The Local newsletter is your free, daily guide to life in Colorado. For locals, by locals. Sign up today!
Colorado has no shortage of hot springs to explore. If you look at a map, it might seem as though every other town in the Centennial State is named after some source of geothermic groundwater bubbling above the surface. Glenwood. Manitou. Pagosa. Steamboat. The list goes on. While there are more than two dozen hot springs scattered across the Centennial State, these developed, resort springs are easily accessible and cater to all kinds of adventure enthusiasts. So grab your favorite swimsuit and hit the road—it’s soaking time.
Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort, Nathrop
This 142-year-old hot springs resort hugging the snow kissed peaks of Mt. Princeton and Mt. Antero has everything you could possibly need—a scorching 140 degrees Fahrenheit hot spring that feeds into a cool racing creek, private Japanese-inspired overflowing pools, hot stone massages, and even a water slide. Opt in for a one-day hot springs extravaganza, or a multiple night stay, and gain access to water yoga classes, a historic bathhouse, a soaking pool, an exercise pool, and a family pool. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the bubbling sensations and steam
Prices: Admission starts at $30 for adults, and $25 for kids ages 4 to 15 and seniors over 62. Children under the age of 3 get in for free; stay overnight with rates starting at $150 for two guests.
Pre/post soak: Enjoy an almond and honey chicken salad sandwich or meat-and-cheese plate from the on-site juice bar, or opt for a steak dinner at the Mary Murphy Steak House. You can also choose from an assortment of classic cocktails like the Tom Collins or Rusty Nail at the Princeton Club Bar.
Iron Mountain Hot Springs, Glenwood Spring
Less than an hour from neighboring Vail and Aspen ski resorts, these hot springs contain 14 healing minerals to help you forget about the deep moguls and icy tumbles you took on the slopes. Iron Mountain boasts 16 naturally-shaped hot springs, all ranging from 98 to 108 degrees Fahrenheit, as well as a large family pool heated to a relaxing 94 degrees (children under 5 are not permitted in the small mineral pools). Don’t get too distracted by the pools to forget to take a look around—here, you’re surrounded by sweeping mountain views.
Prices: Entry fees start at $30 for adults and children over the age of 2.
Pre/post soak: You’ll only have to leave the springs for a second to satiate your craving for smoothies, flatbread pizza, and wine at the on-site Sopris Cafe.
Avalanche Ranch Hot Springs, Redstone
Sitting at 7,000 feet, this cozy hot springs destination looks out onto the Crystal River and the majesty of Mt. Sopris. Open year-round, the three-tiered pools were designed to complement the natural landscape and rock formations of the Crystal River Valley. Each pool, starting from the bottom, ranges from 92 to 104 degrees, with the lower pool fed by a 3-foot waterfall. Surrounding the pools are log cabins and picturesque wagons that are available for guests who want the full mountain getaway experience.
Prices: Rates start at $28 per person. Overnight prices vary.
Pre/post soak For a bite, stop by the Redstone Inn four miles south of the hot springs. If you are staying at the ranch overnight, plan ahead and bring some food to cook up yourself—they’ll supply the pots and pans.
Ouray Hot Springs, Ouray
While Ouray boasts many attractions—ice climbing in the winter and off-roading in the summer—soaking in the mountain town’s hot springs can be enjoyed year round. Ouray Hot Springs features five manmade, odorless pools with temperatures ranging from 78 degrees to 106 degrees Fahrenheit. While many hot springs boast relaxation, the pools at Ouray encourage exercise and play with a lap pool, climbing walls, water obstacle course, and two rushing waterslides.
Prices: Rates start at $18 for adults between 18 and 61, $14 for seniors between 62 and 74, $12 for youth between 4 and 17, and free for children under 4 and for seniors over 75.
Pre/post soak: Munch on some nachos or a fresh sandwich from the Picnic Basket Snack Shop.
Hot Sulphur Springs Resort & Spa, Hot Sulphur Springs
If sodium, potassium, sulfate, magnesium chloride, and silica sound appetizing to you, you’re in luck—these hot springs are drinkable. Without added chemicals or re-circulation, these fresh springs are safe to marinate in for hours. Each of the 21 mineral pools are heated by volcanic rock 35,000 feet underground. Because the springs’ water flows constantly, the pools range from 95 to 112 degrees. When you’re done soaking, opt for a full body, hot stone, or deep tissue massage at the accompanying spa. You can even book an overnight stay in one of the onsite cabins.
Prices: Rates start at $20 for adults and kids over 12, $14 for children between 3 and 11, and free limited access for children under 3. Overnight prices vary.
Pre/post soak: For a delectable meal inside one of Grand County’s oldest buildings, take an eight-minute stroll or two-minute drive to the Dean Public House and enjoy salads, soups, pizzas, or even a rack of wild boar.
