For an idyllic day trip from Santa Fe sure to leave you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated, I highly recommend heading to the mineral baths of Ojo Caliente. After a scenic one hour drive you will find yourself in a tranquil setting, with a number of soaking pools nestled at the foot some beautiful red rock formations. Alternate between the Iron, Lithia, Soda and Arsenic Springs, each with healthful properties said to ameliorate issues ranging from depression to digestion to arthritis. If it is not too cold, you can also enjoy the mud pool: toxins are released as the clay dries on your skin under the strong New Mexico sun.
My tip on Ojo is to get there right when they open at 8am, when the place is at its most quiet and serene. The place tends to get much busier and noisier starting around 10:30am. Despite the signs asking every to "Whisper Please", those signs are often ignored, which detracts from the serenity of the experience. If you vacate the pools around 11am, take a leisurely steam, sauna and shower, you can then have a lovely lunch at the Artesian Restaurant. The menu features fresh produce from their farm, and ranges from salads, soups, sandwiches, New Mexican-inspired fare, and more. I have always thoroughly enjoyed my meals at the Artesian.
If early morning is not your thing, another option is to arrive in the early evening, when the crowds have dissipated. You could enjoy a couple hours of soaking and then finish with a lovely dinner at the Artesian Restaurant. Or eat and then soak, as the pools stay open until 10pm. It is quite magical to soak under the brilliant stars overhead, and a real treat when the moon is full!
Rates are $24 Monday through Thursday (best days to go!), and $38 on the weekends and holidays.
If you get there at 6pm, the entry fee is just $20.
Towels are given out freely, but if you want a robe or lock for your locker, you will incur additional charges.