Named for the mountain slopes that appear like the ramparts of a fortress, Castle Hot Springs seems to hold the day-to-day world at bay. These natural thermal springs bubble up out of the sort of landscape wild-west dreams are made of. All just an hour from buzzing cultural and economic capital, Phoenix. 

Dreamy desert vistas and canyons carved by thermal springs, Arizona

Things to do


From the very beginning, the Castle Hot Springs have been a place of rest and recuperation. The springs themselves were first discovered by local Yavapai tribes in the early 19th century. Following the civil war, a health resort developed here that soon attracted big name guests such as the Carnegie and Rockefeller families. It was even used as a military rehabilitation centre during World War II, with future president John F. Kennedy spending three months here recovering from his injuries.


Castle Hot Springs sits among two different mountain ranges: the Bradshaw and Hieroglyphic Mountains. The latter got its curious name from a confusion between Egyptian hieroglyphs and the ancient petroglyph rock carvings found here. Although the sun-baked landscapes look arid, spring sees wildflower meadows spring up across the state.


Contrast serene desert and mountain surroundings with a day in Phoenix, an hour to the south. Hear the stories of Southwest America’s first inhabitants at the Heard Museums of Indigenous Culture. Or, if you’ve little ones in tow, make some noise at the Musical Instrument Museum. Phoenix is also one of the best places in Arizona to sample authentic Mexican cuisine. 

Keep an eye on the Phoenix festival calendar for celebrations of everything from Latino culture to Native American arts.

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