Why You Need to Add Mystic Hot Springs to Your Utah Bucket List

Enjoying a soak in the hottest tub at Mystic Hot Springs.

Enjoying a soak in the hottest tub at Mystic Hot Springs.

In our year of traveling in our van, we’ve visited quite a few hot springs, developed and undeveloped, but none have been quite like Mystic Hot Springs. Mystic Hot Springs is a really quirky place on the edge of Monroe, Utah. It’s about two hours from Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks and about three hours from Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.

Mystic Hot Springs is a funky resort on the outskirts of Monroe, Utah.

Mystic Hot Springs is a funky resort on the outskirts of Monroe, Utah.

These bathtubs are part of what makes the experience at Mystic so unique.

These bathtubs are part of what makes the experience at Mystic so unique.

No one was in the office when we arrived at Mystic Hot Springs, but there was a sign in book and you can just slip the $15 per person entrance fee under the door and head out to the soaking pools. There is a small map posted on the door, so it’s pretty easy to find your way around. We did feel a bit weird though, just walking into the compound without talking to anyone first.

This map shows all the various amenities that Mystic Hot Springs have to offer.

This map shows all the various amenities that Mystic Hot Springs have to offer.

Enjoying a soak in one of Mystic Hot Springs signature tubs.

Enjoying a soak in one of Mystic Hot Springs signature tubs.

Nobody was in the office, but we were able to pay and check in using the sign-in book

Nobody was in the office, but we were able to pay and check in using the sign-in book

The thermal pools and tubs are on a hill above the office, buildings, and parking lot. There are two large concrete pools that are deeper and bigger but on the cooler side. Above those, up the hill closer to the source are six hotter soaking tubs. They are enormous, old claw-foot bathtubs for soaking, and most of them are big enough for two people to sit in. Over the years as the mineral rich water has run into the tubs, travertine has built up really cool bulbous deposits around the tubs.

Travertine domes have grown around the tubs.

Travertine domes have grown around the tubs.

The water runs over the mineral and into the pools.

The water runs over the mineral and into the pools.

Ian looks out over the field and ponds below the pools.

Ian looks out over the field and ponds below the pools.

The travertine is mostly a deep rust color, but it’s streaked with many other colors. If you look closely at the surface it has tiny ripples that make it seem like the water is almost pulsing over it. The water looks a bit murky, but as with most hot springs, the cloudiness is due to the natural minerals in the water. One of the greatest part about Mystic Hot Springs is that it’s not sulfurous, so there is no rotten egg smell to the water that clings to your skin and hair.

The water at Mystic Hot Springs has almost no odor.

The water at Mystic Hot Springs has almost no odor.

Walking between tubs was the hardest part in the cold December weather.

Walking between tubs was the hardest part in the cold December weather.

We visited Mystic Hot Springs in December after out trip to Bryce Canyon National Park. It was around 30 degrees the morning that we visited. We were a little nervous that the pools wouldn’t be hot enough to counteract the winter weather, but it actually ended up being really nice to soak in a steaming pool on a cold day. We felt like we were thawing out after one of the coldest nights we’ve ever had in the van. The steam from the hot water had created a layer of frost on the grass that was really beautiful in the morning light. The hardest part was getting out of the hot soaking tubs and back into the cold air when we were done soaking.

Ian tests the water in one of the larger tubs and determines it wasn’t quite warm enough for our liking.

Ian tests the water in one of the larger tubs and determines it wasn’t quite warm enough for our liking.

These are the three lowest bath tubs that are a medium temperature.

These are the three lowest bath tubs that are a medium temperature.

We skipped the large cooler pools at the bottom of the hill because of the chilly weather. We started our soaking in the three lowest bathtubs. These tubs only have a bit of rippled orange travertine on the back end of the tub that you can lean back against like a a backrest. The hottest water runs over the rock. After sitting in those pools for awhile, we became accustomed to their temperature and decided to move to the hotter tubs further up the hill.

These tubs felt really hot at first, but then we adjusted and they started to feel chilly.

These tubs felt really hot at first, but then we adjusted and they started to feel chilly.

The two tubs highest on the hill have the hottest water and the most mineral deposits.

The two tubs highest on the hill have the hottest water and the most mineral deposits.

The two large soaking tubs highest on the hill are partially enveloped by a huge red bulbous deposit of travertine, and the water sheets over this formation and into the pools. The water in these tubs was much hotter since it’s very close to the source of the hot spring.

Water trickles through a travertine channel to cool down before the soaking pools.

Water trickles through a travertine channel to cool down before the soaking pools.

In the cold air, the mineral dome was steaming like a volcano.

In the cold air, the mineral dome was steaming like a volcano.

At the source, the water of Mystic Hot Springs is 168 degrees, so the spot where the water actually comes out of the ground is fenced off. From there, the water travels down a series of channels and pipes that allow it to cool down to a more comfortable 99-110 degrees depending on which tub you are in.

These mounds of travertine guide the water down to the lowest soaking pools.

These mounds of travertine guide the water down to the lowest soaking pools.

Ian looks out over the Pahvant Mountains across the valley from Monroe.

Ian looks out over the Pahvant Mountains across the valley from Monroe.

The pools look over a golden meadow with fish ponds below you. On the horizon are the Pahvant Mountains capped with snow in the distance. Below the pools, is also a small stage where they sometimes have music. It would be so cool to watch a live performance while soaking in the tubs.

You could get a taste of #buslife, or #wagonlife?, at Mystic Hot Springs.

You could get a taste of #buslife, or #wagonlife?, at Mystic Hot Springs.

Peacocks walk the grounds of Mystic Hot Springs.

Peacocks walk the grounds of Mystic Hot Springs.

Besides the hot springs, there are a number of other amenities on this 175 acre resort. They have a long row of buses and old mobile homes that they rent out as cabins. We obviously didn’t take advantage of this since we’ve got our own little cabin on wheels. There’s also a big pond with ducks, and we spotted some peacocks casually strolling around the premises.

A visit to Mystic Hot Springs is a fun addition to any Utah trip.

A visit to Mystic Hot Springs is a fun addition to any Utah trip.

The whole place has a very funky, hippy vibe. If you’re looking for the highly developed, super clean, swimming pool experience that you find at some commercial hot springs this isn’t the place. Mystic Hot Springs is somewhere between wild, undeveloped hot springs and a resort.