Existing Facilities > Hot Springs
About the Springs
The La Verkin Hot Springs (also known as La Verkin Sulphur Springs, Dixie Hot Springs or Pah Tempe) is a natural spring located on the Virgin River on the boundary between Hurricane and La Verkin that produces approximately 5,000 gallons per minute, or more than seven million gallons daily, of 107-degree Fahrenheit water. The springs release an astounding 109,000 tons (6,813 semi-truck loads) of salt annually into the Colorado River making it one of the top three pollutants of the river that is the lifeblood of the southwestern United States.
Visiting the Springs
The springs are currently closed to the public. The district currently anticipates that the springs may be reopened as a public community recreational amenity once environmental and safety issues have been addressed, including completion of ecological studies, analysis of the actions and costs related to improving water quality, providing for property management and installing a wastewater service that meets the requirements of the public health department. The district plans to institute a collaborative public process involving the local governments who might have an interest in recreational management. A timeline for the reopening of the springs has not currently been established.
The springs high salinity and contamination levels (10 times the maximum allowed for human consumption) limit use and pose unique challenges to our regional and local water supply. The district is working with federal, state and local organizations to consider treatment options to improve the water quality.
The need to protect our existing water supplies from blending with the contaminated spring water has dominated the district’s system designs starting with the Quail Creek Project more than 30 years ago. These design considerations limit the ability to tap into the full flow of the Virgin River and allow for the beneficial use of water.
Scientists from the United States Geological Service (USGS) are performing a series of tests to evaluate potential salinity control options for the springs. USGS will produce a scientific report that will be available to the public. Timing for the release of the report has not yet been determined.
The district has invested significant time, resources and financing to protect the native and endangered aquatic habitat threated by the springs high temperatures and contamination levels. The district was instrumental in creating the Virgin River Resource Management and Recovery Program (Virgin River Program) and continues to invest as a partner with the program to facilitate recovery actions for fish and other state and federally protected species.
Thomas Judd, a young entrepreneur from England and the driving force behind the construction of the La Verkin Canal, was the first recorded owner of the hot springs in 1881. Under his ownership, a cement wall was constructed to dam the springs and create a pool where early pioneers could bathe and soak. The springs were free and open to the public.
In 1914, A.B. Christenson purchased the springs from Judd and outlined a plan for organizing a sanitarium. Access roads, a pool and dressing rooms were constructed in preparation for a May 1918 grand opening.
Rules were established for the hot springs and announced during Sunday school. A women’s swimsuit must have elastic in the sleeves below the elbows and in the legs below the knees. Men were permitted to swim in a shirt and overalls, but the shirt had to be elbow length and the overalls cut off below the knee.
During 1923 and 1925, a new bath house was built (after the original was destroyed by fire in 1923), a property manager’s house was built onsite and additional private baths were constructed bringing the total to five.
The property and springs went into the private ownership of Morris Wilson in 1936. Since then, there have been several private owners of the property and hot springs who operated the springs as a profit-seeking business.
Prior to becoming the sole owner in 2013, the district was a majority owner of the water rights for the springs and the property including the resort location, having acquired title in 1994.