Jordan Hot Springs Via Little Bear Canyon Trail

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Gila National Forest

Jordan Hot Springs Via Little Bear Canyon Trail is a 13.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Pinos Altos, New Mexico that features hot springs and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, nature trips, and backpacking and is best used from May until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 13.3 miles Elevation Gain: 1,459 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly

backpacking

camping

hiking

nature trips

hot springs

river

The hike starts out with a gradual uphill for about one hour, then one hour downhill into a canyon until you reach the fork of Little Bear Canyon and Middle Fork. From here, there are about ~15 river crossings so, waterproof shoes are essential.

backpacking
2 days ago

I really loved this hike! First time really exploring in the area. Highly recommend. Easyish backpacking for beginners, which we had a few in the group I was in. The first 4 miles of the trail is the hardest, since there’s not a ton of shade or any water. Our pups got a bit hot the first leg, so I would make sure you pack some water for them or go earlier in the hotter months. There were so many river crossings the last 3 miles to the Hotsprings! Which I absolutely enjoyed, BUT I wished I had brought my chaco sandals! Definitely bring extra shoes since you’ll for sure get your hiking boots soaking wet. Overall, gorgeous scenery. Very lush. This was a great getaway from the heat and felt lovely to be by the water.

hiking
3 days ago

The first part of the trail offers no shade- about an hour/hour and a half. The next hour you head downhill towards the canyon. In the canyon it’s very shaded and very interesting! But keep going because beyond that is a beautiful stream & canyon. We made this our stop because of a friends I injury. We were told that after you crossed the water, it was about about hour after to the hot spring. It’s a great hike. Long and not too uphill/downhill. Well marked too.

hiking
4 days ago

Water levels are down from some of last month’s posts. Crossings very manageable. Spectacular rock formations in the canyon and along the middle fork.

hiking
6 days ago

Hiked Jordan Hot Springs trail 5/23/20. One of the best hikes in New Mexico. This hike is a must do. The trail is easy if you are accustom to hiking high peaks. The canyon, river, and hot spring are beautiful. Wear hiking boots the first four miles to the river. Bring a small towel and a pair of good quality water shoes for the hike to the hot springs. Wear your swim suit. There are plenty of places to swim along the hike. After you return from the hot springs dry your feet off and put your hiking boots back on. You will get blisters on your toes from the sand in the river if you continue to hike out of the canyon with your water shoes on. There are plenty of places to primitive camp on the trail and on the road to Gila Cliff dwellings, highway 15.

hiking
10 days ago

@JIMMY LOPEZ did you do this hike during our current pandemic? Was there no problem arriving and entering the trai?

hiking
13 days ago

This was an amazing experience absolutely loved the area the hike and the camp back packed in and had a great time the scenery is beyond beautiful and what words or pictures can describe

backpacking
19 days ago

Saying waterproof shoes are essential represents a fundamental misunderstanding of this trail, or any trail that follows the forks of the Gila. Waterproof shoes are good for wet grass and puddles, not walking knee-deep in a river. You might as well strap buckets to your feet and fill them up. You need shoes that will drain: Tevas, Chacos, or just non-WP with mesh sides. Your feet will be wet, lean into it; it's worth it.

25 days ago

My favorite hike I did while I was in the area, but definitely do an overnighter- way to beautiful to rush

hiking
27 days ago

Incredible hike, absolutely would go again! Like my fellow reviewer here, I hiked it in Tevas the whole way, but next time I’d do the first half in hiking boots and switch to sandals when the river crossings begin. The deepest river crossing was about waist height on April 29th. BRING A POLE. Those crossings are no joke for a novice. The hot spring is absolutely idyllic. Honestly, every twist and turn of that trail brought new awe inspiring wonder. I did it in one day, hiked in at 10, made it to the hot Springs you 2, relaxed for 3 hours, and booked it to make it out by 8. Next time, I plan to camp overnight.

backpacking
28 days ago

backpacked in on Friday May 1st. Keep an eye on USGS CFS discharge rates before you go. The river was gauging at about 220 CFS on the 1st. The crossings were at their highest, mid thigh. This water is still moving swiftly and the rocks are slippery. I would not recommend inexperienced hikers attempt these crossings until the CFS of discharge is closer to 100. All that being said, the hike was beautiful. We backpacked in and stayed on the bank across from the hot spring. There were 14 other backpackers who also spent the night on the bank across from the hot spring with us (17 of us in total). It was busy but we were able to spread out and give everyone their space. Hiking out on Saturday morning we saw at least 10-15 more hikers and backpackers headed to the hot spring. I would recommend bringing a separate pair of shoes to change into when you arrive at the river and begin the crossings!

hiking
29 days ago

10/10 trail!! This was one of my favorite hikes. I did it as a day hike..totally doable if you start early. I was on the trail 8-4 with 2 hours spent in the hot spring. It’s a relatively easy hike, only small elevation gains. The water crossings were about mid/upper thigh. I didn’t bother with footwear changes, just wore Tevas the whole hike. It’s great time right now as nobody else was on the trail, it’s well maintained, great weather, and the springs are clear and beautiful.

backpacking
1 month ago

River crossings (16) we’re about knee high. River was a little swift but our two dogs got across no problems by themselves. Hot springs were nice and clean. Water shoes are a must or neoprene socks with your boots. Awesome trail. Great views and a creek picked up about 3 miles in leading to the river at 4.

backpacking
flooded
1 month ago

Tried to make it through this past weekend but the water levels were too high to cross. We camped st the 1st water crossing about 4 miles in. A couple groups made it across about waist high water.

