Healing Waters Trail Truth or Consequences (T or C) New Mexico

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Healing Waters Trail is a 3-mile loop that brings you through the historic mineral springs spas in downtown Truth or Consequences (T or C for short), to the Veterans Memorial Park, and winds through the desert to the Rio Grande and back downtown. Enjoy beautiful views of the mountains, bird watching, and learn about the history of Truth or Consequences, formerly known as Hot Springs, New Mexico.


Healing Waters Trail map - Truth or Consequences New Mexico

A map of the Healing Waters Trail in Truth or Consequences New Mexico


7 Quick Facts About Truth or Consequences

1. Population: 6,475 (2010 census)
2.  First healing bathwaters spa created in late 1800’s
3.  Native Americans visited the healing waters long before settlers
4.  Located on the Rio Grande in southern New Mexico
5.  Incorporated as Hot Springs New Mexico in 1916
6.  Name changed to Truth or Consequences on March 31, 1950
7.  Popular with tourists due to mineral hot springs


Colorful pink, purple, blue, turqhoise Pelican Spa in Truth or Consequences NM

The Pelican Spa is brightly painted in pink, purple, blue, and turquoise


So Why is it Called Truth or Consequences?

In 1950 a popular radio show called Truth or Consequences, hosted by Ralph Edwards, announced that the show would broadcast its 10th anniversary show from the first town that changed its name to Truth or Consequences.

Hot Springs New Mexico changed its name on March 31, 1950 and Ralph Edwards broadcast the show from there on April 1, 1950.

Truth or Consequences is usually shortened to “T or C” by locals. It doesn’t matter what the town is called Hot Springs – T or C – Truth or Consequences – it’s a groovy little town in the New Mexico desert with a bunch of mineral springs.


Reed wall and door TorC NM

A wall and door made from reeds – Truth or Consequences New Mexico


Back in the 1930’s there were dozens of hot springs spas in Truth or Consequences. Some of the spas have free flowing springs, such as La Paloma. Other spas draw their water from a well.


An info board for Hot Springs Bathhouse Historic District NM

Walking the Healing Waters Trail watch for the information boards posted on the route


I found the locals friendly and interesting to talk to in Truth or Consequences. There’s a relaxed vibe in T or C and I felt safe walking around town by myself, day or night.

I highly recommend doing the Healing Waters Trail, or at least a portion of the trail.


Rotary Park near the Rio Grande in Truth or Consequences New Mexico

Rotary Park near the Rio Grande in Truth or Consequences New Mexico


Healing Waters Trail Info

Distance: 3 miles (4.8 km)
Type of hike: Loop
Difficulty: Easy


Map of Hot Springs Spas Truth or Consequences

Map of Hot Springs Spas Truth or Consequences


Healing Waters Trail is part nature walk and part historic and cultural walking tour in Truth or Consequences New Mexico. Watch for the signs posted around town with the map of Healing Waters Trail and points of interest along the way.


Colorful mural Millies Doll in Truth or Consequences NM

An Art and Antiques shop with a colorful mural in downtown Truth or Consequences NM Main Street


I first spotted the trail sign in front of the Geronimo Springs Museum on Main Street. The museum is definitely worth a visit.

Entering the Geronimo Springs Museum and talking with an Apache gentleman named Harold, over two hours passed before I left. Harold has a lot of interesting stories to tell and I am grateful that he took the time to share some of his wisdom with me.


Geronimo Springs Museum in historic Truth or Consequences NM

Visit the Geronimo Springs Museum in the historic downtown Turth or Consequences NM


For me, the most interesting exhibits at the museum are not the pioneer stuff, but rather the information about the Native Americans. It’s refreshing to visit a museum with photos and information about individual Indians, rather than general information only from the American or European settler perspective.

Walking the downtown portion of the trail in the historic district you can stop and get something to eat at Passion Pie Cafe – to sustain you during your hike :)

From the historic area to Veterans Memorial Park on S Broadway St there is not too much to see but you can walk off that delicious homemade pie you ate at Passion Pie Café.


Veterans Memorial Park TorC NM

Veterans Memorial Park in Truth or Consequences is included in the Healing Waters Trail


After visiting Veterans Memorial Park, the trail meanders through the desert with beautiful views of the mountains, including Turtle Back Mountain.


Healing Waters Trail vegetation info

Healing Waters Trail vegetation info


The trail is well marked, and you’ll see desert plants and maybe a few of the animals and birds in the area. While walking along the overlook of the Rio Grande I saw a beautiful Great Blue Heron flying close to the river. I didn’t get a chance to get a photo of the heron but if you have a decent telephoto lens you may have better luck!


Prickly Pear Cactus on a ridge overlooking the Rio Grande

Prickly Pear Cactus is common in the desert environment of New Mexico


Bring binoculars for a better bird watching experience. I haven’t bought binoculars yet, but I will get a pair soon. I’ve missed too many opportunities to see birds and wildlife because I didn’t have binoculars.


Purple flowers bloom in the desert of New Mexico on the Healing Waters Trail

Pretty purple flowers bloom in the desert of New Mexico on the Healing Waters Trail


Along Riverside Drive watch for the cool and funky art work hanging from the fence and gate. It’s a wonderful outdoor art display.


A sculpture of a cow's head made from discarded electronic parts

On Riverside Drive look for the creative sculptures including this cow’s head sculpture made from discarded electronics


Back in town and the historic area you can relax and enjoy a soak in one of the spas. Then get dinner at one of the local restaurants – my recommendation is Latitude 33 for delicious Asian inspired cuisine.


Mirror image of the foliage along the Rio Grande in Truth or Consequences New Mexico

Evening reflection on the Rio Grande in Truth or Consequences NM


Enjoy visiting Truth or Consequences New Mexico – the Healing Waters Trail is the perfect introduction for first time visitors to T or C.

While in New Mexico you should also visit White Sands National Park – America’s newest national park!

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About the Author

Susan Moore spent 7 months traveling solo around Southeast Asia back in the 90's. Returning to Canada she found a job working on rotation in Siberia Russia. She later moved to Austin Texas where she started a bookkeeping business, allowing her to work remotely. Currently Susan is in year 5 of a solo road trip around the USA and Canada, living a nomadic life, and writing about her experiences with a focus on hiking and cultural encounters. Read all about Susan » You can reach Susan Moore at Facebook or Twitter or Instagram

2 Replies

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  1. Jo Harmon says:

    I really need to go check out T or C soon your presentation is great and the pictures are fabulous.

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