Melt your stress away at Granite Hot Springs
The true joy Granite Hot Springs offers is the simple experience of laying on your back in a 110 degree pool on a -10 degree, absolutely clear bluebird day, staring up through the steam at the snowcapped peaks surrounding you on all sides.
By Connor Kunz
Whoever said pools are only for summer has never been to Granite Hot Springs in the winter. Nestled in the Gros Ventre Mountains a few miles from US-191, Granite Hot Springs is a naturally-heated spring with a large manmade pool and onsite changing facilities.
The springs are located ten miles down a groomed but unplowed road and are accessible during the winter via snowmobile, dogsled, or cross-country ski. If you’re looking for a new, very unique experience, a dogsled tour definitely brings some authenticity to the trip. Cross-country skiing is the cheapest and easiest logistically, but at ten miles each way it’s not for the faint of heart. Snowmobiling is the most popular and generally most feasible way of reaching the springs.
Pro tip: as an officially run and maintained site, the pool’s enforced policy on swimsuits (“Wear them”) makes it a particularly family-friendly place to swim relative to other more remote and more clothing-optional hot springs in the area.
The experience of soaking it up in the springs is a stellar payoff for the planning and execution required to get there in the wintertime. The pool is large enough to accommodate quite a few people without feeling crowded, and tucked against the mountains the location is so scenic it’s almost ridiculous. The true joy Granite Hot Springs offers is the simple experience of laying on your back in a 110 degree pool on a -10 degree, absolutely clear bluebird day, staring up through the steam at the snowcapped peaks surrounding you on all sides.
Bonus points: See who can lay in the snow longest before you jump back into the pool. (Author’s note: My personal record is 7 seconds, which was shattered moments later by a small but determined 9-year-old girl.)
While the presence of a man-made pool may turn off some adventure seekers looking for a more natural setting, the pool adds convenience and comfort in the cold winter months. It also provides significantly more space to prevent the kind of crowding that occurs at other popular hot springs.
A few need-to-know facts: The pool is maintained by the Forest Service, and costs $6 per adult and $4 per child. Winter pool hours run 10-6. The pool closes for a month twice a year for maintenance, so be sure to call ahead (307-690-6323) as specific dates are dependent on the weather.
Directions: Driving south on US-191 from Jackson, turn left at Hoback Junction toward Pinedale. Follow 191 12 miles until you see the signs for Granite Hot Springs and a parking lot on your left. From the parking lot it’s approximately 10 miles to the springs. The road from the parking lot to the springs is typically well-packed and groomed.
Connor Kunz is a writer, photographer, pasta enthusiast, and anti-boredom advocate. He lives in Jackson Hole while he pursues his dream of living in a mountain shack that gets fiber-optic wi-fi and pizza delivery. Follow his Instagram @connor.kunz17 for photography of Jackson Hole and the surrounding area.