Winter weather doesn’t really arrive in Hot Springs until January. The town might get some cold weather in December, but, generally, December weather is chilly (in the 50’s) but pleasant. Even in January the average daytime temperature is well into the 40’s and the night average is in the low 30’s to upper 20’s.
Christmas in the Mountains
The Town dresses up for Christmas with ornaments on telephone poles, a manger, and a large Christmas Tree on Bridge Street. Most merchants decorate their businesses and all the shops are stocked for Christmas shopping. The annual Christmas Parade is on a Saturday in early December and is always a lot of fun.
Surrounded by White Mountain Tops
A nice feature of the winter weather in Hot Springs is derived from the topography. Because the town is in a valley, it is largely protected from snowfall due to the slightly warmer temperatures. The valley might get 2-3 inches of snow and a day or 2 later it is gone. In the higher elevations, the 2-3 inches might translate into 10-12 inches. It is not at all unusual for the town to have a dusting of snow and have the mountain tops gloriously white with new fallen snow for several days. In winter, if it’s snow you want you will find it at higher elevations like Max Patch or Wolf Laurel.
Hiking is Great Many Winter Days
Most days are bright and sunny in the winter making for particularly good hiking. With the foliage down, views from the mountain trails are wonderful with long-range vistas and the structure of the mountains more visible than when trees are covered with leaves. Favorite hikes include Lover’s Leap which has good sun exposure. The hike at Jack Branch is great as is parallels the French Broad River and has wonderful river views . Going up Pump Gap Trail and then taking the Appalachian Trail back toward town provides a good contrast of the green rhododendron, laurel, pines and hemlocks makes winter hiking especially enjoyable.
Warm up With a Hot Mineral Bath
Whether you have been sitting fireside all day reading a book, snoozing, or outside enjoying a brisk winter day, a soak in the hot mineral springs followed by relaxing massage is a great way to warm up on a chilly day.
Fun in the Snow
If you are looking for fun in the snow, it can be found close by at higher elevations. You can always count on snow at Max Patch in mid-winter. This 5,000-foot bald mountain is good for cross country skiing or just playing in the snow. At the edges of the bald there are drifts that wisp over the top of the mountain and get 3-4 feet deep. Not too far away, Wolf Laurel Ski Resort has man made snow for skiing and snowboarding.
Valentine’s and Winter Romance
By February, the winter days start getting longer and most days, temperatures rise into the high 40’s and low 50’s. Many accommodations in Hot Springs have fireplaces and, in winter, are toasty and very inviting. The hot mineral springs are open year-round and, with water temperatures of 102-103 degrees, a soak in the springs is great even in the coldest of weather – in fact many people prefer a hot soak during the coldest of weather.When Valentine’s Day arrive in Hot Springs, we know that spring is just around the corner.