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America’s hot spring hotspotAmerica’s hot spring hotspot

Hot springs destinations: ColoradoHot springs destinations: Colorado

Sometimes there’s nothing like a relaxing soak in a hot spring. Hot springs are tangible evidence of geological activity, so it makes sense that they are often found in mountainous areas. Consequently, Colorado is loaded with great hot spring destinations.

  • At Iron Mountain Hot Springs in Glenwood Springs, you can rejuvenate in thermal iron-rich waters while gazing at the surrounding mountains, the Colorado River, and the Roaring Fork Valley. Photo courtesy Iron Mountain Hot Springs.
  • On the banks of the San Juan River in downtown Pagosa Springs, the Springs Resort & Spa offers 23 naturally hot therapeutic mineral pools and a mineral water lap pool fed by the world’s deepest geothermal hot spring. Hotel lodging is available on-site; hotel guests have 24-hour access to the springs. The full-service spa offers massage, body treatments, and chiropractic services. Photo courtesy Springs Resort & Spa.
  • The Ouray Ice Park is a human-made ice climbing venue operated in a spectacular natural gorge within walking distance of Ouray, Colorado. It is home to more than 200 named ice and mixed climbs, most within a 15-minute walk of the Park entrance. Photo courtesy Ouray Ice Park.
  • The Glenwood Hot Springs Resort boasts the world’s largest hot springs pool and two wild water slides. The grounds of this historic destination also include a spa, athletic club, resort boutique, and dining. Plus, the 107-room lodge is within walking distance to downtown’s shopping, dining, and nightlife. Photo courtesy Glenwood Hot Springs Resort.
  • At Glenwood Hot Springs Resort, couples can spend time together at the Spa of the Rockies in the signature treatment room with the original 1888 fireplace. Photo courtesy Glenwood Hot Springs Resort.
  • The Yampah Spa Vapor Caves are natural underground hot mineral water steam baths located in the historic hot springs mountain retreat of Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Visitors descend a stairway inside the main building and pass through a stone corridor into the caves. Cave temperatures average 110 to 112 degrees, allowing repeated visits of 10 to 12 minutes separated by brief rests in a nearby cooling room, or upstairs in the spacious solarium. Cold water and small tubs are also available for cooling off in the caves. Massage, facials, herbal body treatments, private natural mineral baths, and salon services are also offered. Photo courtesy Yampah Spa Vapor Caves.
  • Iron Mountain Hot Springs, Glenwood Spring's newest hot spot, offers 16 natural mineral hot springs, soaking pools, and a freshwater family pool with a jetted spa. All lie alongside the Colorado River, just across from the base of the tram at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. Photo courtesy Iron Mountain Hot Springs.
  • Each of the 16 natural mineral hot springs pools at Iron Mountain is unique, with water temperatures ranging from 99 to 108 degrees F. Try them all to find your favorite. Photo courtesy Iron Mountain Hot Springs.
  • At Iron Mountain Hot Springs you’ll enjoy views of Mount Sopris, Red Mountain, the Colorado River, and the Roaring Fork Valley. Photo courtesy Iron Mountain Hot Springs.
  • Just take the tram up from Iron Mountain Hot Springs to Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. You can experience the adrenaline rush of the cliff-side thrill ride Alpine Coaster, all year round. Photo Courtesy Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.
  • At 7,100 feet, the Cliffhanger Roller Coaster (open in summer) is the highest-elevation roller coaster in North America. And from the top of the coaster you’re looking down at the Colorado River, 1,450 feet below! The park also has a zip line and other thrill rides. Photo courtesy Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.
  • Glenwood Caverns is the largest show cave open to the public in Colorado. Several tours are offered, including tours to Fairy Cave, pictured here. Photo courtesy Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.
  • Relax and rejuvenate in the year-round, natural outdoor hot spring pools at Old Town Hot Springs, right in the heart of downtown Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The facility provides eight different pools, two water slides, massage, and fitness services. Photo courtesy Old Town Hot Springs.
  • In Steamboat Springs, Strawberry Park Hot Springs provides beautiful pools along a creek, plus massage therapy and fun cabins. Photo courtesy Strawberry Park Hot Springs.
  • Surrounded by some of Colorado’s highest mountains, Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort offers a historic bathhouse, Creekside hot springs, water slides, a spa, lodging, and dining. Photo courtesy Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort.

Fly to Pagosa Springs in southwest Colorado to enjoy the hot springs, or to fish, hike, raft, and bike without ever leaving town. Stay at the Springs Resort and Spa, now boasting 23 soaking pools with a range of temperatures, all on the banks of the San Juan River. Other choices include Healing Waters Resort and Spa and Overlook Hot Springs (a day spa only), Pagosa’s newest hot springs spa.

