Mold Avoiders Poll Results: Hot Springs


The Spring, Desert Hot Springs. Photo credit: Lisa Petrison

October 4, 2018

This poll was conducted in the Mold Avoiders Facebook group in August 2018. The poll question read:

If you have visited any hot springs that you feel were helpful to your health, please mark which ones those were. If you would like to add a hot springs to the poll, please write the name in the comments. If you have visited a hot springs but found it not helpful or harmful to your health, please write that information in the comments. 


A total of 48 Mold Avoiders members participated in the poll, but 17 of these said that they had never been to any hot springs.

Of the 31 members who had been to hot springs, here is the breakdown of the hot springs that they reported as having been helpful to their health.


26% – Desert Hot Springs, California (8 respondents)

23% – Calistoga Hot Springs, California (7 respondents)

23% – Mercey Hot Springs, California (7 respondents)

23% – Ojo Caliente, New Mexico (7 respondents)

23% – Orvis Hot Springs, Colorado (7 respondents)

16% Death Valley (Furnace Creek swimming pools), California (5 respondents)

16% – Tecopa Hot Springs (any of the parks), California (5 respondents)

16% – Truth or Consequences, New Mexico (5 respondents)

13% – Glenwood Springs, Colorado (4 respondents)

13% – Hot Springs, Arkansas (4 respondents)

10% – Ouray Hot Springs, Colorado (3 respondents)

6% – Harbin Hot Springs, California (2 respondents)

6% – Nat Soo Pah Hot Springs, Idaho (2 respondents)

6% – Orr Hot Springs, California (2 respondents)

6% – Ten Thousand Waves, New Mexico (2 respondents)

3% – Avalanche Ranch Hot Springs, Colorado (1 respondent)

3% – Fairmont Hot Springs, Montana (1 respondent)

3% – Glen Ivy Hot Springs, California (1 respondent)

3% – Grover Hot Springs, California (1 respondent)

3% – Jackson Wellsprings, Oregon (1 respondent)

3% – Kirkham Hot Springs, Idaho (1 respondent)

3% – Lussier Hot Springs, British Columbia, Canada (1 respondent)

3% – Norris Hot Springs, Montana (1 respondent)

3% – Orient Land Trust Hot Springs, Colorado (1 respondent)

3% – Penny Hot Springs, Colorado (1 respondent)

3% – Sol Duc Hot Springs (Washington)

3% – Sonoma Mission Inn Pool, California (1 respondent)

3% – Spanish Fork Canyon, Utah (1 respondent)

3% – Strawberry Park Hot Springs, Colorado (1 respondent)

3% – Stewart Mineral Springs, California (1 respondent)

3% – Termas de São Pedro do Sul, Portugal (1 respondent)

3% – Thermopolis, Wyoming (1 respondent)

3% – Trimble Natural Hot Springs, Colorado (1 respondent)


Hot Springs Comments

Following are some comments that group members made about hot springs they had visited:


Death Valley (California): 

“I spent a lot of time swimming in the Death Valley swimming pool near the store and motel and it felt really good to me. Actually my favorite swimming pool anywhere.”

“The Death Valley area in general felt really bad to me. Big surprise.”


Desert Hot Springs (California):

“The last time I was in DHS, a few months ago, it helped. But initially when I was on sabbatical, it crashed me.  The same spot.”

“1. My favorite place in DHS was The Spring, which is pretty pricey ($50) for a day pass. But I went there occasionally and had body treatments or a colonic, and then they let you stay there pretty much all day. It feels very Japanese to me and has a pool as well as soaking tubs. 2. I went to Two Bunch Palms a couple of times. It was in the movie ‘The Player’ and I thought it was okay, but it’s not really luxury any more.  3. I went to the Desert Hot Springs Spa Hotel a number of times. It is quite inexpensive and I didn’t think it was too bad. But the Yelp reviews suggest it may have declined in the subsequent years. 4. I went to Sam’s a few times, because someone I knew was staying there, but I never felt entirely comfortable with that whole property and so wouldn’t be inclined to go on my own. 5. The problem with DHS is that they have a law that the tubs cannot be heated very hot. Especially in the evening hours in the winter, I don’t think that those temperatures are nearly hot enough.”

“We stayed at Desert Hot Springs Inn. Not so great. The multiple pools were nice for a day visit, but the hotel is old and musty. Not recommended to stay there. $14 day pass.”

