Enjoyable all year long, Colorado is home to hot springs ranging from family-friendly to ultra-private. The naturally warmed water is said to have healing qualities both for your skin and your soul.
While there are no shortage of hot springs around the state, these are a few of the best ones. Each offers visitors something unique.
1. Iron Mountain Hot Springs, Glenwood Springs
Sixteen natural springs await you at Iron Mountain Hot Springs, where each thermal pool contains more than 14 different soothing and healing minerals. Located in Glenwood Springs, about 2 hours west of Denver, Iron Mountain overlooks the Colorado River. Each pool offers something unique, from the temperature to the shape. There are infinity pools and pools with waterfalls. And if you want a little romance, head to the heart-shaped pool. They all range from 98 to 108 degrees.
Children under five are not allowed in the thermal pools, but there is a cooler family pool (94 degrees) that’s perfect for when you’re traveling with the grandkids in tow.
Iron Mountain Hot Springs also has a restaurant, Sopris Cafe, which serves small plates, flatbreads, and salads, plus wine, beer, and smoothies.
Iron Mountain is open year-round with heated walkways so you don’t freeze going from one pool to the next. It will cost you anywhere from $20 to $30 to get in, depending on when you go, and there’s a 10 percent discount for visitors 65 and older. Be sure to bring your own towel, or you’ll have to rent one for $2.
2. Strawberry Park Hot Springs, Steamboat Springs
Off a dirt road (literally) near Steamboat Springs is Strawberry Park Hot Springs. Located about 3 hours northwest of Denver, these hot springs are open year-round, but you will need a 4x4 vehicle to drive to them in the winter. If you are driving, consider reserving a parking spot, because they tend to fill up. If you don’t have an appropriate vehicle, you can take a shuttle from town with one of two local companies.
The pools are a soothing 104 degrees and open well into the evening. But keep in mind that the hot springs become clothing-optional overnight, so no one under 18 is allowed once the sun goes down! It costs $15 to access the hot springs.
The lodging at Strawberry Park Hot Springs is unique. You can opt to stay in a train caboose, a covered wagon, or a rustic cabin. There’s even tent camping during the summer. The lodging is limited, so be sure to contact the property early with reservation requests.
3. Ouray Hot Springs, Ouray
Located in the old mining town of Ouray, the Ouray Hot Springs recently underwent a massive renovation. Situated within the rugged San Juan Mountains, just an hour from Telluride in southwestern Colorado, these are smaller hot springs offering a good mix of relaxation and fun.
Getting most of its water from the nearby Box Canyon, Ouray offers several pools varying in temperature and function. There’s a large, shallow pool that’s in the mid-90s with a volleyball net and basketball hoop. Next to that is the hot pool, which reaches a soothing 100 to 106 degrees. The Overlook is for adults only and is meant to be a quiet place to soak and relax, and at around 80 degrees, the lap pool is the perfect spot to get in some exercise. The activity pool is a high-energy spot to burn off some energy during the summer; you’ll find a floating inflatable obstacle course, a climbing wall, and waterslides (there’s a fast one and a curvy one, and it’ll cost you $3 to ride them all day).
It costs $18 to get into the hot springs, but if you’re over 62, you’ll only pay $14. And the best part? If you’re over 75, admission is free!
On weekdays, you can attend the Polar Bears Adult Swim Class, a workout class in the lap pool an hour before the pool opens to the public. For even more relaxation, opt for a massage poolside in one of two private massage rooms. Upstairs above the lobby is a small workout facility with free weights and cardio machines. Both of these services cost extra.
4. Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort, Nathrop
About 2.5 hours southwest of Denver, near the town of Buena Vista, you’ll find Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort. It’s near two ski areas -- Monarch Mountain and Ski Cooper -- making it a popular place for an apres-ski soak. Or you can climb nearby Mount Princeton (one of 58 peaks in Colorado that are more than 14,000 feet tall) before soaking those sure-to-be aching muscles.
There are 30 pools to choose from, each individually fed by its own geothermal spring. They are all small -- about a foot deep -- and range in temperature, but every pool offers an impeccable view of the surrounding mountains. A relatively new addition to the resort is the family relaxation pool. It includes a zero-entry area and a sundeck. Right next to this pool is a 400-foot waterslide that’s sure to add a thrill to your stay!
General admission ranges from $20 to $25 (depending on what day you go), and there’s a $5 senior discount.
Inside the resort is The Spa & Club, which offers body treatments, workout classes, and a dry sauna. The resort’s restaurant, the Mary Murphy Steak House, is located in the main lodge and serves up locally sourced steaks, pasta, and other rustic fare.
After dinner, head upstairs to your room in the main lodge, or out to one of the overnight cabins on the property.
5. The Springs Resort & Spa, Pagosa Springs
Tucked away near the Wolf Creek Ski Area in southwestern Colorado is a hot spring featured in the Guinness World Records. The Springs Resort & Spa in Pagosa Springs has the world’s deepest geothermal hot spring, dubbed “the Mother Spring.” It’s measured at more than 1,000 feet deep, but in reality, no one really knows how deep it is, because there is nothing long enough to reach the bottom!
The resort has 24 pools, all of which are 100 percent mineral water. They range in temperature from a cool 83 degrees to a healing 114 degrees. A $32 day pass (minus $3 for seniors) will grant you access to 19 of the pools, and for $57 you can add on access to the Relaxation Terrace -- a series of five adults-only pools.
For even more relaxation, book an experience at the Pahgosa Spa. Choose from a healing soak, massage, or facial. Spa services come with complimentary day access to the thermal pools.
There are several dining options in the area, ranging from quick bites by the pool to a three-story atrium bar featuring daily happy hours and free live music.
Staying in one of the resort’s 79 rooms and suites grants you access to all the soaking pools throughout your stay. The main hotel was the first LEED-built hotel in Colorado and has signature suites including the O Suite, named for famous guest Oprah Winfrey. Some of the rooms are traditional hotel rooms, while others have multiple bedrooms and kitchenettes.
6. Dunton Hot Springs, Dunton
For a dive into upscale relaxation, head off the beaten path to the private Dunton Hot Springs in Dunton, a rejuvenated ghost town in southwestern Colorado. First discovered by the Ute people, this old mining town is now an exclusive all-inclusive resort, with rates covering all your meals and drinks. There are five pools, some inside and others outside, ranging from 85 to 106 degrees. The restored log cabins are built around the working saloon and dance hall.
Aside from soaking in the healing waters, there’s plenty to do in the area to fuel your adventurous soul. In the summer, take a moderate hike on the Geyser Spring Trail to the state’s only geyser, or borrow one of the resort’s mountain bikes. In the winter, there are snowshoeing and cross-country skiing opportunities. The resort can also help get you dogsledding, sleigh riding, or heliskiing.
All of the exclusivity of Dunton Hot Springs doesn’t come cheap -- a room starts at about $700 a night. The resort offers packages that include spa treatments, guided activities, and ski passes to the nearby Telluride Ski Resort. For the ultimate seclusion, you can rent out the entire town for around $30,000!