8 Hot Springs to Add to Your Summer Colorado Road Trip
The Springs Resort & Spa — Photo Credit: Will Keightley (flickr)
When it comes to experiencing Colorado’s hot springs, we say the more the merrier! From an ultramodern spa facility to highlights from the Historic Hot Springs Loop, we’ve mapped out the ideal hot spring road trip for you and your group of friends.
This particular route clocks in at nearly 13 hours of ride time and covers 625 miles of western Colorado, so you’re going to want a comfortable and reliable ride. So, rather than piling into a mile-long carpool caravan and trusting your GPS’s spotty reception in the mountains, it might be a better move to invest in a private motor coach from Denver Charter Bus Company. This way your entire group can leave the driving and navigation to the professionals, while kicking back in a reclining seat and watching movies on flatscreen TVs en route to each relaxing stop on your list.
1. The Springs Resort & Spa, Pagosa Springs
Kick your road trip off on a high note at one of the deepest geothermal hot springs in the world — the “Mother Spring” at this Pagosa Springs sanctuary. Take a dip in each of the 23 individual soaking pools terraced along the San Juan River, ranging from the tepid 90-degree wading pools to the 113-degree “Lobster Pot.” While you’re in town, take in the quaint charm of Pagosa Springs’ downtown antiquaries and grab a craft brew from Riff Raff on the Rio.
2. Ouray Hot Springs Pool, Ouray
Next, travel straight through the shadow of Mt. Eolus and the San Juan National Forest, westward and northward to this slice of historic therapeutic heaven. This southwestern Colorado gem has comforted sojourners for centuries, from the native Ute people in the 1400s, to weary 19th-century prospectors and modern-day explorers.
Often called the “Switzerland of America” due to the surrounding ring of 13,000-foot snowcapped peaks, this valley spring is the perfect spot for soaking your bones after a long trip. Ouray Hot Springs Pool features all the standard hot spring fare you’d expect — family-friendly pools for prolonged soaks, a 104-degree hot pool, etc. — as well as a lap lanes and diving areas.
3. Mount Princeton Hot Springs, Nathrop
From Ouray, your next stop is a bit of a trek — nearly 200 miles through winding mountain highways — but trust us, it’s worth going the distance to kick back creekside at this hidden oasis.
Due to its fairly low-traffic locale, this resort and spa is often overlooked by the average hot-spring enthusiast — meaning your group can enjoy the peace and quiet that comes with the utter lack of crowds. Relax to your heart’s content in the historic bath house, or if you’ve had your fill of hot springs, get your blood pumping on any of the area’s outdoor adventure opportunities, from conquering the Arkansas River’s rapids to hiking through the San Isabel National Forest.
4. Glenwood Hot Springs Resort, Glenwood Springs
Next stop: Glenwood Springs! The hot springs here are some of the hottest in the world, starting at 122 degrees. If you can’t take the heat though, that’s fine — the resort cools the water in the main pools to a more tolerable 104 degrees, and offers many other entertainment options, aquatic and otherwise. Let the little ones splash down the resort’s waterslides, or head into town for a round of mini golf and an afternoon of thrills at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. For those traveling with a group of 20 or more soakers, it’s highly recommended that you call ahead to ensure space availability.
5. Iron Mountain Hot Springs, Glenwood Springs
Just a stone’s throw from our last stop, this riverside hot-spring resort is anything but humdrum. This luxury facility along the banks of the Colorado River is complete with 16 mineral hot springs that appeal to all temperature preferences, as well as soaking pools galore. With access to their 100,000-gallon freshwater pool included with your admission ticket, Iron Mountain is perfect for larger groups and younger travelers.
6. Hot Sulphur Springs Resort and Spa, Hot Sulphur Springs
From Glenwood Springs, settle in for a nearly 100-mile stretch to this unique destination at the base of Elk Mountain. Don’t let the mysterious, cloudy water intimidate you. This resort’s seven natural springs and 21 soaking pools are chock-full of healthy minerals that are great for your skin and make for a totally Instagrammable hot spring experience. Hit up the outdoor public pools, rent out a private indoor pool, or take advantage of the resort’s other therapeutic services: raindrop therapy, hot-rock massages, full-body massages and more.
7. Old Town Hot Springs, Steamboat Springs
Old Town Hot Springs is another oldie-but-goodie — its soothing waters have also been enjoyed by visitors for centuries. Today, this collection of eight spring-fed pools is decked out with modern amenities and attractions for all ages, from private-party cabanas and a state-of-the-art fitness center, to kiddie splash pools and a corkscrew waterslide. Whether your group wants to take turns basking in the warmth of the waterfall hot pool, or relax with a group soak in one of the more secluded pools, this Steamboat Springs spa has it all.
8. Strawberry Park Hot Springs, Steamboat Springs
A hop, skip and a jump across town, and you’ll arrive at your final stop: Strawberry Park Hot Springs, in all its rugged Colorado glory. While the area’s iconic fluffy snow should be long gone by the time your summer road trip rolls around, the wildflower-speckled forest and mountain views will still provide the perfect backdrop for a private massage, or a dip in the 104-degree mineral pools. This destination is one of the few hot springs on this list that is clothing-optional after dark. If you don’t want to worry about securing your change of clothes, extra bathing suits and personal belongings while you soak, the professional bus driver option with Denver Charter Bus Company allows you to leave these items on the bus.
Ready to embark on your summer hot spring road trip? All that’s left to do is get a rough headcount, let your driver know where you’re headed and when you’d like to go. Then it’ll be time to load up your hand-picked charter bus or minibus and roll out!
Here’s a map of where the hot springs are, for reference: