The Geronimo Trail National Scenic Byway offers adventures of all kinds: from outdoor adventures in our forests and on our lakes, to exploring our ghost towns, to taking a break from our hectic lives and taking a long soak in one of the several hot springs of Truth or Consequences, the “biggest” small town on the Byway.
Formerly known as Hot Springs, the city of Truth or Consequences (the locals call it “T or C”) has long been a destination for wellness tourism, being touted as America’s Most Affordable Spa Town. The downtown area sits over a huge geothermal aquifer of 110-degree-Fahrenheit mineral water which comes to the surface at the river and through wells and pools. For centuries, people have visited these hot springs for their healing properties, “taking the waters” at the many bath houses in town. Today, the charmingly restored hotels, motor courts and spas reflect this history and offer travelers a wide range of accommodations that retain the flavor of this bygone era, along with healing treatments including massage, reflexology, mud wraps, reiki, and more. Visitors seeking in-room private baths will find several to choose from, and most of the baths are open to walk-ins who can pay to soak by the half hour or hour.
After you’ve done some soaking, explore the streets of downtown T or C where you will find that the city has undergone a renaissance, attracting new shops, restaurants, wineries and a brewery where live music is frequently performed. Art galleries line the downtown streets where the monthly Second Saturday Art Hop brings residents and visitors alike outdoors to soak in the laid back vibe of Truth or Consequences. A newly established walking path, the Healing Waters Trail, loops through downtown’s hot spring & commercial district, anchored by the Veterans Memorial Park on the western end and Ralph Edwards Park on the eastern end.
What’s with the name? The Spanish town of Ojo Caliente de Las Palomas (Hot Springs of the Doves) was renamed Palomas Hot Springs by the growing population of Anglos in the latter part of the 19th century; in 1916 the city was incorporated as Hot Springs, New Mexico. Then in 1950 this little town got its big name as part of a publicity scheme to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Ralph Edwards’ hugely successful Truth or Consequences game show on NBC radio. Edwards suggested that there might be a town in the United States that “liked and respected” the show so much that it would change its name to Truth or Consequences. Hot Springs took the bait and in 1950 officially changed its name to Truth or Consequences.