No need to travel to Baden-Baden to soak in thermal spa |

No need to travel to Baden-Baden to soak in thermal spa

Ronni Hannaman
Carson Hot Springs General Manager Keith Shellhamer shows off the simple pumps that have pumped the clear spring water into the various pools for many years.
Ronni Hannaman |

Would you travel almost 5,590 miles to soak in Germany’s famed Baden-Baden thermal spas when just a few miles from your home there’s a great thermal spa where you can soak daily if you wish – no jet lag, no passport needed, and certainly far more affordable?

Tucked away in north Carson City is an ancient thermal spring where you can soak away your aches and pains in the very waters that have always originated from 35,000 feet below the surface of the earth flowing from the massive hydrothermal belt running north and south along the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada.

First used by Washoe Indians and those making their way to the California Gold Rush, today’s Carson Hot Springs still features the same restorative waters to soothe what may ail – whether physical or mental. Yes, right here, just off Old Hot Springs Road, we can affordably soak to relieve everyday stress.

The Carson Hot Springs is tied to our very colorful local history.

Ormsby County Sheriff Shubael Thaddeus Swift purchased the springs around 1872 from George Bath, naming the springs after himself. In 1894, James Shaw purchased the property naming it Shaw’s Warm Springs. In 1897, prize-fighter Gentleman Jim “Jack” Corbett trained there before his big bout against Bob Fitzsimmons.

In the early 1900s, the springs was renamed Carson Hot Springs by a group headed by George Wingfield and Fred Dangberg who built an elegant club house where big bands entertained in the 1930s & 1940s.

This was the place to see and be seen.

Don Richard Langson purchased the resort in 1962, turning over resort operation to son Richard in 1978. Richard renovated the bar and restaurant and began therapy and exercise programs.

Langson sold the Springs in 1999 to a group of investors from Anchorage, Alaska, headed by former Anchorage Mayor and U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, who, after 60 years of neglect, are currently in the process of restoring the property, hoping to turn it into a world-class resort and once again, the place to see and be seen.

General Manager Keith Shellhamer states, “We are completely remodeling the hot springs, literally down to the earth.” Today, there are all new drains, plumbing, walkways, signage, floors and changing rooms, bringing the resort up to today’s health standards. But, that’s not all that is on their “to do” list.

The Springs currently sits on four acres with an expansion planned to use the entire 6.5 acres within the next two years. Today, the former clubhouse houses the very popular Sassafras Eclectic Food Joint, offering entertainment in the evening. Built to their specifications is the soon-to-open Shoe Tree Brewery, adjacent to the restaurant. Plans to incorporate a boutique hotel on the property “to set it apart from the limited service properties, casino rooms and motels” could become a reality within the next few years, as written in a market study released March 2016.

Water in the pool, hot tubs and personal bathing rooms are drained and refilled daily providing a healthful and affordable environment for those who love to soak all year. It’s $12 for an all-day soak with $10 per person for kids and seniors. If you purchase a pass, the rate can go down considerably.

Water temperature is a comfortable 98 degrees with the private rooms going up to 110 degrees if requested. The pool water is cooled by a steady stream of cool mist. There’s a live webcam for those who want to see what’s going on at the pool. Log on to Carson Hot Springs is located at 1500 Old Hot Springs Road and not easy to find – the first time! Located off East College Parkway at Research Drive, within easy drive distance, it makes sense to hop in your car and not on an airplane if you want to relax and refresh.

Carson Hot Springs may not be as luxurious as the spas in Baden-Baden; however, the water is just as healing.