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Goldmyer Hot Springs

Goldmyer Hot Springs was the experience of a lifetime!

I initially heard about Goldmyer from a Facebook hiking group and immediately started researching. Turns out, Goldmyer is an incredible hotspings and campground run by the nonprofit Northwest Wilderness Programs, an organization established in 1976 to protect this natural treasures for generations to come. Once you're there it is obvious why they need to protect this unforgetable treasure.

Dating back from thousands of years, the hot springs flows through cracks in the cliff side of the beautiful, crystal clear, alpine creek. "The hot water starts as cold surface water, percolates down through the ground, and is heated by the temperature of the Earth’s interior. Hydraulic pressure causes it to flow back up to the surface through cracks in the bedrock. The heat of the water causes it to pick up minerals from the rocks it passes by" as their official website explains.

Sadly, after a popular Seattle Times article published in 1972, claiming Goldmyer as the perfect place to "gather and party", overuse, vandalism and ultimately the lodge being burned down by squatters, we took this incredible treasure from us all. It is thanks to the land owners and hundreds of volunteers that Goldmyer is restored to the gem it is today!

Winning Your Spot

There are 2 ways to visit Goldmyer... day hike or overnight camping. Both require winning their lottery system to snag a spot. This lottery system serves dual purposes: it helps preserve the incredible property by limiting human impact on a daily basis and it also helps limit the number of people in the hot springs at one time... which you will REALLY appreciate when you are there.

To win your spot, enter the lottery system here. It's easy! You just pick the dates you could go from their calendar and submit your request 2 months before the lottery is drawn. The following month, the winners are chosen (contacted by phone) in preparation for visiting the following month. APPLY!! We never thought we would win and won the FIRST time we applied. You never know, so why not try.

Getting There

Getting to the actual property is a whole adventure of it's own.

ProTip: READ THE DIRECTIONS they give you when you get your confirmation - Google will totally get you lost and take you past Snoqualmie Pass, about 30 minutes out of the way.

The road to the trailhead is WILD! You absolutely MUST HAVE a high clearance vehicle. Potholes, rocks, dried up river beds, trees, sharp drops.. but it was a ton of fun to give my truck Rozetta a real workout. It took just under an hour to cover the 6 miles, which included a few stops to pick berries and take pictures, of course.

From the trailhead you can hike or bike to the campground, roughly 4.5 miles one way. This was our very first time backpacking so 4.5 miles WITH our packs was a lot harder than we anticipated. We did no training, never used the packs before, just thew them on and headed out. I wouldn't recommend this. I would for sure suggest a trial hike and some preconditioning. However, for a 37 and a 43 year old newbie we were damn proud of ourselves... and our packing skills. Walking into that camp and ringing the arrival bell was such a win.

As soon as we rang the bell, the lovely camp host came out and gave us a full rundown of the property, discussed the rules and even suggested the best nearby hiking trails to check out. Being that far out into the wilderness, it was nice to have a person to check in with way out there and it really does help keep the property safe and pristine. As hard as it is to win a chance to visit places like this, I am all for this new lottery system trend. I believe this will really help keep our most vulnerable places around for the next generations to enjoy too.

Goldmyer Campground

The camp provides a true backcountry experience. You MUST be self-supported and able to pack in and out all necessary supplies. Leave no trace! There is NO cellular or internet connection available (hallelujah), no lights.. just nature. Each campsite comes with a tie up for food to keep bears away, which works well because we never saw one.

There is a beautiful creek nearby Burntboot Creek that was easy to access from the camp with running water. We used our new filter system (more on that coming soon - the lady at REI was a genius!) and had no problems at all having more than enough clean, cold, fresh, GREAT tasting water the whole trip.

The campground does have rules to follow, which the live-in camp hosts go over with you upon arrival. For the most part, everyone seemed to respect the rules and kept to themselves... we hardly saw any of the other campers during our stay which we really enjoyed.

There are 8 campsite to choose from on a first come first serve basis. We made a strategic move a chose campsite #1 because it was the closest to both the hot springs and bathroom.

ProTip: Even though you are out in the woods, Goldmyer rules require you to use the toilet because apparently mountain goats love the smell of human urine. As tempting as it was to try and see a mountain goat, out of respect for the property we stuck to the toilet policy.

Our campsite was very cool! It had some really old mining equipment, 2 benches, a small wood round that was the prefect table, bear tye and a wonderful nice soft spot to put our new tent setup (the new gear turned out to be an AWESOME sleeping situation!!!! - more on that coming soon). Every campsite was unique and special in it's own way. It was really fun to walk around and pick our site.

ProTip: Check in and check out is at noon. That is when the most campsites are available to claim. Arrive then to get your best pick of the camp sites.

The Hot Springs

Pure Magic.

From the campground there is a 1 mile walk up to the hot springs. It is a short, steep climb to really make you earn that soak.

One of the coolest places I have ever been, Goldmyer is a natural wilderness area with a hot spring emerging from inside an old horizontal mine shaft. Amazing right!!! The hottest pool (actually a cave!!) sits around 111ºF (44ºC). The cave is so cool because it creates a natural steam bath sauna situation... there is even a bench to sit on and relax! The water cascades down into 2 smaller pools with progressively cooler temperatures around to 104ºF (40ºC) in the lowest pool. For the real brave individuals, there is also a cold water pool for a nice cold plunge in-between hot soaks

2 days a week there are cleanings from 9pm - 2am. We took advantage of this one night and went up to the hotspring at 2am to have the place to ourselves until well after sunrise. It was magical to be up there in the pitch dark, by ourselves, just listening to the waterfalls and the flowing creek. MAGIC!!

Otherwise, we only ran into only 2 other groups in the hot springs our entire stay! There are 3 small pools, so you can split up a bit if you can stand the heat of the cave. It was a bit hot for me up there... my favorite spot was the bottom 2 pools... plus, they both have little waterfalls that give excellent warm neck massages.

The first group we ran into was a couple that kept to themselves and left pretty quickly after we arrived. The second group was a day hike group of 5 women that were a blast to hang out with! There were boobs everywhere. No one cared. Everyone was laughing having a great time. It was incredibly liberating and comforting to be nude in a group of nice people, out enjoying nature, in a totally nonjudgemental, accepting, inviting setting. If you visit, LET THEM BOOBIES FLY!! It feels weird at first but its a lot weirder to be the only one in a bathing suit. Soak up the experience, free every inch of your body to fully experience the luxuriously hot natural spa, let your senses be free to take it all in. Trust me, you will be so glad you did.

Overall, Goldmyer was the experience of a lifetime! It was added to my bucket list the second I first heard about it and it was a dream come true to experience it. It was especially amazing to experience it with my favorite person. With no wifi, no cell service, no distractions... Goldmyer is the perfect place to disconnect from daily life and reconnect to what (and who) truly matters.

I can't recommend this adventure enough! Thank you to all the volunteers, the organization, the camp hosts and the land owners for sharing this beautiful treasure with us all.

Does this sound like somewhere you would want to visit?

  • 0%HELL YES!!

  • 0%Hell no.

  • 0%I would love to go on your next group trip there!

Pro Tips:

- No dogs allowed.

- Parking: Northwest Forest Pass or American the Beautiful Pass

- Be respectful and leave NO trace. PLEASE!!

- Goldmyer is a nude friendly hot spring. Most people we ran into did go nude as did we.

- The natural geothermic hot water contains several minerals, all in low amounts, one of which is sulfur, so be careful with your silver jewelry, it will tarnish.

Happy Adventures!

Love, Tay

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