Officials at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area have announced the temporary closure of the popular Arizona Hot Springs due to high levels of fecal bacteria in the waters.
The closures went into effect immediately earlier this week and will remain in place over the next couple of days.
The areas affected by the closure include the Arizona Hot Springs Trail, the Arizona Hot Springs themselves, and the White Rock Canyon parking lot located on Highway 93. The trail leads to the springs and the parking lot provides visitor access. No entry, parking, or dropping off of visitors is currently allowed in the closed areas.
Recent water quality testing by the National Park Service found bacteria levels in the Arizona Hot Springs that far exceed federal and state safety standards for recreational water contact. The source of the contamination appears to be improper disposal of human waste in or near the hot springs. With bacteria counts at unsafe levels, the waters pose a health risk for visitors.
Park officials have already begun taking corrective action to improve water quality in the affected areas. This involves steps to reduce bacteria levels down to acceptable federal and state standards. The closed hot springs will remain off-limits to visitors until the water quality has improved sufficiently to make them safe for public use again. This process is expected to take a couple of days.
The National Park Service would like to remind visitors to always follow Leave No Trace principles when enjoying public lands. Packing out all trash and properly disposing of human waste at least 200 feet from any water source helps prevent contamination. Following these guidelines will help keep the waters in Lake Mead National Recreation Area clean and safe.
Once bacteria levels have declined and federal safety standards are met again, the National Park Service will reopen the Arizona Hot Springs Trail, Arizona Hot Springs, and White Rock Canyon parking area to the public. Park staff will continue monitoring water quality regularly to ensure it remains at healthy levels for recreational access.
The hot springs closures serve as an important reminder of how visitors camping and hiking on public lands can impact fragile ecosystems. By following Leave No Trace ethics and maintaining proper hygiene in remote areas, the public can help protect bodies of water for recreational use for years to come. The National Park Service appreciates the cooperation of all visitors during this temporary closure.
Cover photo courtesy of: Mina Guli