A Guide to Saratoga’s Mineral Springs
Saratoga has been historically known as a thriving health and spa destination due to the city’s naturally carbonated mineral waters. These waters flow from the earth heavily charged with carbon dioxide gas and many vital minerals. Each spring has diverse characteristics, healing properties and a distinct taste. The springs are believed to have magic healing powers, and are said to help with skin ailments, assist with digestion and more!
Experience the bubbling waters for yourself, and take a self-guided tour! Stop by the Saratoga Springs Visitor Center, located across from Congress Park, to pick up a brochure and get more information.
Congress Park Area
1. Congress Spring
Congress Water was the most famous of the Saratoga mineral waters. Covered by a Greek Revival-style pavilion (a reproduction of the first built in 1826), Congress Springs flows all year round.
Benefits: thought to aid dyspepsia, gout and skin ailments.
2. Columbian Spring
Once known as “the headache spring,” the Columbian now dispenses municipal drinking water since the original mineral water vein has been lost.
Benefits: this “iron water” strengthens the stomach and increases red blood cell count.
3. Deer Park Spring
Also known as “the Deer Spring” and marked by an ornate green and white cast iron monument, this spring dispenses water from a vein of the Congress Spring.
4. Hathorn #1
On the northeast corner of Putnam and Spring Street is the Hathorn Spring, a moderately mineralized water. The elaborate pavilion, benches and landscaping are recent additions to this valuable natural resource.
Benefits: cleansing, diuretic and helpful to the stomach.
High Rock Area
5. Governor Spring
Named for Governor Charles Evans Hughes who signed the Spa State Reservation legislation.
6. Peerless Spring
A palatable, saline water of moderate strength, at one time was very popular with the public.
7. High Rock Spring
The cliff bordering High Rock Park marks the western edge of the Saratoga Fault Line. High Rock Spring is distinguished by a cone of hardened mineral deposits.
8. Empire Spring
Discovered in 1793, Empire Spring has been known as the Walton or New Congress Spring. Originally located behind the building, it spring was a favorite of Van Raalte Knitting Mill employees. In 2004, it was rerouted to the front of the building and re-tubed as part of the Mill’s restoration project.
9. Red Spring
Just past the renovated Van Raalte Mill, the Red Spring is known as the “Beauty Spring” for healing skin disorders.
Spa State Park
10. State Seal
Known for its delicious fresh water, it is very popular with spring water aficionados, who fill all manner of bottles and jugs at the ever-flowing taps. It is located on the Avenue of Pines in the Joseph Bruno Pavilion, opposite the Saratoga Automobile Museum, a former bottling plant.
Pro tip: drink up! This spring has delightful tasting water.
11. Geyser Spring
Located at the rear of the rectangular stone fountain under Joseph Bruno Pavilion, Geyser Spring has cathartic water that’s very agreeable as a beverage. This water was once very popular and bottled by NY State.
Note: this spring is considered to have the strongest tasting water.
12. Charlie Spring
The most recently drilled spring in the Spa Park is located near the Hall of Springs entrance to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. This spring was named in honor of Charles S. Dake, one of Saratoga’s leading community figures of the twentieth century.
13. Polaris Spring
The Polaris Spouter is located on the Loop Road in the heart of the park. The small quantities of radon gas present in this pleasant tasting water are viewed with some skepticism by American health professionals, while in Europe and Japan, drinking small doses of radon is considered beneficial.
14. Geyser Island Spouter
The Island Spouter and the Polaris Spring are accurately called “spouters,” but the Geyser Island Spouter is locally referred to as “the Geyser.” An island of hardened minerals surrounds this spring.
15. Hayes Well Spring
Near the parking area for the Geyser Island Spouter is the Hayes Well Spring. Some people still believe that inhaling the gas vented from the pipe at the back of the spring’s pedestal will clear the sinuses.
16. Orenda Spring & Mineral Bank
A short distance along the stream past the Geyser Island Spouter is another impressive deposit of hardened minerals, called travertine, formed by the overflow from the Orenda Spring. The Orenda Spring, located at the top of the hill, is rich in iron, for strong blood.
17. Hathorn #3
Hathorn #3 is situated at the south side of the park, on East West Road, off Route 50. At the height of its popularity, long lines of people waited each morning to start the day with a glass or two of this bracing water.
Benefits: slightly cleansing due to its magnesium content. The spring is also highly mineralized and is considered the most saline of Saratoga’s mineral waters.
18. Washington Boathouse
At the north corner of the park, the National Museum of Dance resides in the building of the former Washington Boathouse. The Museum offers a permanent exhibit with further information on the historic baths and mineral waters of Saratoga Springs.
19. The Lincoln Baths
The Lincoln Baths was the first bath house to open in what was to become the Spa State Park. The Lincoln Baths was the popular choice for "taking the cure" from the time that it re-opened in 1929 until 2004 when spa services were offered exclusively at the fully-restored Roosevelt Baths.
20. The Roosevelt Baths
The Roosevelt Baths are the last remaining historical baths in the Saratoga Springs area. Housed at the Gideon Putnam within the Spa State Park, guests can experience therapeutic treatments similar to those of the earlier bathhouses.