Colorado may not have a beach, but thanks to the seismic forces that created the Rocky Mountains, we have plenty of hot springs. At these magical locations, geothermally-heated water bubbles up from deep below the surface for our soaking pleasure.And what better way to earn your soak than with an invigorating hike? Hike and soak at the following 6 Colorado destinations. Add these stunning hikes with nearby hot springs to your summer itinerary.
1. Buena Vista, Colorado
Hike: Mount Princeton
Hot Springs: Mount Princeton Hot Springs
Mount Princeton is one of Colorado’s most recognizable 14,000-foot peaks, rising dramatically over the Arkansas River Valley and the town of Buena Vista. It’s also an incredible hike, and with a high-clearance vehicle you can drive to nearly 11,000 feet. From there, it’s 6.5 miles round-trip and 3,200 feet of elevation gain. Just a few miles from the Mount Princeton trailhead is the namesake hot springs, which has large swimming pools along with more private river-side pools. Click here for more info!
2. Pagosa Springs, Colorado
Hike: Fourmile Falls
Hot Springs: The Springs Resort and Spa
Located along the banks of the San Juan River in Pagosa Springs, this posh resort has two dozen pools of various shapes, sizes, and temperatures, as well as adults-only VIP pools. Earn your soak with a hike to lovely Fourmile Falls, located about 20 miles north of town. Ambitious hikers can continue past the waterfall to Fourmile Lake, though the trail becomes much steeper after the waterfall. Click here for more info!
3. Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Hike: Mad Creek Trailhead
Hot Springs: Strawberry Park Hot Springs
The hot springs is the destination on this moderate three-mile hike near Steamboat Springs. Trail No. 1169 starts at the Mad Creek trailhead, winds through the hills, and ends on the property of Strawberry Park Hot Springs. This beautiful yet rustic resort is so remote you need tire chains or a four-wheel-drive vehicle to reach it in winter. Several longer hikes can be made from the property, or just relax and enjoy the soak. You earned it. Click here for more info!
4. San Luis Valley, Colorado
Hike: South Crestone Lake
Hot Springs: Valley View Hot Springs
This hike starts just outside the eclectic town of Crestone in the San Luis Valley and runs 5.5 miles to a stunning mountain lake, ringed by dramatic peaks of the Sangre de Cristo range. Like most hikes on the west side of the range, it is strenuous, with more than 3,000 feet of climbing, but the views are worth it. After the hike, drive 30 minutes north to Valley View Hot Springs, a rustic resort with a dozen pools scattered over a hillside. Be warned: Valley View is clothing optional. Click here for more info!
5. Ridgway, Colorado
Hike: Blue Lakes
Hot Springs: Orvis Hot Springs
The western edge of the San Juan Mountains is often called “the American Alps,” for its stunning array of jagged, eroded peaks. Blue Lakes is a collection of three lakes, each more stunning than the last, in the Mount Sneffels Wilderness. The hike is mild by wilderness standards, just over three miles and 1,500 feet of climbing to the first lake. The trail is more difficult to the upper two lakes. No matter how far you go, your legs will appreciate a soak at Orvis Hot Springs in nearby Ridgway. It’s clothing-optional in a lovingly manicured setting, with several pools bubbling with hot, lithium-rich water that will ease your bones and your soul. Click here for more info!
6. Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Hike: Hanging Lake
Hot Springs: Glenwood Hot Springs
One of the most-photographed lakes in Colorado, Hanging Lake is located 10 miles from the town of Glenwood Springs. The trail is short, just a mile, but steep and often crowded, to the point where parking can be difficult. Ease the pressure by hiking in spring or fall or a summer weekday, and leave the dog at home. Because of its length, it’s an especially popular trail for families with children. The kids will love it, and they’ll love Glenwood Hot Springs even more. With waterslides, a kiddie pool, and the largest hot springs swimming pool in the world, it’s the ultimate family-friendly hot springs experience. There’s also a spa and lodging available. Click here for more info!