Swim, Soak, and Savor Scenery Around the State
Thermal springs flow abundantly throughout western Colorado. Five hot springs along the Colorado Historic Hot Springs Loop are particularly enticing: Glenwood Springs, Ouray, Pagosa Springs, Chaffee County, and Steamboat Springs.
Wellness Benefits of Hot Springs
Soaking in super-heated water saturated with minerals offers many benefits. Practiced for thousands of years, “balneology” is the art and science of bathing in natural mineral waters to enhance health and wellness. This type of therapy helps to revitalize the skin, calm nerves, and detoxify the body. It has been known to reduce the symptoms of arthritis, fibromyalgia, depression, as well as locomotor and circulatory diseases. The high mineral content of spring water absorbs into the body helping to eliminate toxins, increase blood flow and circulation, and boost metabolism. The warmth relaxes and soothes the muscles and the mind. Ultimately, the goal is rejuvenation and spending time with friends and family.
Water is centric to Glenwood Springs. At two blocks long, Glenwood Hot Springs is the world’s largest mineral hot springs pool. Its source, Yampah Spring, flows at 3.5 million gallons of water daily. The award-winning spa and 107-room lodge are geothermally heated. The new Iron Mountain Hot Springs, situated along the Colorado River, boasts 16 pools of different shapes, all varying in temperature and size. Yampah Spa & Vapor Caves has naturally-occurring mineral steam baths, a rare underground feature.
Ouray and Ridgway
Odorless, sulfur-free thermal waters bubble up everywhere in Ouray. The 90-year old Ouray Hot Springs Pool & Fitness Center, currently undergoing a major renovation, will unveil modern improvements this summer.
Underneath the Historic Wiesbaden Hot Springs Spa & Lodgings is a vapor cave where water pours over a large mineral deposit formation into a shallow soaking pool. In the 1800s, Ute Indian Chief Ouray used these waters for their curative powers.
Guests of Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs have exclusive access to wooden tubs that stair-step the hillside. Twin Peaks Lodge & Hot Springs also provides steamy pools for its guests.
Orvis Hot Springs in nearby Ridgway has created an oasis with lush landscaping. Several ponds and waterfalls are strategically positioned throughout the property.
According to Guinness World Records, the Great Pagosa Hot Springs is officially the World’s Deepest Geothermal Hot Spring. This mother spring not only supplies the resorts but also heats downtown sidewalks and several businesses, including a brewery.
Terraced along the San Juan River’s bank are the 23 mineral pools of the Springs Resort & Spa. Each spot is a different size and temperature. The Lobster Pot sizzles at 110°F. Mineral deposits have built up for centuries, creating huge iron-colored formations.
The Overlook Hot Springs Spa’s interior features ornate architectural moldings and soaring ceilings that surround large soaking tubs and a cold plunge. Rooftop tubs set this spa apart from all others.
Healing Waters Resort & Spa offers a large pool and tub, along with indoor baths for concentrated mineral immersion.
Chafee County: Buena Vista, Nathrop, Salida
Outside of Buena Vista, Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort is a full-service retreat with five geothermal pools, a spa and club, 30 log cabins, and 40-plus hotel rooms. Wade into Chalk Creek to access the natural hot pots.
The rock-lined pools at Cottonwood Hot Springs Inn & Spa, first opened in 1878, are historically noted for their medicinal and therapeutic value.
One of the largest indoor hot spring pools in the country, Salida Hot Springs Aquatic Center, features clear, aroma-free water in its zero-depth-entry pool, lap lanes, and private baths.
For a completely private hot springs experience, make reservations at the cozy Alpine Hotsprings Hideaway, Antero Hot Springs Cabins, or Creekside Hot Springs Cabin.
Old Town Hot Springs is a multi-use complex with numerous hot pools, two water slides, a climbing wall, massage therapists, and a fitness center. Summertime adds a party deck, cabana rentals, and kids’ water activities.
For a rustic setting, soak at the creekside Strawberry Park Hot Spring and admire its unique stone masonry. Interesting lodging options are a caboose or a covered wagon along with cabins and campsites.
One Is Never Enough
Hot springs visits are like treasure hunts. Each has a unique character. Two are in record books. Usually, a swimsuit is required, but not always. (This being Colorado, use Google to check the dress code before you go.) A few springs are fun-filled, others calm and serene. Some cater to kids; others attract individuals or couples. All focus on happiness and wellbeing. Learn more about them all at Colorado.com/HotSpringsLoop.