel the same!

Sheep Bridge also boasts some pretty spectacular views of the canyon, which is a real treat for the eyes. If you’re lucky, you might even be able to see some wildlife, including the resident birds that flock to the area!

What to know before you go

Now, before you go booking a ticket to Portal, Arizona, there are a few things that you should know. First and foremost, remember that these hot springs are located in the wild. As a result, you should come prepared for both the terrain and the weather. Additionally, please be mindful of the fact that these are public lands, and as such, you should respect the natural beauty and resources that surround you.

Now, while we don’t want to sound like buzzkills, we do want to make sure that everyone can enjoy their time at Sheep Bridge Hot Springs. So, please keep in mind that there are certain things that are expected of you while at the springs. For example, no smoking or open flames are permitted, while pets and bathing suits are not allowed. Finally, please remember that this is a delicate ecosystem, so please do your best to leave it as you found it!

Facilities and Accessibility

The area surrounding Sheep Bridge is fully accessible, although there are a couple of things to keep in mind. First and foremost, the accessibility at Sheep Bridge is a bit more limited than at other hot spring locations.

As a result, the parking area is a bit smaller, which means that there may be more of a crowd and less parking space, particularly on weekends. Additionally, the path from the parking lot to the hot springs is a bit more narrow and uneven, making it a bit trickier to navigate.

What to bring with you

The only thing that you’ll really need is some water and a towel. While there are some wooden benches to sit on near the hot springs, we highly recommend bringing a towel to sit on. This is because, while the water at Sheep Bridge is pretty clean, there are a few twigs and leaves that have made their way in.

So we’d recommend bringing a towel to avoid any messes or splinters. Now, if you’re planning on having a picnic or bringing a snack, you can definitely do that, too. After all, Sheep Bridge Hot Springs is conveniently located near the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, which means there are plenty of places to stop for a bite to eat.

Tips for Having a Magical Time

There are a few things that you can do to make the most of your visit to this natural hot springs destination.

First and foremost, we’d recommend taking a scenic walk around the area. The best part? You’ll get the added benefit of enjoying the awesome views of the rocky canyon landscape. If you’d like to go on a longer hike, you can also check out Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests.

The Weather

Sheep Bridge Hot Springs is located within Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests. As a result, you should keep an eye on the forecast for nearby Flagstaff to get a general idea of what the weather is like.

That being said, Sheep Bridge Hot Springs is much more remote than downtown Flagstaff, so be prepared for a bit more variation in temperatures. In general, the weather at Sheep Bridge Hot Springs is moderate year-round, with average highs in the 70s or 80s during the summer, and lows in the 40s or 50s during the winter.

Final Words

Well, there you have it: everything you need to know about Sheep Bridge Hot Springs! If you’re looking for a natural hot springs experience, we’d highly recommend this hidden gem. And while it’s a bit off the beaten path, the views are definitely worth the trip!

Local information

Address: northeast of Phoenix Valley, Tonto National Forest, Arizona
LL: 34.078021,-111.707336
Season: Year round
Website: fs.usda.gov/recarea/tonto/recarea/?recid=35219

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