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Strawberry Park Hot Springs’ five pools vary from 101 to 105 degrees. —Photo courtesy of Courtesy of Larry Pierce/Steamboat Ski Resort

Soak, Explore, Repeat

Pair your winter jaunts to mountain hot springs with explorations of the landscapes beyond the resorts.

By |

Last summer, Colorado’s tourism gurus designated a 720-mile circuit of 19 naturally heated soaking spots as the Historic Hot Springs Loop. Of course, nothing goes better with hot than, well, cold. To that end, we’ve put together five hot springs and winter adventure combinations in some of our favorite locations.


OURAY

Hot: Most of Orvis Hot Springs’ seven indoor and outdoor soaking areas ($11 to $22) are clothing-optional and prohibit electronics, so you can eschew all accouterments. Bonus: Catch an exhibit about one of the town’s other notable soaking attractions—the 90-year-old, just-renovated Ouray Hot Springs Pool—at the Ouray County Museum before the show closes on November 11.
Cold: By Thanksgiving, the snow is typically deep enough for Telluride Outside’s guided half-day snowmobile tours ($195). The Beaver Park area’s groomed trails, with stunning views of Wilson and Dolores peaks, are ideal for taking a new Polaris model out on a two-hour trip.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS

Hot: Two-year-old Iron Mountain Hot Springs resort contains 16 mineral pools plus a freshwater-fed family pool. Stop by on a weekday and indulge in a 15-minute table massage ($25).
Cold: As part of Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park’s Winter on the Mountain celebration (mid-November through early February), half a million holiday-themed lights will bedeck the park, including the zip-line-esque Soaring Eagle Zip Ride and the Alpine Coaster as it rockets down a 3,400-foot hill.

Saddleback-Ranch
Take a sleigh ride at Saddleback Ranch. Courtesy of Natural Light Images.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS

Hot: A vehicle with either four-wheel drive and snow tires or chains is required for the drive up to Strawberry Park Hot Springs from November 1 to April 30, so make it worth your while and stay the night in an on-site cabin or train caboose ($85 to $175 per night for two people). Book the private pool for a one-hour Watsu therapy session ($110), during which a masseuse will knead and stretch your body while you float in chest-deep water.
Cold: Trade the water for a horse-drawn sleigh at nearby Saddleback Ranch. Your options are a 30-minute jaunt ($30 to $90 per person) to the property’s Double Dollar Lodge, where you’ll eat dinner and learn how to rope a steer indoors, or an upgraded trip ($30 to $118 per person) that adds an hour and a half of tubing before you ride and dine.

PAGOSA SPRINGS 

Hot: Situated on the banks of the San Juan River, the 23-pool Springs Resort & Spa ($14 to $53 per person if you’re not staying the night) is fed by the 1,002-foot-deep Great Pagosa Aquifer, the world’s deepest geothermal hot spring. Energetic visitors can also check out the mineral water lap pool.
Cold: Pagosa Dogsled Adventures begins its private winter runs ($175 to $300 per person) on November 26. The 1.5-hour treks offer an introduction to commands and necessary gear plus photos of you mushing with fluffy (read: super cute) Alaskan malamutes.

Ice-Fish-Colorado
Ice Fish in Chaffee County. Courtesy of Ice Fish Colorado.

CHAFFEE COUNTY 

Hot: The three-bedroom, two-bath Creekside Hot Springs cabin ($245 to $555 per night) features a private soaking pool that you can adjust between 100 and 105 degrees.
Cold: Once the frozen lake is safe to walk on (usually early December), Sport Fish Colorado provides guided daylong ice-fishing trips ($350 for two people) to Tarryall, Eleven Mile, and Antero reservoirs. On a good day, even a beginner can catch 10 or more rainbow trout.

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