“Desert Hot Springs Resort used to be okay, but the last time I was there, it was not well-maintained. Living Waters was clean and well-maintained but it is clothing-optional and fairly close quarters so it can be uncomfortable.”


Dunton Hot Springs (Colorado): 

“Rumor has it that Dunton Hot Springs (near Telluride) is extraordinary, but it is also $1000-2000 per night. So I have not had a chance to try that yet.”


Fairmont Hot Springs (Montana):

“The problem with Fairmont Hot Springs, when I was there, was that you had to walk through a building to get to the hot springs, and the building was sort of moldy. That did not keep me from going to the hot springs, since I could get right into the pool and decontaminate, but another person said it was a problem for her.”


Glen Ivy Hot Springs (California): 

“Glen Ivy has springs that are very sulphuric smelling. The grounds are beautiful with several pools different temps, mud baths and saunas. It’s kind of a expensive for a day pass. What was interesting is the day after being there I felt terrible, but the following day all my pain in my hands and feet was totally gone. It only lasted for a day, but it was weird because I have had pain in my feet and hands every day for five years. Other symptoms fluctuate but that one. The other thing that was weird was the first day after I had this really weird super irritable-ness. It must have been a reaction to the sulphur. But then second day out, all pain was gone! I want to go back to see if that happens again.”


Glenwood Springs Hot Springs (Colorado): 

“This is one of the few hot springs that I have been to that is run like a public pool, including lots and lots of kids and a broad mix of people. It’s always been pretty crowded when I have been here. I think that it’s clean enough to be tolerable, but it certainly would not win any awards for having any sort of calming or relaxing atmosphere. And the pool itself is just enormous. I come here every time I drive through Glenwood Springs, though, because the water (which smells pretty strongly of sulphur) is so amazing. I always feel much better physically and emotionally after I spend some time in the pools, and pretty much everyone that I see in the pools looks relaxed and happy.”


Grover Hot Springs (California):

“Grover Hot Springs is an amazing place. It’s a campground also. I feel great there!”


Kirkham Hot Springs (Idaho):

“Kirkham Hot Springs was very healing for me.”


Lussier Hot Springs (British Columbia): 

“Lussier Hot Springs just south of Fairmont are superb. They are completely natural and the rocks are rearranged to form ‘tubs’ that become cooler the closer you sit to the river. If I remember correctly, it is an average of 44 C and the plunge in the river is 4 C, which is just above freezing. Locals will go there and sit all night. It is really an amazing spot because you often see mountain sheep and other wildlife while you bathe.”


Mercey Hot Springs: 

“Mercey Hot Springs remains my respite.”

“I loved the feel of this place, and the staff were really warm and welcoming. It was a great starting point for my sabbatical. For a newbie starting out on a longer foray into the desert, this was perfect. Pinnacles National Park was a great place to visit and hike once I felt well enough to do so, and it took only a few days at Mercey before I felt well enough to do this!”

“This is one of my favorite places on earth.  It is very calm and peaceful, and the water is wonderful, and the air quality is spectacular (hard to believe considering that it is so close to the agricultural farming on I-5, but true), and it has an amazing history to it.”

“I am an outlier, I feel I did not do well at Mercey Hot Springs.”


Orr Hot Springs (California):

“I liked Orr Hot Springs a lot. It’s a heavy tick area so I probably wouldn’t camp there, though.”


Orvis Hot Springs & Orient Land Trust (Colorado):

“I’ve stayed at the on-site lodgings at Orvis and Orient Land Trust and would not recommend them – definitely moldy! But the springs themselves felt good. They offer camping sites at both, which tend to fill up quickly.”

“The Orvis building is probably decently moldy. There’s probably about a hundred people or more taking showers indoors every day, releasing steam into the air and then walking around all wet and getting the building wet. And it’s definitely an older building. But we tolerate it and can go inside to use the restroom and facilities.”

“I’m kind of addicted to going back and forth between the super hot to super cold pool at Orvis Hot Springs. It’s super invigorating to me. And also the most extreme of temperatures I’ve found at any hot springs I’ve been to.”

“I’m staying near Orvis at the moment. It felt good to me. I felt great after being in the water. I love the hot/cold too! I feel that the main building has some mold, but not any super toxins. I felt, over multiple visits, that the positive effect of the water is far greater than the potential exposure to a small amount of mold. If I were at the very start of avoiding mold, I might start by avoiding spending too much time inside. The sauna felt fine to me.”


