Hot Springs and Sand Dune ~ Hot Well Dunes, AZ

{Dates of Visit Feb 9-Feb 12, 2015}

The first, and most important, thing you need to know is that Hot Well Dunes is a very popular OHV area on BLM land. Very popular. So, if you're looking for peace and quiet this might not be the kind of place you want to travel 30+ miles out of the way to camp. The second thing to know is that while the hot tubs are fed by natural springs they are man-made tubs run on solar pumps. That means as soon as the sun goes down the pumps stop pumping...and the tubs empty.

We had scoped out Hot Well Dunes while we were camping at Indian Bread Rocks and I'm glad we did. Between some not-so-clear directions I found online and my cell phone GPS we managed to do some serious 4 wheel driving (in the Jeep thank God) to find the campground. But, by getting a little lost we were also able to find the correct way to get the Mutiny there safely...even though the roads were still washboard and sandy.

Miles of washboard...they weren't  too bad during our visit but the road was long and dusty.
Since we were headed toward Tucson after our stops in Gila National Forest and City of Rocks, we took the route from the town of Bowie to get to Hot Well Dunes. I'd advise using the BLM website directions rather than GPS to avoid ending up on some harrowing washed out roads, unless that's your thing. Regardless, the road can get rough so expect it to take a while to get out gets extremely dark and most of the camping spots are tricky enough to find in the daylight let alone after sunset.

There are three developed sites near the hot tubs and several more down the road. Past this point there are only undeveloped sites and the sand gets pretty deep.
We ended up staying at a developed campsite near the hot tubs. It was perfectly doable for us in a 20,000 pound rig but the sand gets deep in spots so get out and check conditions before committing yourself. Also, be sure to stop and pay your's only $3 per night and the fees go directly back into this area so don't be cheap. Rangers and/or hosts will check to be sure you've paid.

Any further forward and we'd probably need to tow truck to get out of the sand...
Was the trip worth it? Well, since we don't have ATVs with us we didn't do any 4-wheeling (other than our scouting trip) and since it's a popular OHV area hiking isn't advisable. There are just too many blind spots with the dunes and shrubbery. There's also no AT&T or Verizon signal (we do not have boosters so I don't know if those would help). And while hot springs are almost always nice it would have been so much better if we could enjoy the hot water at sunset and/or into the cooler evenings. After all, who wants to soak in 105 degree water, under the noon day sun, while in the hot desert? Okay, okay, we did do just that but only once. It's still a pretty cool stop over for anyone who wants some 4x4 or ATV time along with some nice soaking tubs.

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