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Colorado is legendary for its snow, however what many guests might not notice is it’s additionally the most effective locations on this planet to get hot-hot-hot. Colorado is residence to dozens of naturally occurring sizzling springs swimming pools. These thermal waters bubble up all through the mountains in western Colorado and are filled with wholesome minerals.
A sizzling springs street journey isn’t just indulgent and scenic, nevertheless it’s additionally nice in your well being. Sizzling springs lovers could also be acquainted with the straightforward Colorado sizzling springs loop (between Buena Vista, Pagosa Springs, Steamboat Springs and Glenwood Springs), nevertheless it stops in need of a few of the finest gems in southern Colorado.
We’ve designed our personal authentic, prolonged sizzling springs loop so you may expertise all of Colorado’s finest sizzling springs, from the highest of the state to the underside and again up once more.
This journey covers just below 1,000 complete miles over 9 days, beginning and ending in Denver. You’ll go to a minimum of 16 totally different sizzling springs, from personal swimming pools in a ghost city, to a family-friendly sizzling springs pool with a water slide, to swimming pools proper on the dashing river. You’ll bathe beneath the open stars, in underground caves and even utterly nude (in case you are over 18 and up for it).
Whereas this loop is deliberate over 9 days, you may broaden it at any level and keep longer, particularly in cities with a number of sizzling springs locations, equivalent to Ouray. Whereas many of those sizzling springs are open yr spherical, this journey is finest suited to hotter climate as a result of mountain roads which may be impassable or harmful in chilly climate.
Right here is our favourite strategy to expertise Colorado’s high sizzling springs.
Cottonwood Sizzling Springs — Picture courtesy of Aimee Heckel
Day 1: Denver to Buena Vista
2 hours and half-hour, 130 miles through US 285
Begin your journey within the small mountain city of Buena Vista, with an evening on the Cottonwood Sizzling Springs. The lodge itself is much from fancy, however what you’re paying for listed below are the personal, quiet sizzling springs swimming pools proper on the base of a mountain and an opportunity to step off the grid.
The lodge has no TV, Wi-Fi or telephone service, so it’ll put you in the correct mindset to immerse in nature and escape.
Word: No alcohol is allowed at Cottonwood Sizzling Springs, and there’s no meals on web site. So for dinner, make the brief drive to Mount Princeton Sizzling Springs in Nathrop. Refill right here on the scenic Mary Murphy Steakhouse (they’re open all day), and for dessert, take within the delicious views at Mount Princeton’s tubs by the river. In the event you’re touring with children, they’ll love the massive waterslide and lazy river.
Springs Resort & Spa in Pagosa Springs — Picture courtesy of Aimee Heckel
Day 2: Buena Vista to Pagosa Springs
2 hours and 45 minutes, 160 miles through US 285 and US 160
Head to the guts of the San Juan Mountains, the place you will discover one among Colorado’s most well-known sizzling springs spots, Pagosa Springs – residence to the world’s deepest geothermal sizzling spring. Discover it on the Springs Resort & Spa, the place you may keep in a single day simply steps away from the resort’s 24 soaking swimming pools, together with a swimming pool.
Temperatures differ from a refreshing 83 levels to an intense 114 levels. Whereas the swimming pools are open to the general public, company on the lodge get 24-hour entry.
Pagosa Springs is residence to different sizzling springs, too. In the event you’re on a price range, need fewer crowds and don’t need something fancy, there’s the Therapeutic Waters Sizzling Springs. However our favourite is the Overlook Sizzling Springs Spa, which seems like an outdated Victorian bathhouse, full with rooftop swimming pools with the perfect views on the town.
Tip again an Earth-powered beer at Riff Raff Brewing Firm, which makes brews powered by geothermal warmth.
Field Canyon Lodge & Sizzling Springs — Picture courtesy of Aimee Heckel
Day 3: Pagosa Springs to Ouray
3 hours, 130 miles through US 160 and US 550
In the event you suppose the drive to Ouray is scenic, simply wait till you drop into the field canyon that embraces this charming mountain city. Ouray is just not solely one among Colorado’s most lovely cities; it’s additionally residence to 5 totally different sizzling springs.
Keep on the rustic and easy Field Canyon Lodge & Sizzling Springs for its mountainside of personal, small, redwood sizzling springs tubs.
Additionally, don’t miss what we predict is Colorado’s strongest sizzling spring on the Historic Wiesbaden Sizzling Springs Spa and Lodgings. This hidden gem vacation spot options quiet, uncrowded sizzling springs vapor caves. After some peaceable time underground within the darkness under the lodge, you’ll re-emerge feeling reworked.
For the alternative excessive of the new springs expertise, the bustling Ouray Sizzling Springs Pool & Health Middle has diving areas, two waterslides, an impediment course, a climbing wall, a exercise pool, taking part in swimming pools, an infinity edge waterfall and tons of motion.
Refuel on the Outlaw Restaurant, which seems like an old-timey saloon and serves nice steaks. Bonus: brunch, seven days every week, with a Bloody Mary bar on the weekends.
Dunton Sizzling Springs’ bathhouse — Picture courtesy of Dunton Sizzling Springs
Day 4: Ouray to Dunton Sizzling Springs
2 hours, 75 miles through CO 62 and CO 145
Take a deep dive into Colorado’s historical past and keep at one of the vital distinctive locations within the state: Dunton Sizzling Springs Resort. It is a real-life ghost city that has been renovated and reworked right into a luxurious retreat, full with personal sizzling springs entry.
