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There are few things as distinctly Colorado as visiting a hot spring. In the winter, sitting in the warm water as the cold air swirls around your head, perhaps even a few snowflakes falling around you, is a classic Colorado experience. In the summer, soaking in the warm water after a long, hard day of hiking is practically a birthright for those who live here. The hot springs in Colorado are not to be missed!
The hot springs in the state are as varied as the people who live here. With over 90 hot springs in Colorado, there is bound to be one to interest you. While some are in primitive wilderness areas or on private lands, dozens of them have been developed or are otherwise accessible.
Unlike other Colorado hot springs guides on the Internet that have been cobbled together from stock photos and vague generalizations, we’ve actually been to each and every one of the geothermal springs we’ve written about below.
Best Hot Springs in Colorado
This ultimate guide to the hot springs resorts in Colorado is listed in order from north to south in the state.
Strawberry Park Natural Hot Springs
The remote and primitive Strawberry Park Hot Springs is one of the best natural hot springs in Colorado. Set into a valley about seven miles from downtown Steamboat Springs, Strawberry Park is literally built into the creek bed. As the spring water flows into the aptly-named Hot Spring Creek (a tributary of the Elk River), the hot spring water mixes with the cold river water. The upper pools are around 104 degrees and the water cools as it flows downhill and mixes with more river water (the lower pools are much cooler).
Strawberry Park puts the natural in the hot springs experience. In the evenings, Strawberry Park Natural Hot Springs become adults-only and clothing optional. They keep a very relaxed and non-judgmental atmosphere for everyone to enjoy. The bottoms of the hot springs pools are also sandy/river rock. Note: We find that water shoes can be really helpful here.
We discovered Strawberry Park about 30 years ago. At the time, it was one of the great hidden retreats and only locals in the know ventured out to it. It was one of the few places with true hot springs camping in Colorado. However, of the years, Strawberry Park has grown. The county has significantly improved the access road (although a 4-wheel drive vehicle is still needed in the winter) and there are now cabins for visitors.
Due to its remote location and natural setting, Strawberry Park is one of the best Colorado natural hot springs. It’s also one of the favorites of locals in Colorado – and certainly one of our favorites!
Address: 44200 Co Rd 36, Steamboat Springs, CO 80487
Where to stay: There are handful of hot springs cabins and camping sites available at Strawberry Park. We recommend staying in the town of Steamboat Springs, where you have access to restaurants and other activities. Check options in Steamboat Springs here. We’ve stayed at The Steamboat Grand and the Sheraton Steamboat Resort Villas on previous trips and would recommend both.
Old Town Hot Springs
For more than a century, the public pool in Steamboat Springs has been a natural, outdoor hot springs. Water from the Heart Spring comes from deep in the ground at the rate of 220 gallons per minute and at a temperature of about 103 degrees. This is then channeled into the public pool complex, which feeds eight different pools and two water slides.
The Steamboat hot springs pools range in temperature from 80 degrees for the general lap lane pool to 103 degrees for the soaking pool. There’s even a hot springs waterfall to naturally massage your head, shoulders, and back.
We don’t visit the Old Town Hot Springs very often. If we’re visiting Steamboat Springs, we’re more likely to head out Strawberry Park, however, for families with kids or for older visitors, the Old Town Springs can be an excellent choice.
Address: 136 S Lincoln Ave, Steamboat Springs, CO 80487
Where to stay: The Old Town Hot Springs are located right in downtown Steamboat Springs. We recommend staying right in town or out at the resorts near the ski mountain. Check options in Steamboat Springs here. At Mount Werner Circle and the ski resort, we’ve stayed at The Steamboat Grand and the Sheraton Steamboat Resort Villas on previous trips and would recommend both.
Hot Sulphur Springs Resort
The mountainside in the town of Hot Sulphur Springs is dotted with dozens of hot pots and pools that are collectively the Hot Sulphur Springs Resort & Spa. Pools range in temperature from 94 to 111 degrees. Some of the pools are large and some are only big enough to hold two people, but there’s enough variety to keep everyone happy. Hot Sulphur Springs is the oldest Colorado hot springs resort and is also one of the best.
Located in a corner of the state that isn’t heavily visited by tourists, Hot Sulphur Springs is the antidote to the busy hot springs elsewhere in Colorado. This is the kind of place to soak in peace and quiet…except when the train rolls through.
For years, visiting the Hot Sulphur Springs Resort and Spa has been one of our favorite things about the fall. We discovered it nearly 20 years ago (shortly after it re-opened in 1997) and make sure we visit at least once a season. Read more about the Hot Sulphur Springs.