Strawberry Park Hot Springs, Steamboat Springs
As if you needed another reason to visit Steamboat. Located about 20 minutes from the city center are the Strawberry Hot Springs—a true oasis in the middle of the mountains. Ranging from 103 to 109 degrees, the hot springs feature four pools with the option to jump into the freezing cold Hot Springs Creek. While the springs are open year round, you don’t want to miss the opportunity to see the pools surrounded by Steamboat’s famous champagne powder. However, the road can be dangerous to pass in the winter and 4WD with snow tires and chains are required from November 1 through May 1 (you can also reserve a shuttle from town for $45).
Prices: Admission to the springs are cash or check only and starts at $20 for all ages. Overnight prices vary.
Pre/post soak: With plenty of picnic tables scattered around the bounds, pack a sandwich or a camping stove and enjoy the scenery. If you want a sit-down restaurant meal, head to Laundry Kitchen & Cocktails in town for rustic American, global small plates, and scrumptious charcuterie, plus superbly mixed cocktails.
Glenwood Hot Springs Resort, Glenwood Springs
Dating back to 1888, long before I-70 cut through Glenwood Canyon, Coloradans have been submerging themselves in the world’s largest outdoor mineral hot springs pool. The main pool features bath-temperature water (hovering around 90 degrees Fahrenheit) and at 405 feet long and 100 feet wide, it can fit your whole family, extended family, and friends. But if you’re looking for a more therapeutic experience, visitors can opt for a second pool, where the silence will help you appreciate the healing properties of the minerals pouring from Yampah spring. After your soak, you can get a pedicure, deep exfoliation treatment, or massage, among other spa options, before bedding down at the lodge for a restorative rest. (The spa is currently closed until further notice due to the pandemic.)
Prices: Day rates starting at $26 for adults and teens over 13, $18 for children between 3 and 12, and free for infants under 3; overnight prices vary.
Pre/post soak: With a year-round dining outlet, the Grill, you won’t have to leave the resort for a bite or a drink. Enjoy the menu of cheeseburgers, ice cream floats, and Tex-Mex, among other options before getting back in the water.
Dunton Hot Springs, Dolores
If you’re looking for ghost tours and haunted tales with a side of luxury lodging, you will fall in love with this exclusive hot spring experience—located in a quaint and rustic 1800s ghost town. It is believed the Ute Indians first bathed in the original spring at the highest point in the town now known as Dunton, but miners later redirected the flow, filling a bathhouse and expanding the use of the healing mineral properties. Designed with a sustainability focus, Dunton Hot Springs uses 100 percent renewable energy and even reuses paper waste. Lodging and soaking packages—which vary in price, scope, and availability—offer cabins with private pools, as well as an opportunity to explore the wilderness via guided nordic skiing, snowshoeing, and sleigh ride expeditions.
Prices: Overnight prices vary
Pre/post soak: When you’re hungry, enjoy the Dunton Hot Springs rocky mountain artisanal dining experience. With a daily menu, guests will devour the sustainable and locally sourced ingredients, like duck and venison, as they become available.
The Springs Resort & Spa, Pagosa Springs
If you like options, you’re in luck. With 25 pools varying in size and temperature, you’ll be sure to find one that suits your fancy at the Springs Resort & Spa. The steaming mineral water filling these pools is sourced from the world’s deepest geothermal hot spring—the Mother Spring. In 2011, it was measured at 1,002 feet, (though no plumb line has ever successfully reached the bottom, begging to question how much deeper it really goes). And though you can’t actually soak in this one (it’s way too hot) Mother Spring connects to the other pools so you can connect to the rejuvenating deep-earth minerals.
Prices: Starting at $49 a day for adults and $25 a day for kids; overnight prices vary.
Pre/post soak: Grab a burger and fries at the Barefoot Grill (no shoes necessary) or enjoy a french crepe at the Cafe. If you get thirsty while soaking, drink some beer, liquor, or wine at the Canteen or enjoy a nightcap at the Phoenix Bar & Atrium Lounge while the sun sets.
Cottonwood Hot Springs Inn & Spa, Buena Vista
Located only 5.5 miles from Buena Vista, it won’t take long to unplug here. In addition to five natural artesian hot spring pools with restorative waters, if you stay overnight you will notice a lack of refrigerators, WiFi, and televisions in your room, encouraging you to put your phone down, look away from the screen, and connect to your surroundings. Bring a book, peruse the small library, or enjoy the full-body massages, dry saunas, and therapeutic soaks.
Prices: Starting at $20 for adults and $18 for kids; overnight prices vary.
Pre/post soak: Stop by Simple Eatery & Spoon-It-Up in Buena Vista for delicious salads, sandwiches, and fresh-baked goodies.