Colorado

7 Best Hot Springs in Colorado Where You Can Soak In Nature

Check out seven of the best hot springs in Colorado so you can stay active and warm all year long in the Rocky Mountain state.

John Denver’s Rocky Mountain High is running on repeat in my head, and somewhere nearby my friends are telling jokes, their laughter rippling through the darkness. I find a grin spreading across my face. Experiencing moments like this, shared with a group of like-minded friends, is the reason I never wanted to leave this state after graduating from college. There are simply too many ways to live your best life here, including a trip to the hot springs.

Colorado hot springs come in all shapes and sizes. Some like Strawberry Park have an au naturale, hippie vibe where clothing is optional after dark and kids are verboten. Others like Mount Princeton are more commercial but come with perks like waterslides and on-site lodging and restaurants.

Want to keep looking? Then scroll on for the best hot springs in Colorado and where to stay.

Dunton | Ultra Luxe Soaking

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In a remote location 25 miles southwest of Telluride, in the heart of the San Juan National Forest, Dunton Hot Springs are open only to guests staying at this exclusive destination resort. The property is a special place that’s wonderful for celebrating an anniversary or a babymoon, but they’re also happy to accommodate families who want to bring their pup along.

Accommodations are in hand-built cabins with one to five bedrooms that date back to the 1800s. They have been meticulously maintained over the years. All boast mountain chic decor, wood-burning stoves, and decks with mountain views. The best come with indoor or outdoor hot spring-fed tubs.

If you don’t score one of these, there are five hot spring pools for guests to enjoy in a few locations around the property. These include the inside of a 19th-century bathhouse and under the stars at the source of the calcium bicarbonate spring that feeds the resort. The water here is heated between 85 and 105 degrees Fahrenheit and has a strong concentration of dissolved iron, manganese, and some lithium. Benefits of soaking include opening peripheral blood vessels, improving circulation, and converting blood sugar to energy.

Dunton Hot Springs is an all-inclusive experience meaning meals and most beverages are included in the rate. Beyond the hot springs, you can try your hand at everything from fly fishing and horseback riding in summer to heli-skiing in winter. There is also a well-respected spa onsite.

 

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Dunton Hot Springs

9.2 Excellent (39 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.2 / 10
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Glenwood Springs | The Million Gallon Pool

Adjacent to the Colorado River and just off I-70 halfway between Vail and Aspen is the town of Glenwood Springs. Here you’ll find the Glenwood Hot Springs Resort, which has been welcoming bathers since 1888. It’s home to the world’s largest hot mineral spring pool filled with more than one million gallons of water.

The Big Pool, one of two on the property, is fed by the Yampah spring, which produces more than 3.5 million gallons of water per day. The water comes out of the spring at a scorching 122 degrees Fahrenheit but is cooled before it enters the resort’s two pools. The Big Pool is heated to a bathwater warm temp of about 92 degrees, which makes it tolerable on hot summer days and downright refreshing at night. It has lap lanes, a diving area, and two waterslides among other features.

The second pool, known as the Therapy Pool, is smaller and heated to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. It was designed as a giant hot tub, although at 100 feet long by 40 feet wide it is still massively larger than any normal hot tub.

Less than a 10-minute walk from the hot springs resort in the heart of Glenwood Springs, the Hotel Colorado is one of the state’s oldest hotels, in operation since 1893. The luxury grand dame property has an elegant old west feel and charming rooms with 19th-century Italian style furnishings. The property also offers some unique amenities like an onsite hypnotherapy clinic should you need to work out some issues under hypnosis.

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Glenwood Hot Springs Resort

Excellent Cleanliness 8.9 / 10
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Hot Sulphur Springs | Varied Soaking Temps in 21 Pools

Photo courtesy of the Grand County Tourism Board

In operation for more than 140 years, Hot Sulphur Springs Resort & Spa in the tiny town of Hot Sulphur Springs is an easy day trip from Denver. The Grand County resort is less than two hours’ drive from the Mile High City, making it one of the most accessible hot springs. The seven natural volcanic springs here bubble up from a fissure in the earth at temperatures as high as 126 degrees Fahrenheit. They were first discovered by the Ute Native Americans who used the area as a winter camping ground and bathed not only themselves in these healing waters, but also their horses and dogs.

The resort has 21 mineral pools including smaller baths that can be rented individually. The pools are various sizes and temperatures ranging from 95 degrees to 112 degrees. Although Hot Sulphur Springs Resort does offer lodging, it’s very basic and most people just visit the springs for the day.

When it comes time to slumber, The Canyon Motel is one option just a half-mile from the resort. The motel is a historic property with a vintage mountain-chintz flair that hasn’t changed in quite a few decades but still works. (Think rooms with wood-paneled walls and flowery bedspreads.) The rooms are tidy, the beds are comfy, and the staff is attentive. If you’re traveling with a dog, the motel is pet-friendly.

