Twenty-six miles north of Española on U.S. 285, Ojo Caliente (Hot Spring) is, like Jemez Springs to the south, an old resort village based around natural mineral water, now sporting a funky, post-hippie ambience. Set among red cliffs, the pools are attractive and worth a stop if you’re driving through, but they’re not necessarily deserving of a day trip from Santa Fe, unless you’ve already been to Ten Thousand Waves there, and want more spa action.
The main pools are managed by Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs (800/222-9162, www.ojocalientespa.com, 8 a.m.–10 p.m. daily) and built around a 1916 hotel building and several paved pools—one big public one (Mon.–Thurs. $16, Fri.–Sun. $22) and several private options ($40 for two for two hours). You can also stay the night here, in basic cottages ($199 d), in the historic hotel building ($119 d), or in the campground ($12).
There’s also a nice bed-and-breakfast in town, The Inn at Ojo (Hwy. 285, 505/583-9131, www.ojocaliente.com, $115 d).
© Zora O'Neill from Moon Santa Fe, Taos & Albuquerque, 2nd edition