Really feel such as you’ve stepped again in time if you keep within the former cabin of a miner and stroll via this fastidiously preserved historic bubble. Dunton is all-inclusive, so you have got meals, drinks and outdoorsy actions at your fingertips. Chill out on the hammock within the historically-inspired bathhouse in between dips within the steamy pool.
Or keep on the close by Dunton River Camp, with glamorous canvas tents on the Dolores River. “Glamp” with operating water, personal restrooms, cozy beds and “room service;” your attendant will deliver you champagne refills all day as you bask in your porch surrounded by towering bushes.
Durango Sizzling Springs — Picture courtesy of Aimee Heckel
Day 5: Dunton Sizzling Springs to Durango
2 hours and quarter-hour, 85 miles through CO 38 and US 160
Whereas down south, it’s definitely worth the journey to the faculty city of Durango. Keep on the dramatic, Victorian-era Strater Lodge, which is able to proceed Dunton’s vibe: Wild West meets luxurious. Seize an informal however surprisingly tasty meal at Carver Brewing Firm, proper downtown on the principle drag.
Then, get your sizzling springs repair on the newly renovated Durango Sizzling Springs Resort and Spa. This mountainside spa claims to be the one sizzling springs on this planet that infuses its water with purifying nano-meter and micro-meter oxygen bubbles. This implies extremely cleanliness with no chemical substances. Bonus: These waters additionally don’t have the smelly rotten egg sulfur odor.
The scenic Durango Sizzling Springs affords 26 totally different water options, together with 16 soaking swimming pools, a rain tower, underwater reflexology strolling path, swimming pool, chilly plunge pool and eight personal cedar tubs.
A peek inside Orvis Sizzling Springs — Picture courtesy of Aimee Heckel
Day 6: Durango to Ridgway
2 hours, 81 miles through US 550
It’s time to swing again north, and alongside the best way, make a stunning cease within the tiny city of Ridgway, simply outdoors of Ouray. Right here, you’ll discover one among Colorado’s lesser-known sizzling springs gems: Orvis Sizzling Springs.
From the entrance, you’d by no means comprehend it, however behind the constructing, you’ll really feel such as you’ve stepped into the Backyard of Eden, with lush landscaping, blossoming flowers and bushes, and swimming pools scattered all through the grounds, constructed to mix in with nature.
Right here’s the factor, although: This pool is for adults solely. And it’s clothing-optional. In the event you’re not able to drop trousers in public, you may guide personal sizzling springs rooms. And nobody cares for those who’re carrying garments. You simply don’t must. As a result of that, no electronics are permitted.
You too can keep the evening at Orvis. Be sure to try meals at Taco Del Gnar, a relaxed restaurant with revolutionary tacos. Many are Asian-inspired, such because the Korean brief rib tacos.
Glenwood Sizzling Springs — Picture courtesy of Aimee Heckel
Day 7: Ridgway to Glenwood Springs
2 hours 45 minutes, 170 miles through US 50 and I-70
Hold truckin’ northeast till you hit Glenwood Sizzling Springs. In the present day, you go from a hidden gem to one among Colorado’s hottest sizzling springs stops. In reality, Glenwood Sizzling Springs claims to have the world’s largest sizzling springs pool. That being stated, it may possibly get fairly packed.
So, for those who’re in search of a pool with somewhat extra privateness, try the fashionable Iron Mountain Sizzling Springs on the Colorado River or the underground Yampah Vapor Caves.
Keep on the historic Lodge Denver, ideally situated inside strolling distance to the new springs and eating places. Dine on the close by Co. Ranch Home, with a Western vibe and engaging American fare.
Strawberry Park Sizzling Springs in winter — Picture courtesy of iStock / Faina Gurevich
Day 8: Glenwood Springs to Steamboat Springs
2 hours and quarter-hour, 114 miles through I-70 and CO 131
Steamboat Springs is thought for its snowboarding within the winter, nevertheless it’s additionally a sizzling springs spot, finest identified for Strawberry Park Sizzling Springs. These sizzling springs tie in with nature superbly; they’re tucked deep inside a forest alongside the river. Late evening, it’s adult-only and clothing-optional, for those who’ve ever needed to rely constellations bare in a sizzling mineral bathtub.
Whereas Strawberry Park is a neighborhood treasure, households take pleasure in Previous City Sizzling Springs, with two 230-foot, twisting waterslides and a climbing wall.
The rooftop of a Shifting Mountains property in Steamboat Springs — Picture courtesy of Aimee Heckel
One of many coolest assets in Steamboat Springs is a neighborhood, family-run firm referred to as Shifting Mountains. This enterprise connects guests with luxurious, unbiased properties (suppose Airbnb meets “MTV Cribs.”) Keep in a top-floor penthouse overlooking the Yampa River or a sprawling villa above town – locations you would by no means in any other case have entry to.
Shifting Mountains comes with a concierge that can assist you plan your journey, from recommending the place to eat (like our favourite, Aurum Meals & Wine) to serving to you organize transportation to the new springs. Shifting Mountains was impressed by the European “catered ski chalet” service.
Soaking pool at Pagosa Springs — Picture courtesy of iStock / CampPhoto
Day 9: Steamboat Springs to Denver
3 hours, 155 miles through US 40 and I-70
After eight days soaking in sizzling springs waters, your drive again to Denver won’t ever have been extra enjoyable. Whereas Denver doesn’t have any naturally occurring sizzling springs, it does have a brand new, luxurious lodge in Denver’s stylish Decrease Highlands neighborhood.
Life Home faucets into Colorado’s Wild West and Victorian historical past to encourage its design, making it a memorable place to wrap up your journey. See echoes of the neighborhood’s authentic pioneers within the on-site bar and restaurant, too.