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Colorado Hot Springs

In Colorado, hot springs are scattered throughout the Rocky Mountains. Many are just isolated bubbling pools in the wilderness - scenic, but often just barely large enough to sit in. Others have been developed into private resorts with luxurious accommodations. Then there are the public hot springs, which are usually affordable and well developed.

Ouray Colorado Hot Springs

The hot springs pools in Ouray are the favorites of my wife and myself. Ouray bills itself as the "Switzerland of America," and with good reason. The mountains are dramatic here, rising up steeply from the town, which is nestled deep in a small, beautiful valley. The drive into town from the north is spectacular, and the drive south along the "million dollar highway" is even better.

We were in Ouray in December, and were happy to discover that the hot springs are open year-round. It was wonderful to sit in the hot mineral water, look up at the mountains that start only a hundred yards away, and catch snowflakes on our tongues. It also isn't crowded here in the winter. There were maybe a dozen other people in the pools during the two hours we were soaking.

There is more than a million gallons of naturally hot water in the facility, in several connected pools, ranging form 96 degrees Fahrenheit to 106 degrees. There are lap lanes for swimming, and a diving area as well. Unlike many of the hot springs in Colorado, there is no sulfur smell in this one. In summer the springs are open from 10 to 10 every day. The hours are shorter the rest of the year. The cost is $8, with discounts for children and senior citizens.

Other things to do in Ouray include hiking, shopping, or taking the incredible "Million Dollar Highway" to Silverton, which is even higher up in the mountains. There is also the Ouray Ice Park, which, in winter, has cliffs covered in ice for ice climbing practice and competitions. For more information, visit this website on Ouray, Colorado.

Pagosa Springs

The hot springs of Pagosa Springs are of the classic sulfur type, and you will probably smell them before you see them. Don't let the odor deter you though. The water here is hot, and the minerals in it may be good for your health. "Pagosah" is a Southern Ute word for "healing waters." The town itself is in a beautiful setting in the San Juan Mountains, in southern Colorado.

There are several private facilities here, with lodging or fees for hourly or daily use of the springs. There is also shopping, hiking, and dozens of waterfalls to see in the area. For nice views, drive up to nearby Wolf Creek Pass (10,857 feet). You can get more information on Pagosa Springs at the Chamber of Commerce Website.

Glenwood Springs

The town of Glenwood Springs sits in valley on the "west slope," ninety miles east of Grand Junction, Colorado. It is also only 45 minutes from the ski resort towns of Vail and Aspen. For more than a hundred years, visitors, including European royalty, U.S. senators, presidents and movie stars, have come from around the world to soak in the mineral waters here.

The hot springs swimming pool is three blocks long, and has water slides that are over 300 feet long. For more information visit the website of the Hot Springs Lodge And Pool. For more information on all the things to do in the area, visit the Glenwood Springs City Website.

More Colorado Hot Springs

There are many more hot springs in Colorado. Cottonwood Resort, for example, 5 miles from Buena Vista. They claim to have the purest geo-thermal, gravity-fed mineral spa, and have a sauna and cold water pool as well. Then there are the undeveloped mineral springs to be found here and there in the mountains of Colorado.

The Piedra River Hot Springs, is in the San Juan National Forest, near Pagosa Springs. These are sandy pools warmed by tiny springs and seeps along the Piedra's shore. Take U.S. 160 southwest of Pagosa Springs about 16 miles. Immediately after the Chimney Rock turnoff to the south, is the Piedra Road, also called the First Fork Road. Turn right and you'll be following the Piedra River on a gravel road. It is 6.7 miles to the intersection with Monument Park Road and the parking area. Take the trail from the Sheep Creek Trailhead. The springs are a 3-mile hike round-trip with an 800-foot drop going in. There is, of course, no charge, and these are clothing-optional hot springs.

Often, in Colorado and elsewhere, where there are well-known hot springs, there are others in the area that are not so well-known. If you enjoy the more isolated and natural ones, you may want to try striking up a conversation with one of the locals to discover where these are.

Related page: Arizona Hot Springs


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