Rich with history, Louisiana is and was home to some of the most intriguing natural springs in the country. With natural springs discovered well before the Civil War and some being namesakes for present-day cities, natural springs in Louisiana are a true gem!
After the Civil War, several areas with natural mineral water were vibrant resort towns. This attracted people from Louisiana and beyond to come to Louisiana in search of cures for their ailments.
Modern lifestyles have led to many springs being forgotten and, as a result, overgrown. We’ll share all the natural springs in Louisiana we don’t want to see forgotten.
Keep reading to learn about nine unforgettable natural springs in Louisiana!
1. Elgin Spring
Elgin Spring is an artesian spring located in Antioch, Louisiana–an unincorporated community in Jackson Parish. The community is usually associated with Farmersville, Louisiana.
This spring is the northern area of the state’s only groundwater source. Artesian springs are unique because they force groundwater to the surface by layers of rock surrounding the aquifer without the help of a pump like other springs often have.
Locals come to the spring to collect drinking water at this natural spring in Louisiana. It is an open-running spring connected to the Sparta Aquifer and covers most of Northern Louisiana. The spring is next to busy Highway 2, and visitors should park in a cleared area off the highway
This is also a popular location for Geocaching–a fun recreational activity where players leave hide-and-seek containers at specific coordinates to be found by others in their online community.
2. Kisatchie National Forest
Central Louisiana locals claim the unnamed natural spring at Kisatchie National Forest has the freshest drinking water in the state. The forest is a popular place to camp, hike, horseback ride, and engage in other recreational activities, and finding this special spring isn’t hard.
This natural spring in Louisiana is located off Forest Road 380 in Provencal. You’ll easily spot the spring because water constantly flows from two pipes inserted into the hill. The water source is behind the hill, where you’ll find a short hiking path.
Nearby is a popular place for dispersed camping since campers can easily obtain water from the natural spring. Locals and campers from the surrounding campgrounds also enjoy hiking to the spring to drink the water.
3. Hot Wells Resort
It all started in the mid-1900s when workers were drilling for oil in the west woods of Alexandria, Louisiana, and instead of finding oil, they found an underground spring. The spring was named after the hot mineral water it produces.
The spring became known for its ability to clear up skin problems for an individual who was unable to find other treatments that would work.
Word spread about the magical healing powers of this natural spring in Louisiana, and the spring grew in popularity throughout the state. Hotels and a swimming pool were developed, and visitors came from all over to experience the healing waters.
Today, only a few weathered-down buildings remain around the closed water wells. The Hot Wells Resort closed its doors in 1986, though its memory is still alive in the town of Alexandria.
Should you try to visit Hot Wells Resort now, you’re likely to encounter a ghost town. The old buildings from the resort were torn down in 2006 and the wells were capped. A three-unit apartment building sits in the spot of the old Hot Wells Resort.
In 2017, the land was purchased by new owners and discussions of revitalizing the magical resort took place, however, there was a conflict over who owned the underground waters. No updates have been made since, but we can always hope!
4. White Sulphur Spring
A story similar to Hot Wells Resort–in the mid-1800s, a sulfur spring was discovered by Joseph P. Ward ten miles southwest of the small town of Jena, Louisiana.
Despite its rotten egg odor (a well-known characteristic of sulfur springs), the landmark was a popular tourist attraction before the Civil War due to its supposed healing powers. The resort was known for its parties, fine wines, dancing, live music, and gambling,
There were hotels, a post office, and other buildings surrounding this Louisiana natural spring. After the Civil War, gaming was replaced by family-friendly activities.
The resort’s last owner turned the spa into a hunting and fishing resort because he didn’t like drinking. Everything was shut down after an inspector discovered contaminated water in the spring in the early 1900s.
This Louisiana natural spring’s only remnants are a shallow pool near a small gazebo (built in 1916 and restored in 1976), picnic tables, and a roadside park.
If you choose to visit the site of this historical Louisiana natural spring, you’ll still smell the foul, rotten egg smell, and you’ll see a sign marking the spot of the never-forgotten resort.
5. Belle Cheney Springs
Another central Louisiana historic resort site, formerly known as Sarasota Springs, Belle Cheney Springs (sometimes spelled Chaney) was one of the state’s most praised resorts. The cold natural springs in Louisiana were located northwest of Turkey Creek.
The area’s oldest residents still remember the resort, which was believed–like many other historic natural springs in Louisiana–to have curing powers. People would travel from New York to bathe in the water and have family picnics.
The resort was purchased in 1853 and advertised as a resort that would include spring water, live music, and ballroom dances twice a week. Visitors would take the Texas and Pacific or Morgan Railroad to come to this natural spring in Louisiana.
