Kamchatka’s Hot Springs

Photo: V. Rusin

Photo: V. Rusin

Second only to Kamchatka’s volcanoes for visitor attractions, are thermal springs finding their way to the surface from the bosom of the earth. The peninsula abounds in hundreds of springs, many are accessible, others more challenging to reach. Some springs are on the territory of nature reserves, while others are out of reach in the mountains. Here is described the most popular hot springs that are accessible for tourists without a helicopter.

Photo: V.Rusin

Photo: V.Rusin

Zelenovskye Lakes

Near Pinachevo hydrogen sulfide pool, there are bathing places called “Zelenovskye Ozerki.” These hot springs are, probably, the most popular on the peninsula. A preventive clinic has been built here. Every day, hundreds of people come to these springs to restore their health. The chemical composition of the water is a complex mixture of minerals and salts, however the therapeutic effect is produced mostly by radon and hydrogen sulfide. The springs are said to improve metabolism and strengthen the immune system. Hydro-sulfuric baths have been found to have a beneficial effect on the heart, facilitate healing of skin lesions and have cleansing properties. They also have anti-inflammatory, resorbable, analgesic, and pain relieving effects. Hydro-sulfuric baths are recommended against inflammations in the musculoskeletal system, peripheral and the central nervous system, may help to alleviate gynecological disorders and skin diseases.

The clinic is located 50 km from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. It is reachable all the year round by any transport. No accommodation is available.

Paratunka Thermal Springs

Nizhnye Paratunskye or Lower Paratunka Thermal Springs are easy to reach, which makes them very popular with the residents and visitors. Thermal water outlets, heated by the earth to 92°С, are found in the Paratunka River valley. Of all places with thermal springs, this area is the most habitable. There are many recreation centers with swimming pools, comfortable rooms, and lodges. The thermal water here is rich in chloride, sulfate, sodium, and siliceous minerals; the gas composition is nitrous.

The recreation centers and resorts, located 60 kilometers from Petropavlovsk, are reachable by car or by public bus. Accommodation is available in hotels.

Photo: A. Dumanovskaya

Photo: A. Dumanovskaya

Verkhne-Paratunskye Springs

Verkhne-Paratunskye or Upper Paratunka Springs are situated 18 km southwest of Paratunka village on the left slope of the river valley with the same name. They are concentrated on a small slope break of Goryachaya or Hot Hill. Here about twenty hot springs merge, forming three warm parallel brooks. Seventy meters downstream from their sources, the brooks, flowing along abrupt slopes, end in a warm waterfall. The water temperature in springs varies from 39 to 70 °С. From May to November one can reach them from Petropavlovsk by car.   The springs are located 70 km from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. Camping is the only accommodation.

Karymshinskye Hot Springs

These springs are a part of Upper Paratunka geothermal system. They are located 80 km from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky in the Karymshina River valley.

Hot water flows from numerous outlets of the low bluff, forming beautiful multicolored incrustations overgrown with thermophilic algae. In the center of the spring site there is a borehole with outflowing hot water. There is also a small pool, a changing room, and a pool with cool water. The site is equipped with a bonfire place, a table, and benches. The springs have prophylactic effect on the musculoskeletal system. They are also recommended in case of allergic and skin diseases. From May to November one can reach them from Petropavlovsk by any transport except for public bus. In winter – by snowmobile or skis from Termalny settlement. Camping is available.

Photo: M. Shevlyakov

Photo: M. Gonsales

Malkinskye Thermal Springs

The springs are found in a picturesque locale, 5 kilometers east of Malky village on the Klyuchovka River bank. On a small thermal field covered with pebbles, there are six groups of gryphons where thermal water mixes up with the cold river water.

Malky is one of the most popular places for recreation with residents of Petropavlovsk and Yelizovo. Hundreds of people arrive here with their families and friends to camp on weekends. Close to the thermal springs is a recreation center with a thermal water swimming pool and cabins. Malky is linked to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky by 125 km of asphalt road. Accommodation is available in cabins and camping.