Pagosa Springs Hot Springs (Colorado): 

“The water quality here is really wonderful. It has a lot of lithium and a lot of sulfur in it, and I always feel really good after soaking it.  In terms of just the water quality, it may very well be my favorite hot springs, actually.  The pools are kept very clean and are attractive,  The views are lovely.  I also really like that there is a wide selection of pools, with different water temperatures. I paid extra on one or two occasions for the VIP pass, but I don’t really think that is necessary.  In general, at least when I was there, none of the pools was all that crowded and everything was pretty quiet. I once stayed in a motel room, which has the main advantage of allowing you to use the pools in the middle of the night.  That actually was kind of nice.  It was just a basic motel room and not in the greatest condition.  However, even though I am really sensitive to building mold, I didn’t have any problems at all with the room or the rest of the buildings.”


Sierra Hot Springs (California): 

“I stayed here for three days and was fine, but on the third night I got badly hit with Mystery Toxin and got really badly sick. Not recommended.”

“Sierra Hot Springs is not well-maintained. I was there a month ago. Also a lot of shenanigans if you know what I mean.”


Sol Duc Hot Springs (Washington):

“My family and I just returned from a one-day trip to Sol Duc Hot Springs. The area felt really good and we were way more active than normal. This was even prior to entering the hot springs. My son, who has ME/CFS, was jogging with our dog, clambering up steep hills and happy! I also walked over a mile at a time. Our cabin felt good and I could feel the inflammation start to melt away. We went into the hot springs late in the day and we slept really well! Sol Duc is at 2,100 feet in elevation, in a pristine area. When we got back onto highway 101, I could feel the achiness return and the heaviness in my chest. Now we’re at home and I feel like the usual crap – achy neck, body and more. But the experiment was successful!”


Strawberry Park Hot Springs (Colorado):

” I visited Strawberry Park Hot Springs in May 2018 for an afternoon. Lots of pool options (including a super cold stream), and all can be accessed without walking through any buildings. I did not stay in any of the cabins or camping areas. The bathrooms are newer and weren’t problematic for me. I got some muscle and joint pain relief and slept well that night.”


Tecopa Hot Springs (California):

“The Tecopa natural hot springs felt good until the locals recommended rubbing the mud on my body. A little mud on my chest and arms caused a full body rash.”


Ten Thousand Waves (New Mexico):

“Ten Thousand Waves is just heated water.”


Termas de São Pedro do Sul (Portugal):

“I have been to a hot spring in my country that has water rich in sulfur and is radioactive – it made me significantly better. Another hot spring with different properties made me worse. The water can be massively different between different springs. The one that was helpful to me is called Termas de São Pedro do Sul and is well-known for helping with chronic illness and it is used for that purpose. People come from all over the world for it. You need a doctor to see you before they allow you into the spa centre. I couldn’t afford the spa treatment, but I collected some water from a spout and used it to soak my feet and hands at home and it was enough to have a significant effect.”


Tsurunoyu Onsen (Japan):

“Once I did a hot springs oriented vacation in northern Japan, where we visited several different hot springs. That was just amazing. Tsurunoyu Onsen was my favorite place. But that is in the area somewhat near Fukushima, and so I wonder if it has been ruined now.”


Wiesbaden Hot Springs (Colorado): 

“I checked out Wiesbaden. I don’t recommend it. Stick with Orvis! The cave itself actually felt okay, though we aren’t terribly skilled at avoidance so YMMV. But to get inside the cave, you have to go into the basement which is terrible! It’s just a regular carpeted unventilated basement that is not at all designed to have a steam cave inside it. Water damage visible throughout. The outdoor pool is fine. It is just like a regular swimming pool, the size of a typical backyard pool. The pool is a little warmer than the main pond at Orvis. It’s just that when you compare it to 5-6 different temperature ponds, plus the cold plunge and sauna at Orvis, the only reason I think I would go back to Wiesbaden is if Orvis wasn’t an option.”


Wilbur Hot Springs (California):

“Wilbur Hot Springs is really terrible.”


A collection of additional poll results can be found on the Living Clean in a Dirty World blog.


Links on this page are in orange (no underlining).