Colorado Hot Springs to Explore

Some make a hobby of seeking out and soaking in the many hot springs around the state. Some are remote, some are near resorts; some are clothed, some are clothing-optional; some are private, others are owned in unique land-trust timeshare operations. They’re all incredible experiences, both romantic and for the family. Here is a sampling.

52068 W Fork Rd #38, Dolores, CO 81323, USA
Among the most lauded hotel openings in recent years, Dunton Hot Springs is a glitterati mainstay, with its batch of former mining community cabins that look straight out of a Ralph Lauren catalogue. You don’t have to book a pricey stay at this Relais & Chateaux property to be part of the experience, however—the spa is open to the public. Make an appointment for the indulgent, only-in-Colorado Dolores hot-stone massage, which uses heated stones culled from the Dolores River to work out your kinks. Then, take a soak in the on-site sulfuric hot springs, which were once a restorative playground for the Ute Indians.
302 Soda Creek Rd, Idaho Springs, CO 80452, USA
Most travelers drive right through Idaho Springs on Interstate-70, but some stop to soak in Indian Hot Springs. You can get a pass for the pool or mud caves, or stay in one of their rooms and get a private pool as well. When I took my family for a night, our room was small, moist, and dumpy with carpet like AstroTurf, but we still had a fun family picnic on the floor, eating burgers from the Buffalo Restaurant and Bar, one of many good cantina-food options on Main Street. We still thought the room price of $93 was worth it, since it gave us access to the hot pool, enclosed in a greenhouse dome and home to a gorgeous tropical garden of banana plants and exotic trees and flowers. I’m also told it is the only hot springs in the state with a liquor license, so you can sip a cold one while hanging in the pool.
64393 County Road GG, Moffat, CO 81143, USA
It’s a fairly long drive (175 miles) southwest of Denver, but once you are sitting in a warm natural pool, looking out over the San Luis Valley, the miles will melt away. Choose from numerous options to stay, from a tent spot to a cabin or basic motel-style room with shared kitchens. The springs are strung up a hill, with the one at the top being the hottest, and a little community pool and sauna built around the bottom pool. Valley View is clothing optional and open all year round, managed by a unique land trust arrangement.
136 Lincoln Ave
Old Town Hot Springs is an enormous, bustling, splashing place, a multi-use complex of earth-warmed mineral pools and water slides, where locals meet and visitors to Steamboat Springs should go at least once during your stay. Your entrance fee ($16 adults, $9 children) is for all day, so you can splash around with the kids in the shallow pools by afternoon, then return for a soak in the hotter adults-only pool after they’re asleep. Old Town Hot Springs is a non-profit community venture, open from early in the morning (5:30a.m. on weekdays) till 10 p.m. and it is right in the center of downtown, at 136 Lincoln Ave.
281 Centennial Street
What’s better than this? Colorado‘s newest hot springs (they opened in July, 2015) boasts 16 small thermal pools on the bank of the Colorado River, and a large freshwater family pool heated to 95 degrees, with a sun deck and Sopris Cafe. The smaller pools contain a variety of minerals and are kept at a range of temperatures. Views are of the river, train tracks, and mall across the dry valley. You barely notice that the entire property borders the shoulder of Interstate-70, which of course, means, it’s a perfect stopover for cross-state road trips, or as its own day trip from anywhere. Rates are $15–20 per person for access to the bathhouse, pools, and cafe.
125 3rd Avenue
There are few accommodations, even in Colorado, with their own private hot springs, but Twin Peaks has two tubs and a pool—and they’re open to the public 24 hours a day. Here, visitors will find an adults-only indoor hot tub with jets, an outdoor soaking tub with a waterfall, and an outdoor heated swimming pool, all fed by the property’s mineral hot springs, which are rich in restorative minerals like zinc, potassium, and magnesium. Make your way around the pools, which range in temperature from 90 to 112 degrees, then rehydrate at the on-site bar.
12863 CO-133, Redstone, CO 81623, USA
While the large pool hot springs of Glenwood Springs are great for a soak, it can get busy there (and the ambience is nothing special). The Ogilby/Jacober family, owners of the Avalanche Ranch Hot Springs in the Crystal River Valley, took a bit of a risk when they drilled to access what they suspected was a geothermal reservoir. But they hit the jackpot, and built three beautiful and intimate pools of naturally hot water set in a wooded area, with views of Mount Sopris, Elephant Mountain, and Avalanche Creek Valley. The original farmhouse on the property was built in 1913 and has since been renovated; it includes an antique shop, available to day guests as well as overnight patrons.
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