Did you know… there is a mystical reason to travel to Monroe, Utah – the Mystic Hot Springs!
The Mystic Hot Springs are naturally occurring geothermal pools in Central Utah, about a three hour drive south from Salt Lake City. They have been used ever since the Indigenous People, including the Ute, Piute and Shoshone tribes, discovered them long before settlers came to the area. The Native Americans made camps near hot springs, taking advantage of the warm ground to help keep them warm on cold winter nights.
Since the hot springs were located along the Old Spanish Trail, a trade route linking New Mexico to California, settlers stopped to rest and rejuvenate in the warm waters. In 1886, Thomas Cooper homesteaded the hot springs, and in 1905 opened the first bathhouse, eventually adding guest cabins and even a dance hall.
The resort’s modern incarnation was created by a man named Mike Ginsburg, otherwise known as “Mystic Mike”. Ginsburg was traveling back to Denver in his bus in 1995 when he came across what is now the Mystic Hot Springs. Ginsburg and his wife purchased the resort and run it to this day.
In keeping with its history, “Mystic Mike” still offers overnight stays, campsites, concerts, and other events. There is also a menagerie of animals like peacocks, an emu, a llama and six ponds with a wide variety of fish, including tropical varieties thanks to the proximity of the thermal waters. He has added a vintage school bus repurposed as an overnight cabin.
As part of a restoration project currently underway at Mystic Hot Springs, historic cabins from across the surrounding valley are acquired, moved to the site and lovingly brought back to life. Known as the Pioneer Village, it currently has 15 cabins in different stages of their restoration, and fitted with more modern accommodations than were available at the time they served as a settler’s home!
The thermal waters contain a high amount of calcium carbonate, which forms the big mounds of minerals you see around the pools. The calcium carbonate precipitates from evaporation of hot spring and hardens to form a colorful material called travertine, which is a type of limestone.
Unlike is most hot springs, the H2S gas is not as prominent, so the springs don’t have the distinctive “rotten egg” smell. Bathers can choose between individual bathtubs or larger pools to enjoy the naturally hot water, which runs between 99 and 100 degrees F, while admiring the colorful formations around them.
The Mystic Hot Springs are another example of geothermal waters being used by people across the ages. From Indigenous People to pioneers to modern day campers, they’ve all experienced everything this unique environment has to offer.