 

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Hot Sulphur Springs

7.1 Default (21 reviews)
Good Location 7.5 / 10
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Nathrop | Most Diverse (Not To Mention Historic) Resort

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Celebrating its 140th birthday in 2019, Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort is a long-standing favorite with Coloradans. Set between the towns of Buena Vista and Salida, and surrounded by the 14,000 plus foot peaks of the Collegiate Mountain Range, the location is a beaut.

But what sets this resort apart is the diversity of soaking options. There’s the Historic Bath House, dating back to 1867, where you’ll find pools reaching temps of 105 degrees Fahrenheit and an exercise pool that stays in the 90-degree range. There’s also the Creekside Hot Springs, which are set in the creek itself and range in temperature from 70 to a super hot 120 degrees Fahrenheit. (You can’t stay in long.) Then there are the Upper Pools and Waterslide complex, which are summer-focused with cooler 75-degree temperatures. And finally, for the kids or young at heart, there is a 400-foot waterslide to ride down.

For sleeping, the resort offers an equally diverse range of rooms and cabins to choose from. The rooms in the main lodge are a top pick thanks to their super convenient location for getting to the Mt Princeton Club Restaurant where meals are served. The menu here changes with the seasons, but recent recommendations included a delicious chicken and brie on challah bread sandwich at lunch and bison short ribs braised in smoked brown sugar and white balsamic for dinner.

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Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort

8.2 Very good (718 reviews)
Excellent Breakfast 8.9 / 10
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Ouray | Box Canyon Bliss

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In Southwest Colorado, tiny and remote Ouray is one of the state’s most visually stunning towns. The town sits in a narrow box canyon surrounded by craggy peaks that seem close enough to hug.

When it comes to hot springs, Ouray has several options. Celebrating its 90th birthday recently, the Ouray Hot Springs Pool in the town center is the top public spring choice. It recently underwent a multi-million dollar redo and features amenities like waterslides and an activity pool.

For a more private experience, book a room at the Box Canyon Lodge and Hot Springs to gain access to the four large, guests-only redwood tubs. Heated to temperatures of 103 to 108 degrees Fahrenheit, they are fed by the same sulfur-free, mineral-rich hot spring water as the public pools. The tubs are set on the mountainside behind the lodge and the views of craggy reddish rocks and fir trees juxtaposed against a bright blue sky are as therapeutic as the water.

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Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs

9.0 Excellent (446 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.5 / 10
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Pagosa Springs | Home to the World's Deepest Geothermal Hot Springs

Also in Southwest Colorado’s rugged San Juan Mountains, Pagosa Springs has a charming, old fashioned mountain vibe. Here you will find The Springs Resort & Spa, which draws its water from the world’s deepest geothermal hot spring: The “Great Pagosa Spring,” which has been measured at 1,002 feet deep.

The Springs Resort also hosts more hot springs pools than any other resort in Colorado with 23 options for soaking. The pools range in temperature from 83 to 114 degrees Fahrenheit and are terraced to overlook the river.

There are three tiers of rooms but all are recently renovated and contemporary luxe in their decor. One of the best parts of staying here is access to the pools 24 hours a day. Soaking under the stars, or even better a full moon, when no one else is out is a special experience.

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Springs Resort And Spa

8.7 Excellent (487 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.2 / 10
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Steamboat Springs | Au Naturale Magic

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Most famous for its winter ski slopes, Steamboat Springs also hosts a few different hot springs. Strawberry Park Hot Springs is a favorite local choice for a back-to-nature soaking experience. The springs are just 5.5 miles from downtown Steamboat, but the last two miles are on a dirt road. The road is accessible by 2WD in summer but you’ll need chains or a 4WD vehicle in winter.

Strawberry Park is a very laidback place that has pretty much looked the same for decades now. The soaking pools here are very au natural. They have sandy bottoms and you know you’re in the right spot by the rock hemming around the sides. The craggy mountain and forest surroundings enhance the relaxing ambiance. The geothermal springs come out of the earth at 140-degrees but flow through a stream before entering the pools, which cools the water to a pleasant 104-degrees.

During the day, Strawberry Park welcomes well-behaved children as long as they keep their voices down. After dark, children are not allowed and clothing is optional.

Strawberry Park is not Steamboat’s only hot spring option. There’s also the more commercial, but still charming, Old Town Hot Springs downtown. Known as the “medicine springs” by the town’s first inhabitants, the Ute Native Americans, today they feature a large hot spring pool with two giant waterslides and an aquatic rock climbing wall.

Across the street from the Old Town Hot Springs is the family-run Rabbit Hills Motel. The three-star property has a renovated vintage vibe and perks like free continental breakfast and discounted passes to the Old Town Hot Springs. Try to book one of the rooms with a balcony and river view.

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Rabbit Ears Motel

8.2 Very good (1208 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.4 / 10
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Featured image courtesy of the Colorado Tourism Office, Matt Inden / Miles