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The Sanpete Messenger

Adventure close to home: Mystic Hot Springs, a hidden gem

The two-person tubs that sit atop a hillside provide the same piping hot mineral water as the main soaking pools, but their view is unrivaled. Add a meteor shower or a light snowfall and you have an unforgettable night.
The two-person tubs that sit atop a hillside provide the same piping hot mineral water as the main soaking pools, but their view is unrivaled. Add a meteor shower or a light snowfall and you have an unforgettable night. – Photo courtesy Skyler Greene Photography
Adventure close to home: Mystic Hot Springs, a hidden gem

 

By Robert Stevens 

Managing editor

9-1-2016

 

MONROE, Sevier County—When you live in a county with as much beauty and as many recreational assets as Sanpete has, it’s easy to take for granted some of the hidden gems that dot the landscape of our neighboring counties.

Once such gem is Mystic Hot Springs outside Monroe, a place to soak in the beauty of the outdoors while soaking in the hot water of a mineral hot spring.

Countless times when I have mentioned the hot springs to people in Sanpete County, their reaction has been, “Is that some kind of spa?”

The answer is “no.” You won’t find a clinical, spa-like  atmosphere at these hot springs.

The springs are owned by Mike Ginsburg, AKA “Mystic Mike.” They sit on a mountain-side property of 120 acres in the hills above Monroe, and if you go there, you will find pioneer cabins and hippy busses alike, all converted into sleeping quarters that ooze with atmosphere.

Since purchasing the property in 1996, Ginsburg has put a lot of work into it, such as moving in 33 pioneer cabins and converting 13 buses to sleeping rooms.

“When I first saw it, I thought it was about the most amazing place I had ever seen,” Ginsburg said. ” I said, ‘Wow, look at all this potential,’ and it has been the most amazing 20 years ever I could have ever imagined. I have met thousands of incredible people.”

At the bottom of the hill, behind the main office that doubles as Ginsburg’s home, sit two large soaking pools. Hot mineral water flows out from a hole in the rocks above the soaking pools, creating a waterfall effect and constantly pouring spring water into the pools, which sends steam up to envelope soakers in warmth.

If you are feeling adventurous, a steep, but short climb up the hillside will take you to a handful of tubs, which comfortably fit two adults (or a passel of kids) and offer more privacy.

The two-person tubs are a serene and intimate setting, and also have a constant flow of  piping-hot spring water flowing through them. In some cases a mini-waterfall pours out over a boulder, steaming with geothermal heat as it runs down the rock face and supplies the tubs with a flow of mineral-infused waters.

Sitting in the cliff-side, two-person tubs gives you a excellent view across the valley. Monroe glows in the not-too-far distance, but the lack of any other major light source enables you to see the night sky crowded with twinkling planets and stars.

Timing your soak at the Mystic Hot Springs to coincide with a meteor shower or a light snowfall adds another element to the experience that is unforgettable. Watching fiery space rocks fall from the sky while floating in steaming mineral waters sticks with you.

Emerging from those same warm and welcoming waters, fingers wrinkly and snowflakes sticking to your towel as you retire to your heated and well-lit hippy bus cabin is another unforgettable experience.

The candles and Christmas lights that illuminate the inside of the bus cabins, the tie-dye curtains and the clean and comfy beds make for an atmosphere that is not only bursting with character but is also kind of romantic.

You don’t have to rent a cabin or converted bus to go soak. Fifteen dollars will get you as long a soak as your heart desires. But you don’t even have to soak to have a good time at the hot springs.

Ginsburg says he has hosted more than 1,000 live musical performances since buying the place. “Once a very talented east-coast group called Acoustic Syndicate came, and they sang a cappella for their encore,” Ginsburg said. “They were all brothers and cousins, and they had similar genetics in their vocal chords.

“The harmony that came from that was amazing. It was so incredible that it felt like time stopped for just a moment. It was really unlike anything I had ever experienced before.”

The Mystic Hot Springs has also hosted 11 different music festivals, Ginsburg says. The festivals are weekends of music featuring bands from all across the country. Food and drinks are brought in. There is soaking, camping and creativity workshops for adults and kids.

Fireworks that light up the night sky as part of the Pioneer Day weekend music festival are just the icing on the cake. Viewing them from a bubbling mineral spring, looking down on the valley from your cliff-side tub, you might just consider what other hidden gems are out there, close to home, that you’ve been missing out on.

The main soaking pool at the Mystic Hot Spring is fed by an overhead waterfall overhead containing water from natural springs.
The main soaking pool at the Mystic Hot Spring is fed by an overhead waterfall overhead containing water from natural springs. – Photo courtesy Skyler Greene Photography 

 

Fireworks light up the night sky during one of music festivals hosted by the Mystic Hot Spring in Monroe. Although festivals only happen a few times per year, the hot springs have a lot to offer year-round.
Fireworks light up the night sky during one of music festivals hosted by the Mystic Hot Spring in Monroe. Although festivals only happen a few times per year, the hot springs have a lot to offer year-round. – Photo courtesy Skyler Greene Photography