J.O. Langford's impressive bathhouse is long gone; today the spring is contained by the foundation remains of the bathhouse, on the north bank of the Rio Grande. Relish a primitive bathing experience while enjoying unparalleled scenery.
Along a stretch beginning upstream of Rio Grande Village, a series of thermal springs emerge adjacent to the Rio Grande. All of the hot springs in this region are believed to be related to normal faults. These Basin and Range type faults formed between 18 and 23 million years ago. Today, groundwater circulating deep in the earth becomes heated before it returns to the surface as hot springs.
The most famous of the thermal features along the Big Bend of the Rio Grande is the Langford Hot Springs. Located where Tornillo Creek enters the Rio Grande, some four miles upriver from Boquillas Canyon and the Mexican village of Boquillas. The natural springs at the site are known as Boquillas Hot Springs. Boquillas is Spanish for "little mouths" and refers to the many small streams or arroyos that drain this part of the Sierra del Carmen range and flow into the Rio Grande. Later, when the springs were promoted for their health benefits, the settlement and spa resort there was called Hot Springs, and a post office by that name was established at the site in July 1914. Although there are several other small hot springs in the area, these larger and more accessible springs are the best known.Hot spring water is considered old water, fossil water, ancient and irreplaceable. Heated by geothermal processes and emerging at 105° F., the water carries dissolved mineral salts reputed to have healing powers. The water contains calcium carbonate, calcium sulfate, sodium sulfate, sodium chloride, and lithium. The springs' flow rate in 1936 was 250,000 gallons a day, but more recent measurements show a decrease. The therapeutic value of heat has long been touted as a remedy of both body and soul.
Be aware that some hot springs can burn you either with the scalding effects of heat or the caustic nature of the water chemistry. Use caution when bathing and limit the exposure of children to the warm waters.
Visiting the Langford Hot Springs
Contact Big Bend National Park for more information and before visiting to get any current conditions or updated information.
- Be respectful of others; soak only, and use no soaps or oils.
- Swimming is not recommended; be aware that adjacent river currents and depths can be unpredictable.
- Please help to keep the area clean by picking up trash.
- Alcoholic beverages and glass containers are prohibited.
- Overnight camping in the area of the Hot Springs is prohibited.
- It is illegal to purchase items from vendors operating on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande.
Hot Springs Road
The two-mile gravel road descends down a rough, narrow wash to the Hot Springs Historic District and trailhead area. Note: Motor homes and oversize vehicles are prohibited on the one-way sections of the Hot Springs road.
Hiking to the Hot Springs
From the trailhead, the hot spring is a 0.5 mile round trip. A one-mile loop trail continues from the hot spring around on the bluff above the Rio Grande, returning to the trailhead area. The hot spring is not accessible by car.