Cold air makes the wa­ter feel warmer.

Ruby Val­ley, NV

Backpacker - - NEWS -

Found: the nat­u­ral rem­edy for bone-chilling days. Lo­ca­tion: north­east­ern Ne­vada, where 11,000-foot peaks over­look the Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge. Cross-coun­try ski or snow­shoe roughly 7 miles to the Ruby Val­ley Hot Springs along un­plowed 4x4 roads to reach this col­lec­tion of pools just out­side the refuge’s east­ern border. “The ground around the main pool is all mud in warm weather, so if it’s frozen, you’re golden,” says lo­cal Peter Sch­midt. That makes win­ter vis­its—when day­time temps hover in the mid-teens—prime time for soak seek­ers. Re­lax on lime­stone benches in the largest, 30-foot-wide pool, where wa­ter temps hover around 100¡F. Be­tween wafts of steam, scan the steppe for wild horses, pronghorns, and 200 species of birds ( both en­demic and mi­gra­tory) drawn to the pro­tected marsh within the desert. Cau­tion: Be­ware some of the smaller spring-fed pools. They may look invit­ing, but they can top out at 122¡F.

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