Colorado Hot Springs - Adventure Into Relaxation
With winter on the horizon and the snow already falling in the high country, the many hot springs scattered across Colorado offer a chance to escape the cold and can be the perfect accompaniment to your weekend adventures. Whether you are looking for a nice soak after a long day on the slopes or a relaxing getaway, you can find anything from the rustic and remote to a fully pampered spa experience. Here’s a rundown of a few favorites but with over 30 to choose from get out there and explore!
Located a short drive outside of Steamboat Springs this one is a favorite for its serene setting amongst old growth aspen trees and a flowing creek. Recent upgrades have made the springs and it’s three main pools of varying temperatures a perfect soak and a true Colorado experience. There are a few cabins, tent spots, a covered wagon and even a train caboose if you’re looking to stay overnight and after the sun goes down, clothing becomes optional. Four wheel drive or chains are required from November 1st to May 1st to access the springs but don’t let that deter you. Looking up into the trees or at the stars while the snow falls with your body emerged in these wonderful waters is a sensation not to be missed.
Avalanche Ranch is one of the newer developed springs but it’s one of the best. Located a few miles south of Carbondale and with views of the Maroon Bells and red stone landscapes that give Colorado its name, the setting is majestic. The site itself is small and you need to call ahead and make reservations to soak as they only allow a set number of people in a day. If you lodge in one of the cabins or wagons available you can enjoy 24-hour access to the 3 cascading pools.
Another newly developed springs, Iron Mountain boasts 16 different mineral pools, as well as a freshwater family pool, all nestled alongside the Colorado River in the heart of the historic town of Glenwood Springs. Easily accessible right off of I-70, the springs can get a bit crowded but with the size of the place and number of pools, it’s still a great spot to soak. Aim for a dip in the Topaz or Garnet pools at sunset and you’re in for a treat as the shadows and shimmers of light bounce off the river on it’s westward advance.
Conundrum Hot Springs
A trek up to Conundrum is a magical experience that should be on every nature lover’s bucket list. This one is an adventure so be sure to do your research on what it takes to reach the natural springs skirting the treeline at 11,222’. The trailhead is located 15 minutes from downtown Aspen and the 8.5 mile hike up can be challenging but the reward is oh so sweet. You can ski or snowshoe up in the winter (ambitious but doable!) or hike up and stay a night or two in the summer at one of the designated campsites. The springs are a gem but overuse is becoming a problem and there is talk of a permit system going into effect in the near future. Keep in mind it is a remote and pristine backcountry setting and if you visit please practice Leave No Trace principals and respect the land so others can enjoy for years to come.
Written by: Caleb Summeril