Located about five miles from downtown Buena Vista on County Road 306, Cottonwood Hot Springs is a favorite for hikers, bikers, and mountaineers looking for an affordable place to soak, sleep, and enjoy spa services like Reiki, body scrubs, Swedish massage, and even a Tarot card reading! Five communal outdoor soaking pools with temperatures ranging from 94 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit are open to day soakers and overnighters, and private Jacuzzi tubs are available for rent by the hour. Accommodations include a bunkhouse, a lodge, a guesthouse, and private cabins with their own private soaking tubs. Be sure to call ahead for rates, hours, and reservations.
- The bunkhouse is the cheapest option at Cottonwood Hot Springs and a step up from tent camping after a long day on the trail. You’ll have shared access to a kitchen and a bathroom, which is especially nice in inclement or cold weather.
- Shower before you soak, so you don’t introduce impurities into the pristine hot spring water. Unlike many other commercial hot springs, Cottonwood adds nothing to its soaking pools!
- Leave the alcohol at home. Cottonwood does not allow drinking on the premises. Instead, bring refillable (not glass) bottles of water or other non-alcoholic beverages to enjoy.
- Call ahead to inquire about seasonal snack or meal options, or drive into Buena Vista for coffee at Buena Vista Roastery, fast food at K’s, or a beer and a meal at Eddyline Restaurant and Brewery, Simple Eatery, or House Rock Kitchen. Call ahead for gluten-free, vegetarian or vegan options.
Recommended season(s): Year-round.
—Susan Joy Paul