Jordan Hot Springs Via Little Bear Canyon Trail

MODERATE 89 reviews
#1 of 62 trails in

Jordan Hot Springs Via Little Bear Canyon Trail is a 13.3 mile lightly 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.

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

hiking
3 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
3 months ago

amazing!

hiking
3 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
3 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
4 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
5 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
5 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
6 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
6 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
7 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
7 months ago

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
8 months ago

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
8 months ago

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.

hiking
Mon Nov 05 2018

Great trail, no see wildlife but lots of tracks, hikers camp at Gila river intersection is excellent. Beautiful area

Sun Oct 21 2018

Aside from the piece of shit yelling "LINDA" for an hour strait, it was pretty cool. Next time you lose someone dude, GO LOOK FOR THEM. You pretty much ruined the serenity of this spot for everyone. Expect to see a lot of people on this trail during the weekend. Hot springs are more warm than hot.

Great Hike went in at 1:30pm was hot the 1st 2 miles in with no shade, then once you get past the 2 mile marker it gets better. Stayed overnight at the springs and hiked out in the AM. No snakes but did see fresh cougar tracks.

Mon Sep 17 2018

watch out for rattlesnakes, they are out there, be careful.....my fourth time out here, and its the first time we saw one , happy trails

backpacking
Mon Sep 10 2018

Early September 2018. Great hike! We started at 2pm and got to the Hot Springs around 5:45pm after taking a few of breaks. The hike starts out with a gradual uphill for about 1 hr, then 1hr downhill into a canyon until you reach the fork of Little Bear Canyon and Middle Fork. No water in the first twi hours. Though the hard copy map shows to not cross Middle Fork yet, it seems like that trail hasn’t been used in a while, cross it and just follow it, all the way around. It then took us almost 2 hours to reach the hot springs. The only hard thing was that we didn’t know how far we were going and even though it’s all flat, you are slowed down the river crossings. Once we got there all the good flat camp spots were taken, but we found a good one nested up in the river bank, so we camp here. Went into the hot springs in the morning (very nice in the beginning, then they were warm) and then took off. We got lucky, no storms while we were there, though you could see them creeping nearby. It seems as if these thunderstorms are unpredictable. We did get stuck in a hail storm the night before but this was 30-40min out from the Visitor’s Center on highway 15. The Middle Fork water was fine, we brought aquamira drops and used them a few times. The water was clear. Note that water is used upstream. No signs of bears, cougars, nor wolves. Only birds, squirrels, and lots of frogs. Would definitely come back to do more than one night. Have fun!

backpacking
Wed Sep 05 2018

Absolutely stunning. Worth the river crossings and feels good after hiking for a bit. Pack hiking shoes and then sandals along with poles to help with the cross.

Sat Sep 01 2018

It’s an interesting hike because you’re going through a diverse scenery on your way to the springs. However be warned, you will be wading through the Gila river multiple times, at least knee deep

camping
Mon Jul 23 2018

Awesome trail. A little bit bumpy at the beginning because of the rocks, but once you get to the hot springs it really pays off. We camped about 4 miles deep into the trail and it was beautiful. We saw a fox, two deers and a snake. No signs of bear or wolves. Really amazing place if you want to be far from civilization.

Tue Jul 17 2018

Beautiful, peaceful...go on a weekday too avoid a lot of foot traffic, I’m gonna do it again!

hiking
Sun Jun 17 2018

Neat hike and destination! Be aware that there are rattlesnakes in the tall grass along the river. I almost stepped directly on one while wearing sandals, which were preferred over boots due to the numerous river fords. There is no cell service and it's a long hike back to the car and then to civilization, so it would be a bad place to get bit.

Mon Jun 04 2018

We went the opposite way, over the cliffs and after 2 days ended up here. Feet and ankles were hamburger. This was so welcomed! We had the place to ourselves and it was so badly needed. Pristine, clear and gorgeous. We soaked and healed and it was amazing. The thing nobody really mentions are the immense amount of bear tracks in the area. We came across 2 black bears about 3 miles deeper into the canyon on our way to the springs. Just be aware, but totally enjoyed this part of our through hike.

running
Sat Apr 21 2018

Gorgeous hike! Beautiful bluffs after you drop into little bear, and get on the river. Definitely a scenic and worth while hike! The pool is big enough to stretch out and enjoy, was tucked perfectly into the hill across the river when you get to a little camp site (look north/NE, on river bed for small trail leading up - the pool is not on the main river!).

hiking
Wed Mar 14 2018

Beautiful trail, and totally worth it. The last 2 miles you cross a fork of the Gila River 15 times one way, and the water was only up to about my knees at the deepest (I'm 5' 5"). We wore Chacos but our feet ended up getting pretty beat up in the water, so I would probably recommend a sneaker you don't mind getting soaked and then bringing another pair of dry shoes. In the morning going out the water was extremely cold! However, it was totally worth it as the canyon was beautiful and the spring relaxing. The visitor center has maps available for $4 or can show you one before you go. They told us it was 14 miles round trip. There were several other people camping there while we were there during spring break, but there is plenty of room to spread out to camp near the spring, so you won't disturb one another.

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