No, it isn’t Disneyland…It’s right here in Jackson Hole, just 20 or so minutes south of town: a completely natural, rejuvenating, amazing hot spring. And it surpasses any spa treatment in Jackson. I know I am posting it (believe me, I deliberated), but if you are reading this now you are now part of a–i’m not kidding–highly special, privileged cadre of people, mostly locals.
Granite Hot Springs, to the outward eye, doesn’t really look like a secret, per se. There is a parking lot, a pool, a campground, for all I know there’s a gift shop– but I’ve never really been in the “touristy” area, I park in their parking lot and hike over (you can also wade, if you have either waders or high tolerance for ice-cold water up to your knees) to the…
REAL magic. There is a beautiful huge wall of waterfall and at the right end of it, a semi-tucked away corner of amazing steaming-hot bubblyness… There is only room for maybe you and 3 other friends (if they’re skinny-ish) so choose your companions wisely. Also, since some [unworthy] members of our special cadre carelessly knock down the neat boundary of rocks circling and containing the hot spring that others have braved ice-cold water to install by hand (can you tell this is a pet peeve?) –well, let’s just re-state: Choose your hot spring companions wisely!
My knowledge of hot spring magic goes like this, briefly: the warm water is heated by the heat of the actual geothermal heat of the Earth’s core. Since we are in a volcanic zone here, near Yellowstone National Park, this water is heated by the percolating heat of magma! Can any commercial spa provide you with natural magma-heated mineral-rich water?
Instead of attempting to dig up proof, explanation for the good feeling sitting in the [magical] hot springs produces (uhh..the negative ions produced by the minerals in the spring cause a surge of…uhhh endorphins–yeah that’s it!–which scientifically causes you to feel awesome..) I will just assure you that no spa in the world can reproduce this. I feel like the warmth of the water and the beautiful, awe-inspiring miracle of the surroundings just heals you, the way only nature could. I have read about medicinal value of hot springs, and though scientific data is perhaps unavailable, I don’t doubt the restorative claims– it’s easy to see how the hot water dissolves and aerates calcium, lithium and other good-for-you minerals. Not “natural”, but actual NATURE! Just for you special Profile Massage visitors: I urge you to experience this wonderful healing place.
An exclusive spa experience, sans spa prices. There is no “entrance” or admission fee as of yet, or “Rules of Conduct” –just guard the secret well and leave the spring as beautiful as when you arrived (or hopefully better–put some rocks up around the spring for your fellow man!). If it’s too hot for you just pull out a few rocks on the upstream side of the pool; if it’s too cold you can just put the rocks back to block this little canal and it will warm up again in about 10 minutes.
Granite Hot Springs is located in the Gros Ventre Mountains, east of Hoback Junction. From Jackson, take Broadway, get on 89/191 South, and take it to Hoback Junction. From Hoback turn East on 189, drive 11.4 miles and then take a left on a gravel road next to Granite Creek. Drive North on the gravel road until you come to a sign for Granite Falls. From the parking lot edge, you can see the beautiful 20-foot waterfall! (ENJOY!)
Note: In the winter the hot springs are accessible only by snowmobile or ski.