Top 5 Things to Love About Castle Hot Springs


My next clients to depart on a trip are a California couple celebrating their wedding anniversary. They were looking for a paradise where they could unplug, reconnect, enjoy themselves in the water, and drive there within a few hours. When I proposed Castle Hot Springs to them, it just felt so RIGHT. I'm thrilled they're arriving in a few more days, and it's such a unique oasis, I'm devoting an article to this idyllic, adults-only resort, where I can reserve your stay as a VIP client too with complimentary room upgrades, early check-in and late check-out (subject to availability), all meals, most activities, and a $100 resort credit included.

Article excerpt below by Justin Paul on 5/19/21 can be found HERE.

Great things are bubbling to the surface at Arizona’s Sonoran Desert hideaway. Thermal waters, fresh desert air, and outdoor adventures have called travelers to Castle Hot Springs since the late 1890s. First by horseback, then stagecoach, and today by car or helicopter, everyone from prospectors to Roosevelts, Vanderbilts, Pews, and a battle-worn JFK have made their way to this 30-room Arizona resort in the Bradshaw Mountains, roughly an hour’s drive north of Phoenix.

Resort at First Sight

The first 43 miles from Phoenix zip by on interstates and the kind of open two-lane highway where you’re keeping up with traffic and all of the sudden look down to find you’re going 80. The final seven-mile push to Castle Hot Springs proves quite the detour. Running along a dry creek, the “primitive” unpaved road bends and rolls with a rock here and there to dodge, washboard flats, and Sonora Desert staples such as stout saguaro cactus, thirsty-looking wild burros languidly munching scrub, and the odd compound or two festooned with faded “Private Property” and “No Trespassing” signs. Just when you think you may have missed a turn (you can’t), a shimmering pond, stately date palms, and the 212-acre resort’s great lawn, on-site farm, and lodge come into view. It’s a curiosity that something so lush could even exist in such a setting, much less thrive – a true hideaway oasis the likes of which I never pictured outside of the Sahara.

The resort recommends renting an SUV for the drive in. They also can arrange private transfers by SUV or helicopter. Whichever you choose, you won’t need wheels once you arrive.

The Hikes

Numerous trailheads leave directly from the resort, ranging from the heart-pounding ascent up Salvation Peak to the easy walk along Castle Creek’s dry bed and the hike to Spring Mountain’s summit with various combinations for longer loops. Elevation climbs quickly on most routes: Before long you’ll find views of Lake Pleasant and great sunrise and sunset vantage points. Check with the activities desk for information on the daily guided walks with Mike Leoni, who grew up just down the road and is a nonstop source of desert information and lore – which he prefaces, with a smile, “Is at least 60 percent true.”

Taking the Waters – Any Time of Day

The sulfur-free hot springs that made this hallowed ground for the Yavapai and the Apache for hundreds of years still bubble up at around 120 degrees. Today, they trickle through two soaking pools built into the hillside with water temperatures that average 106 and 96 degrees, plus a third 85-degree pool below for that’s used for stand-up paddleboard yoga. The best part: They’re open 24/7 and gently lit at night for post-dinner and pre-dawn dips.

Bungalow by the Brook

A spring-fed brook winds its way through the Spring Bungalow complex into a pond bordering the

resort’s Sky View Cabins (arranged for optimum stargazing). Another Bungalows-only plus: The deep-soaking stone tubs, set on separate side patios with taps that source water from the hot springs.

High Times

A via ferrata (iron way) is a system of cables and iron holds bolted into a cliff or precipitous mountain face. In WW1, the Italian army installed them throughout the Dolomites to help safely move troops and munitions to lookouts. Since then, navigating them has grown into a popular adventure-sports activity, with more than 1,000 routes across Europe and numerous courses now popping up in North America. Castle Hot Springs’ new addition – the first in Arizona – connects two mountainsides via 200-foot, single-file suspension bridge high above the creek bed. The route has proved so popular, there’s already talk of installing more pathways for daylong adventures.

Castle Hot Springs closes for summer break July 5 through September 1.

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