Whether you’re a long time local or a first time visitor, you may have never even heard of Hot Wells. San Antonio opened the park on April 30, 2019 in order to preserve an interesting piece of history, and we’re here to tell you that if you haven’t visited, well, it’s time you do!
Learn all about it below in our guide to the Hot Wells ruins.
What Is Hot Wells San Antonio?
During the 19th and 20th centuries, resorts occupied the land around Hot Wells park, acting as a spot where people could experience the purported therapeutic powers of hot sulfuric waters that flowed from the well in the area.
The original bathhouse burned down in 1894. Otto Koehler bought the property, expanded, and built Hot Wells Hotel, a chic place for locals and visitors alike to stay and enjoy the waters. However, at the onset of Prohibition, the hotel closed and subsequently burned down once again in 1925.
New owners eventually took over and turned it into an entertainment spot. But for a third time, it caught on fire. After the third fire, the location turned to ruins. But that wasn’t the end, as another fire burned through the remains again in 2011.
Finally, in 2015, Bexar County acquired the site and restored it, turning it into a great place to visit along the Mission Reach Trails.
Where Are the Hot Wells Ruins Located?
Hot Wells Park is located at 5503 S. Presa St in Precinct 1. You can find it along the Mission Reach section of the San Antonio River Walk.
When Is Hot Wells Park Open?
Hours vary based on the season. During the summer, the Hot Wells ruins are open from 9 am to 9 pm. During the winter, it still opens at 9 am, but closes earlier at 6 pm.
Tips for Visiting Hot Wells in San Antonio
We highly recommend you visit Hot Wells at sundown. You won’t have to deal with the sun beating down on you (there’s not much shade), but perhaps more importantly, the lighting added to the ruins makes for a really stunning picture. Don’t believe us? Check out this Reddit post featuring a TikTok video by @sonia_blade_ highlighting documenting the nighttime experience.
Make sure to stop and read the signs. They offer details on the history of the site that are really interesting, such as the fact that Teddy Roosevelt once visited.
And while it’s a cool spot, you likely aren’t going to spend a ton of time here. So maybe consider making it part of a bigger trip. For example, you could rent bikes and ride the Mission Reach Trail and visit the missions, and make this one of your stops.
Want to learn more about Hot Wells San Antonio? Check out the Edwards Aquifer site here.
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