Fly to Montrose to access hot springs in Ridgway and Ouray, two small towns that each offer charming downtown districts with locally owned shops, breweries, distilleries, coffee roasters, chocolatiers, restaurants, extensive lodging options, and countless avenues into the surrounding mountains. Ridgway is a Certified Creative District—a designation that signifies a supportive environment for creative people to live and work, and Ouray (often called the Switzerland of America) boasts a downtown National Historic District of impeccably restored Victorian buildings. In Ridgway, the Orvis Hot Springs offer natural lithium hot springs, lodging, camping, and massage.

The indoor adults-only sanctuary at Twin Peaks Lodge & Hot Springs. All the hot springs facilities at Twin Peaks are open 24 hours, the only location in Ouray with these hours (clothing required). Photo courtesy Twin Peaks Lodge & Hot Springs.

In Ouray, the tiny, historic Wiesbaden Hot Springs Spa and Lodgings offers a continually flowing hot springs vapor cave with a soaking pool, an outdoor swimming pool, and the Lorelei, a private outdoor spa with soaking pool. The more upscale Twin Peaks Lodge and Hot Springs has quiet, comfortable air-conditioned rooms and suites with a free hot buffet breakfast and both indoor and outdoor hot springs, all surrounded by tall mountains. Ouray’s most popular lodging is the Box Canyon Lodge and Hot Springs, where guests enjoy mineral springs hot tubs terraced on the mountainside. Box Canyon Falls and the Ouray Ice Park are just a short walk away. Grab a Jeep tour or rental to tackle the mountains.

Situated in the San Isabel National Forest in the heart of the fourteeners region of Colorado and nestled along Chalk Creek, Antero Hot Springs features three cabins, each with a private hot spring pool just outside the door. Natural wetlands surround the property, while bighorn sheep and mountain goats can be seen on nearby cliffs. Deer and elk frequent the property and you can fish right in the creek. Photo courtesy Antero Hot Springs.

In the heart of the Rockies, between Aspen and Vail, Glenwood Springs features some unique attractions. The Glenwood Hot Springs Resort boasts the world’s largest mineral hot springs pool, about the size of a football field, as well as an upscale lodge, spa, athletic club, grill, and shopping. In continuous operation since 1893, the Yampah Spa Vapor Caves are natural underground hot mineral water steam baths in three adjoining rock chambers. Relax on slab marble benches in the rocky alcoves, and inhale the natural steam vapor in the warm, dimly lit caves. Cooling rooms and tubs are available, along with certified massage therapists, aestheticians, and cosmetologists. Enjoy massages, facials, body treatments, private natural mineral baths, and foot reflexology, along with a full line of salon services. Opened in 2015, Iron Mountain Hot Springs is one of my favorites, offering 16 different pools, including an infinity pool right next to the Colorado River, a freshwater family pool with jetted spa, and onsite dining. Then just hop on the tram to the mountain-top Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, which features the highest-elevation roller coaster in North America, as well as other thrill rides, cave tours, and more. In summer you can raft the town’s two rivers, hike to Hanging Lake, or bike along paved and unpaved trails.

Long before Steamboat Springs became a cowboy ski town, it was revered for the 150 geothermal hot springs that dot its landscape. The Old Town Hot Springs feature four 104-degree spring-fed pools, 230-foot water slides, fitness and yoga classes, a gym, and a climbing wall. Strawberry Park Hot Springs lies along Hot Springs Creek. Soak in a rock-lined outdoor pool and then get a massage in a private hut or Watsu aquatic therapy in a private pool. Fun, unique cabins look like a caboose, a covered wagon, or a double-decker log house.

Central Colorado Regional Airport lies just northeast of several fourteeners, and those 14,000-foot peaks will tower over you at the Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort, which offers lodging and dining along with creekside hot springs, a historic bath house, water slide, day spa, and yoga and fitness classes. For complete privacy, choose the nearby Creekside Hot Springs Cabin (it sleeps up to eight) or the Alpine Hot Springs Hideaway. The Antero Hot Spring Cabins each have a private, hand-shaped hot spring pool just outside the door. The Cottonwood Hot Springs Inn and Spa is in Buena Vista, closer to the airport. You could spend an entire season or two just hopping around to all these hot springs. They’re the perfect antidotes to active Colorado days of skiing or hiking!

The Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort is in Nathrop, Colorado, between the towns of Buena Vista and Salida. Enjoy a one-day hot springs experience or relax with an overnight stay at this unique, family-friendly, historic Colorado hot springs resort. Photo courtesy Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort.

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Crista Worthy

Crista V. Worthy

Crista V. Worthy has been flying around the United States with her pilot-husband Fred and their children since 1995, and writing about fun places to fly since 2006. She has single-engine land and sea ratings. Her favorite places to explore are the backcountry strips of Idaho and Utah's red rock country. She currently lives in Idaho and serves as editor of The Flyline, the monthly publication of the Idaho Aviation Association.
Topics: US Travel

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