Colorado Hot Springs to Hit up After a Day on the Snow
Hot springs hit the spot after a day in the powder
By Aaron Sager
It’s that time of the year when we drive to our favorite snowy destinations and ski, board or snowshoe all day, then head home in the dark with aching muscles. Of course, some Colorado craft spirits can take off the edge, but we’ve also found a group of soothing spots to ease the inevitable aches and pains. These Colorado hot springs are open all year, but in the winter, nothing beats the water Mother Earth fires up from her angry depths.
Nearest ski resorts: Sunlight Mountain Resort, Aspen Snowmass, Beaver Creek Resort
With a central Colorado location on the I-70 corridor, Iron Mountain Hot Springs draws a lot of attention.
“We get a lot of ski traffic,” said Mike Besaw, general manager at the Iron Mountain Hot Springs in Glenwood Springs.
Near ski resorts in Aspen, Vail and Beaver Creek, the two-year-old hot springs is the perfect unwind after an intense day on the mountain. The Front Range also provides day traffic to Glenwood, especially during the summer months. “We don’t have a slow season anymore,” Besaw added.
With 16 smaller mineral pools ranging from 98 degrees to 108 degrees, most people can find a comfortable temperature for soaking while overlooking the Colorado River and staring up at the mountainside.
Children under age 5 are not allowed in the smaller mineral pools. “We’re a little more adult-oriented,” Besaw said, adding that Colorado craft beers, wine and some canned cocktails are available. A larger, family pool is available to all ages.
Springs Resort and Spa
Nearest ski resorts: Wolf Creek Ski Resort, Hesperus Ski Area, Purgatory Resort
Southwest Colorado hosts a destination for travelers seeking an array of pools and temperatures. The Springs Resort and Spa in Pagosa Springs offers on-site lodging and 24-hour access for hotel guests.
The resort features a 29-room “eco-luxury hotel,” which was designed and constructed with an eye toward the environment. Restaurants and libations are within walking distance, which makes the location a park-once-and-enjoy possibility.
The 23 pools range from 83 degrees to 110 degrees at the Springs Resort, which boasts a world record for the deepest geothermal hot spring: 1,002-feet deep. The pools are on a hillside that drops down to the San Juan River.
Strawberry Park Hot Springs
Nearest ski resort: Steamboat Ski Resort
Nestled alongside Hot Springs Creek lies a spectacular mineral springs.
Strawberry boasts 104-degree mineral water while Steamboat’s famous champagne powder gently collects in the surrounding forest. The pools are perfect for relaxing after a long day of skiing or hiking, or for a day-long visit. Enjoy a massage in one of the private massage huts or watsu aquatic therapy in the private pool. Lodging is also available at Strawberry Park.
Valley View Hot Springs
San Luis Valley
Nearest ski resort: Monarch Mountain
Located in the San Luis Valley about eight miles east of U.S. Highway 285, Orient Land Trust (OLT) is a non-profit created around the Valley View Hot Springs. OLT protects more than 2,200 acres of land, including a 760-acre working cattle ranch. At Valley View, geologic anomalies heat the soaking ponds and a swimming pool. Visitors can sample these amenities during a visit if they are willing to cover a quarter-mile walk. Valley View Hot Springs and the OLT camp operate with visitor capacity limits. Reservations are a benefit that is extended to those who support the trust. Valley View is “sans ropa option” (clothing optional, most go sans).
Sand Dunes Pool
Nearest ski resort: Wolf Creek Ski Resort
Located 25 miles from the Great Sand Dunes National Park, the Sand Dunes Pool offers soothing water for swimmers, divers and soakers. Available hydro amenities include a 98-degree, 50-foot by 100-foot outdoor pool with two diving boards and a 107-degree jetted hot tub that accommodates 25 of your closest friends. Additionally, the Sand Dunes Pool provides an adults-only area called “The Greenhouse.” Over 21ers who visit the Greenhouse can access four different pools, a sauna, numerous patio areas, tropical plants, and an on-site libation station known as The Steel Box Bar. After years of service as a storage container, this Steel Box discovered its true calling – storing beer. Inside you will find a wide variety of beer from Eddyline Brewery and Three Barrel Brewing.
Cottonwood Hot Springs Inn and Spa
Nearest ski resort: Monarch Mountain
Nestled in the Collegiate Peaks, Cottonwood Hot Springs Inn and Spa provides quiet and solitude for visitors. Cottonwood retains the spiritual sentiments of the Ute Indians, who used this as a spiritual gathering place. Visitors have access to a wide range of spa services and can stay in their remodeled hotel/lodge. Cottonwood is an alcohol-free facility.
Penny Hot Springs
Nearest ski resorts: Sunlight Mountain Resort, Aspen Snowmass
The Penny Hot Springs offers great views and space for 10-12 people, tops. With no amenities such as restrooms, it is located three miles north of the south entrance to Redstone on Highway 133. The pools can get flooded during spring run-off, therefore, summer and fall or winter are the best times to experience the springs safely. Early evenings and weekends are busy times. Be sure to leave Penny Hot Springs in the same condition that you found it.
Orvis Hot Springs
Nearest ski resorts: Telluride Ski Resort, Silverton Mountain
The Orvis Hot Springs is a clothing-optional natural hot springs resort. The water is naturally heated and completely untreated. Do you want hot soothing or lobster boil? Orvis’ seven pools provide temperatures up to 112 degrees. Lodging is available in recently remodeled rooms. The site provides a wide range of activities to accommodate you during your visit.
Aaron Sager lives in Douglas County and is a writer and content coordinator for Best Version Media.