Along with the many other reasons to love Colorado, we are fortunate to have access to a variety of natural hot springs, scattered across the state. These hot springs were once revered as healing waters by Native Americans, and now provide a superb setting for a weekend getaway, Colorado-style.
Recently, five hot springs destinations in Colorado—Chaffee County, Glenwood Springs, Ouray County, Pagosa Springs and Steamboat Springs—joined together to form the Colorado Historic Hot Springs Loop. The 720-mile driving loop showcases 19 hot springs facilities that run the gamut from rustic and romantic to large and family-friendly. What they all have in common is hot water, in a setting only Mother Nature can provide.
No matter what kind of hot springs experience you have in mind, the Loop has something to offer. True to the Colorado lifestyle, many hot springs are close to other activities, making it simple to create a multi-layered experience. Whitewater rafting, microbrewery tours and skiing go hand-in-hand with a hot springs visit, and many of the facilities offer massage, yoga and other wellness-related activities. Lodging is often available on the property or close by, making a hot springs visit an ideal component of a Colorado weekend. Read on for highlights of locations on the Loop, and start planning your getaway.
Along with being home to some of the best rafting in the state, numerous hot springs dot the Buena Vista and Salida vicinity, including Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort. Set on the banks of Chalk Creek, the resort offers lodging, a restaurant, and an upper pool with a 400-foot water slide. An infinity-edge design, zero-entry point and sun bathing deck make the new family relaxation pool a popular addition to the resort.
The Salida Hot Springs Aquatic Center is a swimming-pool sized indoor facility, with a full array of rec center amenities. For a change of pace from the bigger pools, Cottonwood Hot Springs features a small-scale hotel setting, while Creekside Hot Springs Cabin and Antero Hot Springs Cabins offer secluded accommodations for groups of two to ten, with private hot springs for each cabin.
West of Denver on I-70, Glenwood Springs is home to the world’s largest mineral hot springs pool. Glenwood Hot Springs Resort serves up two sprawling pools, a spa and athletic club. The new, seasonal Sopris Splash Zone provides water park fun, and the adjacent hotel makes this a one-stop destination.
Customize your water temperature experience at Iron Mountain Hot Springs, which is comprised of 16 pools set on the banks of the Colorado River, ranging from 99 to 108 degrees. A freshwater family pool provides a kid-friendly environment, while chair and table massages add to the adult relaxation. Yampah Spa & Vapor Caves is a unique underground steam cave experience.
It’s a 300-mile trek from Denver to Ouray, but well worth the trip. This southwest corner of the state offers stunning scenery, along with numerous hot springs options. After a recent $10 million renovation, The Ouray Hot Springs Pool & Fitness Center serves up nearly one million gallons of clear, hot springs water, without the common sulfur aroma. Three pools range from 80 to 105 degrees.
Enjoy a getaway at the Historic Wiesbaden Hot Springs Spa & Lodgings, with three soaking pools, including the Lorelei, a secluded, outdoor pool and waterfall. Other Ouray options include Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs and Twin Peaks Lodge & Hot Springs, with spectacular views and amenities, as well as the clothing-optional Orvis Hot Springs.
Make the 200-mile drive to Pagosa Springs for outside adventure—the town is surrounded by three million acres of wilderness and National Forest. While there enjoy The Springs Resort & Spa, set on the banks of the San Juan River in downtown. It’s a 79-room hotel with 23 mineral pools and a lap pool, all fed by the world’s deepest geothermal hot spring.
Relax in a rooftop tub, one of the more than a dozen soaking options, or enjoy a massage at the new Overlook Hot Springs Spa, which, true to its name, overlooks downtown and the surrounding area. With 15 rooms, cabins and RV site, The Healing Waters Resort & Spa provides an intimate getaway option.
The West is alive north of Denver near Steamboat Springs, where Strawberry Park Hot Springs sits tucked away in the forest outside town. This rustic natural pool is a popular draw, such that the town offers a parking reservation system and operates a shuttle to the facility. After dark, the all-ages pool switches to 18+ and enacts a clothing-optional policy. In town, four 104-degree spring-fed pools, a climbing wall and a 230-foot water slide at the Old Town Hot Springs promise fun after a day in the mountains. Look for an upcoming multi-million dollar improvement project at Old Town Hot Springs in the near future.
Colorado’s hot springs provide ideal opportunities for recreation and rest. Whether you choose a quiet, secluded location, a crowd-friendly facility complete with water attractions or something in between, these facilities have what you are looking for.
Visit colorado.com/hotspringsloop for links to all of the facilities on The Colorado Historic Hot Springs Loop. Be sure to confirm hours, rates and policies before visiting.
Antero Hot Springs Cabins
Cottonwood Hot Springs
Creekside Hot Springs Cabin
Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort
Salida Hot Springs Aquatic Center
Glenwood Hot Springs
Iron Mountain Hot Springs
Yampah Spa & Vapor Caves
Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs
Orvis Hot Springs
Ouray Hot Springs Pool & Fitness Center
The Historic Wiesbaden Hot Springs Spa & Lodgings
Twin Peaks Lodge & Hot Springs
Healing Waters Resort & Spa
Ouray Hot Springs Pool
Overlook Hot Springs Spa
The Springs Resort & Spa
Old Town Hot Springs
Strawberry Park Hot Springs
Kelly Smith is a freelance writer and editor from Littleton. She is almost finished with her bucket list item of visiting every location on the Historic Hot Springs Loop.
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