Since before recorded history, the therapeutic benefits of the hot springs in this area have drawn people to the area.
The hot thermal water flows out of a rift along the Rio Grande that appeared more than 50 million years ago. The rift uplifted T or C’s landmark hill, and faults along the rift allow deep groundwater to flow freely to the surface without losing heat or minerals — producing pristine waters with temperatures ranging from 98 to 115 degrees, with trace elements of 38 different minerals. The pH of the water is 7, or neutral.
With almost 2,700 parts per million of assorted minerals, these thermal springs constitute some of the most heavily mineralized water in the United States. The continually flowing waters also have two important and unique features:
— The water has no unpleasant odor.
— The single largest ingredient in the water is chloride, a naturally occurring germ killer that sterilizes the skin and ensures the purity of the water.
Located in the downtown Hot Springs Bathhouse Historic and Commercial District, the spas and bathhouses of Truth or Consequences are central to its history. The region gained recognition as a health center at the turn of the century, and in the 1920s, ‘30s, and ‘40s motorists flocked to area resorts.
Today, the charmingly restored hotels, motels, RV parks, and spas reflect this history and offer travelers a wide range of accommodations that retain the flavor of this bygone era.
Visitors seeking in-room private baths will find several to choose from, and most of the baths are open to walk-ins who can pay to soak by the half hour or hour.
8 of our 10 spas have websites, which can be accessed by clicking their names on the map.
“Book Online” buttons and $$ ratings below refer to spas with lodging rooms.
$ = 40-59 per night | $$ = 60-89 per night | $$$ = 90 and up per night
Open to Walk-ins from 9am-9pm daily. Call ahead or stop in with a credit card to reserve either the Wet Room (which includes a large hot spring pool and a steam room) or one of the 2 Historic Baths. more info
Each of Blackstone’s 7 rooms is inspired by a different television show (ie Twilight Zone, Golden Girls, Roy Rogers) and includes unlimited use of in-room hot springs.
Baths at The Charles are open to Walk-ins from 8am-10pm. Punch cards are available; buy in bulk and save $1 per soak. more info
1940s traditional spa services include on-site hot springs mineral baths (one soak per person per night). Most rooms have kitchens.
Walk-ins are not available; Fire Water baths are reserved for lodging guests.
Fire Water Lodge offers private baths for lodgers only, and some accommodations have their own bath. Rooms are situated around a comfortable central courtyard.
Hay-Yo-Kay is open to Walk-ins Monday & Saturday, 10am-8pm; Wednesday, Thursday & Friday 10am-9pm; and Sunday 10am-5pm.more info
Walk-ins are welcome at La Paloma Hot Springs and Spa from 10am-10pm daily. more info
La Paloma, formerly Marshall Hot Springs, was the first car park in T or C. Today it is a quiet and serene space to escape from the demands of every day life. Stop in, take a deep breath, and have a soak!
Sorry, Walk-ins are not allowed; baths at Pelican Spa are for lodging guests. Pelican hot spring bath photos
Affordable overnight lodging in several downtown locations with unlimited hot spring soaks available to lodging guests on a first-come / first-served basis.
Walk-ins are welcome during business hours, 8am-10pm, with the last soak at 9pm. Sessions last 50 minutes in the private pools, 1 hour in the public baths. Call ahead or pre-book soaks online!
Riverbend offers lodging, public and private pools on the banks of the Rio Grande, a sauna, and unmatched views of the river and Turtleback mountain.
Walk-ins are welcome, but it's suggested that you call ahead to book a spa treatment or bath. more info
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Sierra Grande offers full spa services, hot spring baths, a 2-bedroom casita and a 10-room conference center.
Spa Services, Massage, Reflexology
If you’re looking for an opportunity to be pampered to the nines, there are two full-service spas in Truth or Consequences/Elephant Butte, and massage and other treatments can be arranged on-site at several hotels in the county. Please see our Spa page for more information.
History of the Hot Springs as a Destination
Downtown Truth or Consequences sits atop a large natural aquifer that produces somewhat salty, odorless water ranging in temperature from 100-115 degrees Fahrenheit. Were the city (and nearby Elephant Butte Dam) not here, the downtown area would be a swampy basin of warm mud, subject to seasonal flooding from the Rio Grande.
The Chiricahua (Warm Springs) Apaches named these springs “Place to Pray” and considered them a sacred place for healing. (Many locals repeat the “Geronimo Soaked Here” tale, but it is thought by local historians to wishful thinking, not fact.)
During the late 1800s, while neighboring areas like Kingston and Chloride were experiencing the Gold and Silver Rush, the hot springs were visited by more and more people and the area became known as “Palomas Hot Springs.” The first generation of bath houses were actually tents, and a soak entailed laying in the hot mud and slathering it all over oneself; doing so was thought to cure rheumatism.
The event that changed the area forever was the construction of Elephant Butte Dam between 1911 and 1916. Liquor and gambling were outlawed at the construction site, but establishments in the hot springs settlement five miles away offered both – and in abundance. The population grew rapidly and the town was incorporated in 1916.
Once the dam was completed, the flow of the river was altered such that more land could be claimed from the flood plain, allowing for stick frame bathhouses to be built in what had been swamp. Wells were sunk into the aquifer, allowing clear spring water to flow. The town developed as a health resort; hot mineral water was an accepted medical treatment, and slogans like “City of Health” and “Health Capital of the Southwest” drew visitors and healers alike.
Over the course of the 20th century, the town’s name was changed first to Hot Springs, then famously to Truth or Consequences. Some say that last change caused the mineral baths to be forgotten, but today the hot springs seem to be experiencing a resurgence in popularity.
Truth or Consequences Mineral Water Analysis
courtesy of the Charles Motel & Spa