Colorado hot springs hold a charm all their own in winter. Since most hot springs are in mountain locations, the landscape is usually draped in snow, the air so cold steam billows from the water. And nothing soothes muscles sore from skiing or snow-shoeing like a soak in the natural healing waters.
But why stop at just one? While some Colorado hot springs close in winter and other backcountry pools become inaccessible, there are plenty of resorts that stay open year-round. Here is your guide to the perfect winter road trip to check them out. Just be sure to bring a towel and a robe, because it can be cold getting out of the water. Also, while all the resorts on the list have lodging, be sure to make reservations in advance.
1. Day One – Hot Sulphur Springs
Since more than 80 percent of Coloradans call the Front Range home, we’ll start there. Head west on Interstate 70 to U.S. Highway 40. Follow it to the town of Hot Sulphur Springs. Guess why they named it that? There are 21 pools of varying temperatures, with water rich in minerals to lull you into a winter’s nap. For more information, visit hotsulphursprings.com.
2. Day Two – Old Town Hot Springs, Strawberry Park Hot Springs
Head west on U.S. 40 over snowy Rabbit Ears Pass to Steamboat Springs, another town with hot springs so nice they put it in the name. Old Town Hot Springs, right in town, is a great family-friendly destination, with water slides and large pools. Looking for a more intimate experience? Drive seven miles out of town to Strawberry Park Hot Springs, a gorgeous rustic resort in a secluded woodland setting. You’ll need a four-wheel-drive vehicle with good tires or tire chains to make it up the steep dirt road. For more information, visit oldtownhotsprings.com and strawberryhotsprings.com.
3. Day Three – Glenwood Hot Springs
Take Colorado Highway 131 south back to I-70 and head west to the town of Glenwood Springs, where people have been soaking since 1888. Glenwood Hot Springs has the largest hot springs swimming pool in the world, where you can relax or swim laps year-round. For more information, visit hotspringspool.com.
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4. Day Four – Orvis Hot Springs
It’s time for a long drive through Colorado wine country. Take Colorado Highway 82 south to Colorado Highway 133 to Colorado Highway 92 to the town of Delta, then south on U.S. Highway 550 to the town of Ridgway. Here you’ll find Orvis Hot Springs, a clothing-optional resort with lovingly manicured grounds, rich views of the Mount Sneffels massif, and lithium-rich water. For more information, visit orvishotsprings.com.
5. Day Five – Joyful Journey Hot Springs, Valley View Hot Springs
Drive back north to Montrose and hop on U.S. Highway 50 past Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Turn onto Colorado Highway 114 and drive through the pretty Cochetopa Hills into the town of Saguache in the San Luis Valley. Take U.S. Highway 285 north for 15 miles and you have two soaking options. Joyful Journey Hot Springs is an intimate, spa-style hot springs with great views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. If you’re looking for a more natural experience, drive seven miles up County Road GG to Valley View Hot Springs, a clothing-optional resort with a dozen pools scattered over a hillside. For more information, visit joyfuljourneyhotsprings.com and olt.org/vvhs.
6. Day Six – Mt. Princeton Hot Springs, Cottonwood Hot Springs
It’s time to head back towards the Front Range, but not without stopping for a soak in the lovely Arkansas River Valley. From Highway 285, you have two options in the foothills west of Buena Vista. Mount Princeton Hot Springs is a large, family-friendly resort with water slides for the kids, yet with intimate creekside pools as well. Nearby Cottonwood Hot Springs offers several soaking pools in a secluded forest setting with a natural feel. For more information, visit mtprinceton.com and cottonwood-hot-springs.com.