Though famously experienced hot, the mineral waters deep underground aren’t all felt that way above the surface. While Coloradans love their soaking in winter, northern Front Range dwellers have a natural artesian spring to thank for a refreshing pool that has been widely popular in summers since July 4, 1905. The curative qualities exist, but the heat does not.
“[F]resh, clear and exhilaratingly cold” is The Denver Post’s description in a list of the best pools in the metro area. Those are the traits claimed by the pool’s owner, Eldorado Natural Spring Water, the company that bottles and jugs the H2O that customers swear is the tastiest and purest that money can buy. Also, the company has continued the rich tradition of a dip with a view.
Open Memorial Day through Labor Day, the pool sprawls between the steep, narrow walls of Eldorado Canyon, near the base of the state park beloved by serious climbers and casual hikers. Swimmers have gathered in the long, wide rectangle since 1906, when the previous resort expanded.
Moffat Lakes Resort quickly became known as the Coney Island of the West. First used by the Utes, the springs became the life source of the resort, which claimed to have the biggest swimming pool in the nation. People flocked by horseback or train, with the Colorado and Southern Railroad operating eight trips a day in the busy season, according to history maintained by Eldorado Natural Spring Water. The summers were believed to draw more than 60,000 visitors.
The Eldorado Hotel opened in 1908, the grandest room available for $2.50 a night, while others stayed in cottages or tents. The pool wasn’t the only headliner. Crowds emerged for Ivy Baldwin, “the Human Fly,” who on several occasions walked a tightrope strung high across the canyon. His last act was in 1948 at age 82.
Jack Fowler, of the family that owned the resort from the start, began bottling the water in 1942. While he dreamed of selling on a national scale, business stayed mostly local. And while his son, Bill, sought to develop real estate later, Boulder County declined those plans.
The state of Colorado acquired 400 acres from the resort in 1978, establishing the state park and ensuring that the natural beauty was preserved and enjoyed. When Eldorado Natural Spring Water took over water rights in 1983, surely pleased were families that for generations have enjoyed the pool.
While they might opt for season passes, day users delight in reasonable rates (in 2018, $12 for adults and $8 for seniors and children). Though busy on super hot days, there’s plenty of room on days when the chilly water is less than favorable. Operators say it flows to the pool at 76 degrees and is maintained at 80.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily Memorial Day through Labor Day
Contact: 303-604-3000, eldoradosprings.com/swimming-pool
Getting there: Off Interstate 25, exit for U.S. 36 west toward Boulder. After 14 miles, exit for McCaslin Boulevard toward Colorado 170 west. Stay on 170 as it becomes Eldorado Springs Drive. The pool will be before the entrance to Eldorado Canyon State Park.
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