After hiking in the mountains, the chance to soak sore muscles in a warm or hot springs pool beckons us all -- especially as the weather cools.
Outdoors experts count more than 1,500 hot springs across the Western mountains. Here are a few lesser-known ones that SnoCountry found.
Sierra Hot Springs, Calif. North of Truckee about an hour's drive from Squaw Valley, this three-pool setup sits on edge of Tahoe National Forest. Membership and daily fee required, and clothing-optional pools open all night for overnight-ers.
Terwilliger (Cougar) Hot Springs, Oregon. Sitting in the Willamette National Forest with Hoodoo Ski Area nearby, six soaking pools with bedrock and gravel floors are clothing optional. Day use only, but camping nearby.
Kirkham Hot Springs, Idaho. Less than two hours north of Boise or Sun Valley, a set of 10 hot pools sit by the Payette River within view of the Sawtooth Mountains. Family-friendly with large natural and constructed pools, there's no charge and camping nearby.
Saratoga Hot Springs, Utah. Just off I-15 near Provo and Orem, this municipal-run large pool nestles in the wetlands on the shore of Utah Lake. A short paved trail leads to natural springs pool amidst the reeds with minimal amenities. Bird-watching close by, the Wasatch Range fills horizon and Sundance Resort isn't far.
Dunton Hot Springs, Colorado. A small, exclusive resort encompasses the 19th-century town of Dunton, located on a dirt Forest road a bit more than an hour from Telluride. The 14-teeners of the Wilson Range form the backdrop, and Colorado's only geyser is a short hike away.
Manby and Black Rock Hot Springs, New Mexico. Definitely rustic and uninhibited, these set of pools spring up hard along the Rio Grande – a half-hour dirt road drive from Taos, and easy hike down into the gorge. Clothing-optional, these pools sit among the ruins of an old river crossing. To the east are the mighty Sangre de Cristos and Taos Ski Valley.