Just before the rain season is about to start here in Seattle, we took the chance to spend one last nice late summer day at the Goldmyer Hot Springs in the Cascade Mountains. Actually we were quite lucky that the weather turned out to be so beautiful, despite the fact that we had made our reservation weeks in advance and the predicted thunderstorm did not show up.
The springs – known as Goldmyer Hot Springs – is a beautiful 20-acre tract of privately-owned land that sits between U.S. Forest Service land and the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area. To reach our destination it took us about an hour’s drive up the Middle-Fork trailhead until we arrived at a parking place. From there it was a two hours hike (about 4.5 miles) to the springs on an elevated, but mostly even path along the Snoqualmie River with great views on the river and the mountains.
Goldmyer Hot Springs is owned and managed by the non-profit, Northwest Wilderness Programs (NWWP). When we reached the entrance of the springs the current caretakers welcomed us at their house, explained the rules and checked us in. While the organization and their team of volunteers dedicated to protecting this unique natural resource and preserving its wilderness character, only 20 visitors are allowed at the springs per day or overnight on the campground.
While campers can pitch their tent in the campsite, hot pool hikers can continue on, following the signs to the hot springs. This trail twists upward through an old growth forest, offering a steep but scenic hike to the springs. The area at the springs provide three pools, a bathroom, a cabana and a picknick table–all settle right along a waterfall and a wild creek of the Snoqualmie River.
The spring emerges inside a narrow cave. At the source, the water temperature measures between approximately 117-120 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the pool in the cave is around 110 degrees with the two pools outside getting subsequently cooler. In the early 1980s, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources collected samples of the hot spring water. “The low conductivity and total salinity of the Goldmyer Hot Springs water are unusual for the relatively high temperature. The waters are primarily sodium chloride, moderately high pH and sulfate concentration, and very low magnesium concentration.” Other minerals present include trace amounts of potassium, calcium, lithium, silica, bicarbonate, sulfate, fluoride and hydrogen sulfide.
People come to Goldmyer to soak, relax, and to find healing in the hot, mineral-laden water that flows out of the ancient rocks. We spent about four hours at the springs, while having some great conversation, good food and a very relaxing time before our hike back.
Notice: Due to the popularity of Goldmyer Hot Springs and the fact that the admission is limited to 20 people per day, you must call in advance to make reservations. The springs fill up fast, but the winter is one of the best times to enjoy smaller crowds! Fee is $15 per person. For more information, go to the Goldmyer Hot Springs website at www.goldmyer.org.
From I90 take Exit 34, and take a left onto 468 Street and stay on the road until it meets the Middle Fork Snoqualmie Road (aka Forest Road 56). Take a right onto the Middle Fork Snoqualmie Road and follow it for 12.5 miles until its junction with Taylor River Road. Continue onward, following Forest Road 5620 for five miles until the Dingford Creek Trailhead.