While there are thirty natural mineral springs in Ohio, there are no natural hot springs. But don’t let this dampen your enthusiasm for spending time outdoors in these natural waters.
There are many areas to explore, enjoy, and deepen your appreciation for nature.
Table of Contents
- How can you identify a natural hot spring?
- What is a natural hot spring?
- The Formation of Hot Springs – One Way
- The Formation of Hot Springs – Another Way
- The Development of Mud Pots and Paint Pots
- The Location of Hot Springs
- Hot Springs, People, and Safety
- Mineral and Fresh Water Springs in Ohio
- Hayden Falls Park
- Glen Echo Park
- Mineral Springs Lake
A hot spring is a body of water that may appear cool and inviting but when you touch the water, you realize that the water is warm and maybe even hot.
Hot springs will definitely be warmer than the air temperature and sometimes even your body temperature.
These naturally created pools of water will even be hot during the coldest winter, often steaming through the snow and ice.
Some hot springs even bubble dramatically creating an unusual sensation you can enjoy while you are soaking.
Natural hot springs are defined as a naturally occurring body of water where the temperature is greater than 98° F (36.7° C) as the source fills the pond or pool.
It should be noted that this is not a scientific definition of this phenomenon. Technically, any water spring that is warmer than the air and land around it can fall into this definition.
Hot springs are also known as thermal or geothermal springs. There are several ways that hot springs can form.
The way that they are formed is based on their location and soil composition.
One way that hot springs form is when rainwater collects in an area and is heated by contact with magma and volcanic activity.
As the water seeps into the soil, it is heated by magma located deep under the Earth’s surface. It is common for these types of hot springs to form near volcanoes.
As the water becomes heated, it becomes more viscous and pushes through fissures on the surface of the Earth.
If the water does not find appropriate cracks, pressure and steam will continue to build in underground pooling chambers.
Eventually, the pressure will push the water through the surface in the form of a geyser.
Hot springs can also form from draining rainwater that becomes heated from the radioactive elemental decay that can be found in many rocks and soil formations.
As the rainwater travels downward through the rocks and soil, it becomes hotter by 10–15° F for every 1,000 feet that it travels.
Eventually, the water becomes viscous and more buoyant than the surrounding cold water that is traveling down.
This creates a condition where the water is able to find fissures or cracks in the earth’s surface.
Eventually, when it finds a means of exit, a pool can form by the slowly flowing water. While many hot springs are still pools of water, when there is enough pressure, they can exhibit the qualities of a geyser.
Another phenomenon that can occur is when the hot spring’s water combines with soil and clay on its journey to the earth’s surface.
These are called “mud pots.” They are often vigorously bubbling pools known for their high acidity.
Additionally, the presence of large quantities of minerals can make the mud vibrantly colored. These are called “paint pots.”
Both of these types of hot springs can be found throughout the United States and much of Europe.
While most think of hot springs that are located on the surface of the ground, some are found in the oceans.
Recently, hot springs have been discovered at depths of 2.5 kilometers beneath the ocean’s surface. Often, these are located along mid-ocean rift zones where the ridge is actually spreading.
When looking for the ideal hot spring area to visit or vacation, Nevada is a good place to look.
The state has more hot springs than any other state. Nevada boasts 300 naturally occurring hot springs, many of which are located in the northern part of the state.
Another area that has a large concentration of hot springs is Desert Hot Springs, CA. This city, located in the Coachella Valley near Palm Springs, has an abundance of hot spring resorts to choose from.
Hot Springs, People, and Safety
Many hot springs have been developed into destination travel and vacation locations. One of the best examples of a nation’s embrace of the benefits of hot springs is Japan.
Their onsens, or hot springs, are developed into spas where people can enjoy the hot waters.
Travelers and locals are drawn to these hot springs due to the water’s high mineral content.
Many people believe that these minerals, combined with warm waters, offer many health benefits to those who soak in the springs.
For this reason, those with joint pain, skin conditions, and muscular problems often visit hot springs for “treatment” from the soothing warm water.
These types of hot springs are safe for people. However, whether the health benefit claims are true remains to be seen.
Many people do find that the warm waters promote greater mobility and reduction of joint and muscle pain.
Not all hot springs are created equal, though. Some spring water can be so heated that just getting in the water could cause burns or severe injury.
These are volcanic hot springs that actually heat water to the boiling point. A good example of this phenomenon is the hot springs in Yellowstone National Park.
Some hot springs also contain dangerous minerals and chemicals that are damaging or fatal to people.
There are 30 natural springs in Ohio, so there are many opportunities to relax and enjoy the water.
There is a large cluster of popular springs in Columbus, OH, and the surrounding area. These include Hayden Falls Park, Glen Echo Park, and Mineral Springs Lake.
If you are looking for a spa experience in the area with the benefits of a hot spring, there are many businesses to choose from.
Located in Dublin, OH, this park is situated within the Griggs Nature Preserve along the Scioto River.
The park is bounded by Hayden Run Road and lies to the west of the Griggs Reservoir bridge.
Enhancements, such as a boardwalk and an overlook, were created to preserve the natural ecosystem of the area.
The park improvements also mean that the area is accessible to anyone with mobility difficulties.
Within the park, visitors can enjoy a gorge habitat along the shore of the Scioto River. There you can enjoy the magnificent 35 ft waterfall as well as see many endangered and rare plants.
This two-acre preserve is a wonderful place to enjoy warm waters and nature.
If you visit this area, plan on spending the day to fully appreciate the flora and fauna of this preserved area.
To make it more convenient, there is a parking area and locations with picnic tables so that everyone can enjoy the waters with ease and comfort.
Also, be sure to enjoy the local Amish restaurants and shops in the area.
Another notable area with natural springs is Glen Echo Park, located in Columbus, OH. This ravine park is situated in the University Area and Clintonville.
Visitors can walk along the wooden embankments and enjoy viewing the wandering creek below.
While enjoying the creek area, visitors can also see the local, native plants that have been preserved there.
A walkway makes access easier and allows visitors to focus their attention on the natural beauty that surrounds them.
Access to the park is provided by stairs down from Cliffside Drive. It is also accessible from the Fourth Street service road or from under the Indianola Avenue Bridge on Glen Echo Avenue.
This leisurely access allows everyone to enjoy the natural spring waters located in the park.
Dedicated to the City of Columbus in 1912 by the Columbus Real Estate and Improvement Company, the park was created to serve “public park purposes forever.”
Now the park is known as a place to enjoy the water, do some bird watching, and generally surround yourself with nature.
This area is located in Peebles in Adams County and is well known for its beautiful waters. This natural spring lake has water that has a higher mineral count.
Originally known as Sodaville, the local resort is now known as Mineral Springs Health Resort.
A great option for enjoying this area is by visiting Mineral Springs Farm Resort.
This community is renowned for the healing waters of the mineral springs. Now it is also known as a place to be close to nature and joy the dark, blue-green waters of the lake.
In addition to the springs, people also come to this area to enjoy outdoor activities such as fishing, camping, and canoeing.
Embracing natural hot springs can be a wonderful experience. Even though there are no hot springs in Ohio, there are mineral springs where everyone can rejuvenate and relax in a peaceful environment.
Whether you seek out a natural mineral spring in Ohio or Southern California, you will likely benefit from the experience.
Finding the perfect natural hot spring or mineral spring for you and your family is easy after you deepen your understanding of the true nature of what a hot spring is.
With this in mind, you and your family can head off for a relaxing vacation that allows you to also further your appreciation of the natural world around you.