As the turn of the twentieth century came, the resort started to struggle, and new owners attempted to restore the resort, but unfortunately, nothing came of their efforts.
Sadly, the Louisiana natural spring is dried up and overgrown with grass in the piney woods of northwest Turkey Creek. If you decide to search for the historic natural spring, we recommend finding a local who knows the area to show you where the old spring is located.
6. Krotz Springs
The spring that inspired its town’s name, Krotz Springs, was discovered when Colonel Charles W. Krotz began drilling for oil in 1900. At 2,400 feet, he discovered an artesian well with strong pressure instead of oil.
Colonel Kotz bottled the water and bragged that Kotz Spring was “The coming health resort of the South.” He formed the Krotz Springs Mineral Water Company to market his artesian water, claiming the water ailed stomach, kidney, and bowel trouble.
He also claimed it could cure rheumatism, would dissolve gallstones, and was a cure for malaria. He touted it as “the finest bathing water in the world.”
A 1907 article in the St. Landry Clarion newspaper claimed, “It tastes like the ‘morning after’ when you first get it.” At that time, the water was only sold by the pint, but it would later be sold in smaller bottles. By 1910, the water was available in several stores across the country.
The town grew, and Colonel Krotz took great pride in his village’s spring water.
Although Colonel Krotz envisioned the village to become a resort town, it was not meant to happen. The town continued to develop and would include a school, Colonel Kotz struggled to see success in his business endeavors.
The town of Krotz Springs is located on the banks of the Atchafalaya River. Although the actual site of the original Louisiana natural spring water is not marked, the Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge is a popular place to visit because it’s part of North America’s largest freshwater swamp system.
7. Tilly Springs
A small natural spring in Louisiana off Don Plush Road between DeRidder and Merryville, Tilly Springs sits 157 feet above sea level. This natural spring is known for being a great fishing spot, and anglers report catching largemouth and spotted bass at it.
Locals also like to collect drinking water from the spring, but no additional information is available.
8. Abita Springs
The town of Abita Springs is a suburb of New Orleans and was home to Native Americans as far back as 2,200 years ago. The area was known for its fishing and natural spring water which made life in this area comfortable.
Early pioneers made this natural spring in Louisiana their home. Extensive testing was done on the water in 1887, revealing the spring water was full of minerals with medicinal properties.
Abita Springs Hotel is newly renovated and the only present-day functioning resort remaining. A small private spring-fed pool sits in the pool that comes out at five gallons a minute.
Today, water is drawn from a deep aquifer in Southern Hills and some spots lie 3,000 feet deep. The Abita Beer Brewing Company sources the water used in their beverages from here.
Visitors to Abita Springs can also access the Louisiana natural spring water from a fountain in the town’s center, located beside a central roundabout on LA 36 next to a gazebo.
9. Denham Springs
Founded in 1826, this suburb of Baton Rouge’s mineral springs were discovered in the late 1700s near the Amite River, about one-half mile west of the present-day Downtown Antique District.
It would be years before the reportedly therapeutic mineral waters would attract travelers seeking cures to various illnesses.
The city was a Confederate supply center in the Civil War. After the war, Denham Springs started several plantations and added a health resort along with other businesses. In the early 20th century, the town was best known for its mineral springs.
Denham Springs has experienced significant growth in recent years because of an increase in suburbanization, though it is proud of its rich history.
The city has a Historic District and a mural at the Old City Hall depicts one of the hotels surrounding the springs in the 1800s (that, unfortunately, burned down during the Civil War).
In 2018, the mayor of Denham Springs expressed interest in revitalizing the old natural springs in Louisiana and asked an LSU professor, Douglas Carlson, for assistance. The Advocate did a story in 2022 about the professor’s findings.
Carlson was able to find five springs or seeps in the city’s Spring Park. An archaeological dig would need to be performed to definitively determine where the old wells were located–and this would likely cost several thousands of dollars.
Wrapping up the Notable Natural Springs in Louisiana
Natural springs in Louisiana were once the talk of the town, and we’re hoping this post will spark some discussions about these once-famed healing waters.
Although you may not be able to physically see all the waters, visiting the sites and towns of their locations is a great way to learn more about them from locals.
Looking for more fun things to do in this state? See 19 of the best places to go camping in Louisiana.
- About the Author
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Nicole Kinkade grew up in campgrounds in the Midwest with her family in their RV and has many fond memories around the campfire. She and her husband took many tent camping trips at the beginning of their relationship, and she looks forward to sharing the outdoors with her young son as he gets older.
She loves discovering new camping techniques and sharing them with the world. With a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Media Communication, she is a passionate writer who loves sharing her knowledge online.
Nicole can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org