Nalychevo Thermal Springs

Fifty kilometers from Petropavlovsk, in the opposite direction from Paratunka, lie Nalychevo Hot Springs. The 40 sq. km. area holds several hundred springs. The most famous of them are Nalychevo Mineral Springs. Talovskye are the most exotic springs in Nalychevo: within a 1,500 meter area thermal water emerges in large funnels on top of travertine domes, which can be over two meters high. Talovskye Hot Springs refer to the same hydro-chemical type as Nalychevskye, but the amount of sulfate and hydro-carbonate is a bit higher.

Three thermal springs are located on the Goryachaya or Hot River bank; all of them have bathing places. The largest springs in Nalychevo refer to a very rare type – carbonaceous, arsenious, and boric and are rich in micro-elements. The amount of dissolved carbon dioxide varies from 150 to 300 mg/dm3, while the water temperature – from 14 to 75 °C. There are only a few mineral water deposits of this kind in the world. Waters with the similar chemical composition are found only in the USA’s Steamboat Springs and in La Bourboule, the famous French resort.

Walking tours to Nalychevo Thermals are recommended for tourists of average physical condition. They are also reachable by off-road vehicles to the park border. The springs are located 50 km from Petropavlovsk. Accommodation is available in cabins and camping.

Photo: A. Dumanovskaya

Photo: A. Dumanovskaya

The Bystrinsky District’s thermal springs

Anavgaiskye Springs are found in the Bystraya River valley, 8 km southeast of Anavgai aboriginal village. In the village there is a swimming pool with thermal water and amenities. Several upward springs come from the lake bottom and along its shores. The lake having 240 sq. km. aquatory is located on a flood-plain terrace. The temperature of springs is below 43 °С.

The springs are found 495 km from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. They are reachable by any transport, including regular bus. The road is gravel with patches of asphalt. Hotel accommodation is available.
Esso Hot Springs are located in the Uksichan River valley, 2 km from its mouth. Six large springs are scattered within 2 km of each other, in a flood plain terrace.   The hot springs provide the central settlement of the Bystrinsky District, Esso village, with thermal heat. Every hotel as well as almost every private house has a pool with thermal water.

The springs are located 520 km from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and are reachable by any transport including daily public bus. The road is gravel with patches of asphalt. Accommodation is available in hotels and guest houses.

Zhirovskye Thermal Springs

The springs are located in the middle current of the Zhirovaya River, 10 km from the Pacific Ocean shore at the base of Zhirovsky Volcano. A tourist refuge including cabins is equipped with a thermal water pool. There are several large and numerous small gryphons with water up to 99 °C. The springs’ output is 30 l/sec, mineralization – 0.63 g/l; silicic acid – 0.166 g/l. These waters have hydro-sulfuric, sulfate-hydrocarbonate-calcic-sodium composition.

Tourists reach these springs mostly by off-road vehicles due to numerous rivers and streams, but walking tours are also available. The springs are located 25 km from Mutnovskaya Geothermal Power Station. Accommodation is available in cabins and camping.

Timonovskye Thermal Springs

These springs are a monument of nature found on the territory of the Timonovsky Regional Zoological Sanctuary. The springs are located on both banks of a picturesque narrow valley located on the left upper reach of the Pad Timonovskaya River (the left tributary of the Srednaya or Middle Avacha River), 2 km to the northwest of Timonovskaya Mountain, at 700 meters above sea level. The waters of these springs have sulfate-chloride-hydrocarbonate-sodium composition with aggregate mineralization of 2.8 g/l, the amount of silicates is up to 220 mg/l; the water has high concentration of bromine (up to 1.9 mg/l) and iodine (up to 0.33 mg/l); other micro components in the water are lithium, cesium, rubidium, fluorine, boron (3 mg/l), and arsenic (0.15 mg/l).

A high concentration of arsenic in some springs makes their waters undrinkable.  Chiefly hiking or horse trekking tours are organized to Timonovskye Springs. They are also reachable by off-road vehicles. The springs are located 70 km from Razdolny village. Plan to camp.

