Chinati Hot Springs, based out of Ruidosa, TX, has been a refreshing oasis for travelers to the Chihuahua desert for years.
Visitors from both sides of the border have enjoyed the warm mineral springs since before there was a border! Over the years, the springs have traded hands.
The Hot Springs Airport and general store in the metropolis of Ruidoso is your lifeline to civilization. Not only do they have everything that you expect from a general store, but the owner selects and ships in excellent wines from all over: from Austin to Argentina, Chianti to California.
It is conveniently located at the turn off to Hot Springs Road, so if your GPS fails you (which it will) or if Siri suddenly (and mercifully) falls mute (which she will), you can pop into the store and ask a live person for directions!! Visit the in-store bar, considered to be most remote bar in all of Texas.
Most people visit Chinati Hot Springs to get away from all that…but, if you are desperate, you could drive down to the general store and have a drink in "The Most Remote Bar" in all of Texas, inside the general store. There, you can access their WiFi while enjoying your drink.
If relaxing under a cottonwood tree or soaking in a hot mineral bath isn't enough action for you, there are myriad activities in which you can participate.
The springs are situated in the Chihuahua Desert, one of several north American deserts. Unlike the Mojave Desert, which is a higher-elevation desert associated with the Joshua Tree, and the neighboring Sonoran Desert, which has the mighty saguaro as its calling card, our desert is associated with the sotol or "desert spoon" (Dasilirion wheeleri). Chinati Hot Springs is the perfect starting point for a hike.
We have 640 acres to hike on with hiking trails. A wash runs right next to the springs, which provides a sandy and easy trail (warning: never hike in a wash during the rainy season because of the danger of flash floods. Even when you can see no rain, there is serious danger)
The paved road at the bottom of Hot Springs Road (aka the River Road) is a biker's dream. There is little traffic on the road because the road dead-ends in the town of Candelaria, several miles to the west. All along the road are hills that make your ride like a roller coaster. The road parallels the Rio Grande on the south side, which is a shallow affair, thick with reeds.
Take a scenic drive along the River Road eastward to Big Bend Ranch State Park, famous for the beautiful slot canyons. There are many trails to choose from in this vast, unspoiled wilderness, and it's a must-see for geologists and rock-hounds!
Years ago the sleepy town of Marfa Texas was virtually unknown, but then minimalist sculptor Donald Judd came along and turned it into an international destination for art. One can stroll down the streets of Marfa and hear Italian, German, and New York-ese being spoken by fellow travelers.
In October, the Chinati Foundation holds its annual festival, and the streets of Marfa are wall-to-wall with artists, collectors, and aficionados from all over the world. The Chinati Foundation has an impressive, permanent collection including the milled aluminum boxes of Donald Judd and the light-art of Dan Flavin.