Good Morning. Truth or Consequences is a small, south-central New Mexico town with a big name. It’s also got a surprising amount of charm, style, and fun – not to mention some of the most underrated hot springs in the country. We’re taking a trip there today in our Monday Morning Moment.
T Or C – What’s In A Name?
Truth or Consequences may hold the distinction of being the only town in the United States named after a game show. When it was founded in 1916, the area was known as Hot Springs. The town was a small but popular resort destination due to the dozens of natural springs and the spas that sprung up to harness them. But that all changed in 1950, thanks to a popular radio and TV game show known as “Truth Or Consequences.”
To mark ten years on the air, host Ralph Edwards announced Truth or Consequences would do its anniversary show from a town that renamed itself after the series. Less than a month later, residents in a special election overwhelmingly voted to change Hot Springs’ name – with more than 80% in favor! Thus, on March 31, 1950, Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, was born. Some local businessmen were so excited that they planned a marketing campaign based on signs showing the distance to the town as far away as Cairo, Egypt.
Edwards was so charmed by the town following the broadcast that he vowed to come back next year. He kept this promise, not only the next year but for decades. Edwards returned in the first weekend of May every year through the late 1990s. The visit grew to include parades, carnivals, rodeos, boat races, celebrity stage shows and came to be known as Fiesta. It’s still celebrated every year, and most events are free.
Truth Or Consequences Hot Springs – Nature’s Hot Tub
Of course, T or C’s former name wasn’t an accident. The area really is filled with dozens of hot springs and a handful of great places to enjoy them. Water throughout the town reaches the surface at 98 to 115 degrees and contains at least 38 different mineral elements.
At its peak, the town hosted about 40 separate spas and springs! The hot springs heritage of this area is so strong that the National Park Service even designated major portions of the town as part of the Hot Springs Bathhouse and Commercial Historic District. These days, about ten remain, with various styles, moods, and services offered. These include La Paloma, Blackstone Hot Springs, Indian Springs Bath Houses, and Riverbend Hot Springs, which I visited in December 2018.
For $25, you’ll have access to the public hot spring-fed pools. Here, you can enjoy a soak with other guests in pools that include a former minnow pond from the property’s past as a bait shop. But for only $10 more, you’ll have access to your own private pool. You can enjoy a 50-minute soak in quiet, serene pools, some just steps from the Rio Grande. That was the case with mine, which was the size of a hot tub and included a waterfall that fed out into the river. High fences on either side provided privacy, and soft music made for a very relaxing experience.
There must be few more relaxing experiences than soaking in hot spring water in the cool December New Mexico air, watching the sunset on the mountains across the Rio Grande. It’s an experience that I would highly recommend to anyone as part of your Truth or Consequences experience.
Is Truth Or Consequences Worth A Visit?
Truth or Consequences may be a bit remote, but it’s absolutely worth the visit if you’re visiting central or southern New Mexico. The town is also home to some interesting western history, which you can learn about at the Geronimo Springs Museum. And don’t forget to visit Truth or Consequences Brewing Company, home to some delicious beers and an outstanding flight deal. It’s all just a small part of the beauty and charm that is New Mexico.
See you on the road,