Bolshye Bannye Hot Springs

The springs are located in the southern part of the peninsula in a picturesque valley on the upper flood-plain terrace on the left bank of the Bannaya River. There are 24 groups of springs scattered over the thermal field of 1.5 km, with over 550 water outlets. The Russian scientist and explorer Stepan Krasheninnikov was the first to describe the springs after visiting them in January 1738. The mineralization is 3.23 g/l. with chemical composition of primarily sulphate-sodium. The aggregate mineralization is 0.7-1.4 g/l with silicates up to 300 mg/l. The water and geyserite have a small amount of boron and arsenic. Nitrogen and CO2 prevail in the composition of spontaneous associated gas. The output of the Bolshye Bannye Springs is approximately 60 l/sec., mineralization – 1.13 g/l, the water temperature is above the boiling point, the amount of silicates is 0.23 g/l. These springs are very popular with off-road drivers because of the challengingly rough 40 km road from the springs to the nearest settlement – Sokoch village. From June till September, the springs are reachable by either off-road vehicle or on foot, and in spring by skis or snow mobile. Accommodation is available in two cottages with pools and camping.

Verkhne Hot Springs

Verkhne or Upper Opalskye Hot Springs are a monument of nature located on the territory of the Oleny Dol or Deer Dole Regional Sanctuary. The Upper Opalskye Springs are found on the right bank of the Levaya or Left Opala River’s nameless tributary, approximately 3 km from its mouth and from 4 km to the east of 536 m elevation. Four high-output gryphons (up to 25 l/s) with water temperature of 72-74 °C are found in a birch tree forest. The chemical composition is chloride-sulphate-sodium with aggregate mineralization of 0.4 g/l. Intensive gassing with prevailing nitrogen is observed. A cozy bath with a sandy bottom is 200 m from the head of the thermal stream at a place where the water cools down to 44-45°C.

It’s recommended to reach this place by off-road vehicle. The springs are located 180 km from Petropavlovsk. Plan to camp.

Kipelye Thermal Springs

Kipelnye Springs are located 40 km from Shchapino village in the Kronotsky Federal Nature Reserve. They are found on the both Left Shchapino River banks. Active Kizimen Volcano is located only 14 km from them.

The left-bank springs consist of two manmade pools 35 and 20 sq. meters. The bubbling water in the tubs resembles boiling water, though its temperature is only 38 and 40 °С. The water drains to the river. The right-bank springs are located 250 meters from the left-bank springs. Here on the thermal field is a warm lake, stretching along the river bank with numerous gas and water outlets on its bottom and on its shores. The water temperature is 33-35 °С. The chemical composition of Nizhne-Shchapinskye Springs is similar to Narzan Springs in the Caucuses.

The springs are hard to reach because they are located far from Petropavlovsk. It’s recommended to visit them with tourist groups organized by travel companies providing transfer to the springs. Accommodation is available in a cabin and camping.

Turmokskye Thermal Springs

The springs are located 20 km from Low-Shchapinskye. There are 15 thermal water outlets 42-58 °С. There are other springs, but the temperature there is lower, which makes them uncomfortable for bathing. The chemical composition of Upper-Shchapinskye Springs is similar to Essentuky Mineral Springs.  There are comfortable bath houses, a cozy hotel, and cabins.

The springs are hard to reach because they are located far from Petropavlovsk. It’s recommended to visit them with tourist groups organized by travel companies providing transfer to the springs. Also walking tours from Kipelye Springs (20 km) or from Lazo village (about 65 km) are available. Accommodation is available in a hotel, cabins, and camping.

It’s almost impossible to tell about all holiday places located at Kamchatka’s thermal springs. However, no matter what you may choose for rest and recreation, the effect will amaze you. Any of them will help you to regain strengthfrom Kamchatka’s unique nature.

This article was published with permission from Kamchatka Explore Magazine. Author: Ivan Fomin

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