San Antonio Hot Springs/Jemez Hot Springs was a spontaneous stop on our way down to the Sonoran Deserts of the US. We had been driving hard with 3 kids and I was pregnant so we were all looking for a little leg stretching. When we first entered the park it was very very quiet. Unbeknownst to us it was off season and most of the campgrounds were closed! We found the Guest centre just before closing and found out there was only one campsite open....at the top of the mountains! So we made our way up the winding hills. Past the closed campgrounds, past the closed B&Bs. and past the families in their cozy log homes sitting down for a hot dinner. We reached the snow dusted self serve campground and raced to set camp before we lost the light. As we scurried about collecting wood, cooking dinner and pitching our tent, the rangers drove by. They slowed to a stop and eyed the kids who were running around looking for dry wood. "Don't let those youngsters beyond arms reach" they said in a low voice so the children wouldn't hear, "the mountain lions are fast and not afraid of humans". As soon as the kind rangers left we rounded up the kids and moved the campsite to a spot not-so-deep in the woods! That night it went down to -2degrees C. Brrrr We thought our 11 year old niece was going to become hypothermic as she insisted on only wearing her matching PJ set and using her ultra-light degree sleeping bag would be good enough! TIP: Always make sure you bag is rated for 5 degrees warmer than what you expect to encounter!
We spent a couple of nights there exploring the natural hot springs and the fantastic trails they had all over the mountain range. The hot springs were not really HOT...they were luke warm for themes part which is perfect for kids!
We were the only tent campers aside from a pair of hunters but there were a handful of people in trailers in a separate section of the campground and day visitors trickled in to enjoy a steamy dip and some fishing. There's a great convenience store with a super helpful Canadian fellow and the mass we picked up from the visitors centre were extremely helpful and informative. We didn't see any wildlife but we spent a lot of time warming up in the hot springs so I'm not surprised!