Great little hike. Recommend camping near the hot springs and making two days of it.

hiking
7 months ago

The first 2.5 miles of this hike is uphill and mostly exposed to the sun with no access to water. The downhill part for the next 1.5 miles has some pretty canyons and a waterfall. At the junction with the river 4 miles in, there's an enormous campground that could probably hold 50 people, though no one was there when I went. After that, there are a lot of river crossings. I wore Keens and neoprene socks and my feet were fine. Another guy in our party just wore Keens and got friction blisters from the straps. Another wore Crocs and was fine. Another wore neoprene socks and hiking boots and that was fine except the next day his boots were still wet. The hot spring itself is fantastic, about 20 feet by 15 feet and deep enough to get up to your neck if you sit down. It's very comfortable, maybe 90-95 degrees F. There are several nice campgrounds with firepits and logs to sit on just one more river crossing past the spring.

hiking
7 months ago

amazing!

hiking
7 months ago

Definitely recommend this trail! Every moment is breath-takingly beautiful. I made the mistake in not bringing water shoes. I would definitely recommend this since you will be walking in rivers which some may go up to your knees. Also, looking for the hot spring can be a bit tricky. When you are close, you should see a small waterfall. Test the water and if it is warm, take a right up the hill and you should find the spring. My friend and I went straight past this another 2 miles and had to turn back around. Bring plenty of water & enjoy!

hiking
7 months ago

Fifth year going , awesome as usual , a lot of people this time but still awesome! Love it ! See you next year Gila

If you're driving up to the Gila Cliff dwellings you might as well camp for a few nights. I did this as a long day hike but it would have been a fantastic backpacking trip. Not too much incline. It was a beautiful stroll through a canyon oasis. I still can't believe that was real. Yup, 15 crossings but none deeper than my knees. The hot springs were perfectly warm and provided a great escape. This land is truly sacred.

Super fun hike! Great camping places meet the springs! First time camping and it was amazing!

hiking
8 months ago

Beautiful, beautiful wilderness. The trail was great, but unfortunately was stopped halfway due to bad thunderstorms and didn’t get to the hot springs because of all the river crossings. Oh well! The view back was tremendous!

hiking
9 months ago

Very very beautiful out there and the hot spring was awesome! As others have mentioned, lots of river crossing. Initially tried using our existing waterproof backpacking boots but just ended up with boots full of water and walking with water sloshing around inside, switched to the Tiva sandals with neoprene socks and that worked out fine.

hiking
10 months ago

absolutely amazing hot springs. great hike starting in Mesa desert, then a small slot canyon, then a amazing black bear canyon, then crystal clear warm springs. amazing. do not start hike to the springs from visitor center to get to the hot springs, start from TJ corral, this is if you are trying to hike in and out in a day. it can be very long hike from the visitor center!! We camped at springs. We also hiked in the river for a mile, saw snakes, deer, elk , all kinds of wildlife, so many fish!! big trout!! if you push through bushes to stay on the trail you are not on the trail. trail is very well tracked out. not too sure how people got off trail.. but eh ! also it's not even close to 15 - 16 miles like a previous review said.

hiking
10 months ago

definitely would be best as a backpacking trip! The first hour is strenuous with an uphill climb then it descends into the canyon. I hiked four miles in with a mostly dry creek bed. The trail crisscrosses the creek bed multiple times and there were lots of wasps and flys. At one point I was pushing through bushes to stay on the trail. Didn't make it to the springs as it started thundering while I was in the canyon so I hiked back out. Gila is beautiful and there's plenty to do around the trailhead such as the cliffdwellings and hot springs.

hiking
11 months ago

Did this for a 1-day out and back via Little Bear Canyon. Total time out was 8 hours. Have a good water shoe plan. Each river crossings has fine sand making it sandpaper on the feet when using Teva watersandals. Maybe tennis shoes with wool socks would be a good way to go. Did it mid-June. About 90 out. Used most of my 3 liters of water. The hot springs we're a nice break. No one there on. Friday at noon. Little Bear Canyon is a treat in the lower portion. Very lush.

hiking
11 months ago

This was a wonderful trail. The hot springs were perfect after a day of hiking. The first part of the trail was a little more difficult with the elevation change and the heat. I would recommend starting early in the day to beat the heat. But once we got into the canyon the temps were perfect. We used old running shoes and wool socks to cross the river which worked better than sandals or water shoes in my opinion because it kept most of the sand out. I look forward to doing this trail again.

hiking
Fri May 24 2019

Absolutely stunning! More like 15-16 miles round trip but well worth it. The trail was mostly easy. The only moderate part was the incline towards the beginning of the trail and the water crossings toward the end. The hike itself was beautifully dramatic and the hot spring was perfection. Most beautiful hot spring I have ever seen. I stayed for about an hour and was the only person on a Monday afternoon.

backpacking
no shade
rocky
Mon Apr 29 2019

Don’t recommend starting the hike after noon during the summer months because of the dry trail for the first 2 miles of the trail after that it drops into a valley eventually leading to the spring. The valley is absolutely stunning! Saw some bear scat but if you hike between dusk and dawn you may not spot any. The spring was crowded when we got there, camping across the river is probably the best bet instead of by the actual spring! Very beautiful and great backpacking adventure! Highly recommend!

backpacking
Thu Apr 25 2019

Completed as the last day of a two day backpacking loop. The Hot Springs are warm and gorgeous. We had the place to ourselves. The walk back comprised of numerous river crossing along the Middle Fork. Once you hit Bear Canyon you follow a stream up out of the canyon. High and dry for the last third back to the visitors center. Filter water at the confluence of Bear Creek and the Middle Fork if needed.

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