Hot Springs, Big Bend National Park
If you would like a longer walk, instead of returning the way you came after visiting the Hot Springs continue on past the springs. You will come to a fork. The left fork loops up onto the top of the bluff, from which you will have great views of the Canyon and the springs below. Follow this trail back to the Hot Springs parking lot. If you choose this route the Hot Springs hike becomes an enjoyable 1 mile walk.
My photo shows the view From the High View Hot Springs return route.
In 1901 a homesteader named J. Langford decided this would be a nice place to build a resort. He built a home here and added a motel and a general store/post office in 1927. The resort was popular until around the Depression and World War 2 when attendance rapidly declined. Today all that is left are ruins of the building and the springs. You can see these by driving down a norrow dirt road with steep drop-offs then walking down a short trail that leads by the river.
Today, many people still bring swimming suits and water shoes to soak in the warm water. When we were there, the pool was very shallow, and there was a brown slimy looking mud. Even so there was a man sitting in the warm water. When the spring was operating as a health resort they advertised the natural waters as The Fountain of Youth that Ponce de Leon Failed to Find. It was also advertised that the waters could cure such things as rheumatism, eczema, indigestion, diabetes, alcoholism, tobacco poisoning, urinary diseases, as well as liver, kidney, and bladder problems. In the photo, taken by my husband, you see a view of the hot springs from the optional High View Walk.
As you walk the trail to the hot springs you will pass a number of historic buildings. Be sure to stop and look inside the old motel. Many of the rooms have paintings on the walls. The photo, taken by my husband, shows a painted wall inside one of the rooms. Also look for the pictographs that can be seen near this old motor lodge.
The Photo was taken by my husband.
This is an easy one quarter mile trail which takes you past the historic remains of the store/post office, the old motor lodge, the bath house remains, and a hot springs. In 1901 J. Langford a homesteader, built a house on top of the bluff, and developed a small health resort around the natural 105 degree hot springs. Later in 1927 he added a motel and a general store, which also served as the United States Post Office.
This is an easy flat 6 miles (9.5 km) roundtrip that links Rio Grande Village to hot springs along the Rio Grande. I did only part of it, starting at the hot springs. The main interesting features are the old bath houses from the beginning of the XXth century, a little bit of indian rock art (signs along the trail), and the mud bird nests on the cliff! (made by cliff swallows).
Today there seems to be a layer of mud on the bottom of the soaking area but that does not stop people from throwing on a bathingsuit and trying out the water. Maybe this is therapeutic mud?