Address: 5609 Spring Rd, Hot Sulphur Springs, CO 80451
Where to stay: We love Hot Sulphur Springs and they have a number of rooms and cabins available for overnight stays. Unfortunately, if the train comes through, it is almost impossible to sleep through it. We recommend staying in one of the towns nearby where there are more restaurant and activity options. Check hotel options in Granby and Granby Ranch ski area here – both are about 15 minute drive away.
Indian Hot Springs
The Indian Hot Springs are the best hot springs near Denver. Located about about 30 minutes west of the Front Range in the mountains, the Idaho Springs hot springs make the perfect post-skiing stop.
The Indian Hot Springs has one hot springs pool and a couple of steam caves. However, it also has some private hot springs cabins and rooms with private soaking tubs. These are quite popular and often book far in advance. And, given its proximity to Denver, the Indian Hot Springs can be quite busy on weekends.
Given how busy they can be, the Indian Hot Springs aren’t our favorite in Colorado. However, because they are closest hot springs to Denver, we usually end up when visiting family in the Mile High City.
Address: 302 Soda Creek Rd, Idaho Springs, CO 80452
Where to stay: There are a handful of hotels and inns in Idaho Springs. Check options in Idaho Springs here. However, recommend staying nearby in Central City at one of the casino hotels because there are more amenities and options here. Check options in Central City here.
Iron Mountain Hot Springs
The Iron Mountain Hot Springs is the newest hot springs resort in Colorado. Located a short distance down the Colorado River from the massive Glenwood Springs pool, Iron Mountain takes an opposite approach. Instead of huge pools, they focus on small, intimate soaking tubs. The 16 soaking pools all have views of the Colorado River and the Iron Mountain across the valley.
Given the beautifully designed grounds and a focus on quality, it’s easy to see why Iron Mountain has quickly become one of the top Colorado hot springs resorts. With a focus on quiet and relaxation, it is one of the more adult-oriented hot springs in the state.
Address: 281 Centennial St, Glenwood Springs, CO 81601
Where to stay: Glenwood Springs is a complete mountain town with lots of accommodations options. Check options in Glenwood Springs here. Presidents and royalty stay at the Hotel Colorado when in town. Two other good options that we like are the Best Western Antlers Inn and the Residence Inn Glenwood Springs.
Glenwood Hot Springs Pool
In Colorado, there are hot springs and then there’s the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool in Glenwood Springs. For most visitors and locals alike, their first hot springs experience is usually Glenwood. The Glenwood hot springs are very accessible to the Western Slope, the Front Range, and most of the ski resorts in between.
For decades, the Glenwood Springs hot springs pool has been the world’s largest hot springs pool. The main pool stretches more than a city block and could easily hold several Olympic-sized pools within it. The size of the pool makes it one of the best family hot springs in Colorado. And for the adults, the 104-degree soaking pool is absolutely idyllic in the winter after a long day of skiing.
For many years, the Glenwood Springs pool had two of the tallest water slides in America. The blue fiberglass tubes have been replaced by a whole new water slide area called the Sopris Splash Zone. There are again two tubes in operation, with one being for inner tubes and the other operating as a body slide. The hot spring water slides have been built with a design that appears to fit into the landscape.
The Glenwood Hot Springs Pool is also a personal favorite. As a child growing up in the Colorado mountains, I learned how to swim and socialize with other kids during my summers at this pool. I have many, many fond memories spent at the Glenwood pool!
While other hot springs resorts have become quite expensive in recent years, the Glenwood hot springs prices have been very stable. Prices for adults are $22-29 and $15-19 for kids, and are variable based upon peak-season or low-season. Read more about the Glenwood Hot Springs pool here.
Address: 401 N River St, Glenwood Springs, CO 81601
Where to stay: Glenwood Springs is a complete mountain town with lots of accommodations options. Check options in Glenwood Springs here. Many visitors like to stay on-site at the Glenwood Hot Springs Resort, the lodge affiliated with the springs. Other good options in Glenwood Springs are the Hotel Colorado, the Best Western Antlers Inn, and the Residence Inn Glenwood Springs.
Cottonwood Hot Springs
Nestled above a babbling river at the base of Cottonwood Pass in the San Isabel National Forrest, the Cottonwood Hot Springs offers semi-rustic hot spring pools of various temperatures. Several pools are built of rock and a couple are constructed like swimming pools and made out of concrete.
Water temperatures vary by season, but are generally 96 to 108 degrees. All of the pools are naturally fed and constantly flushed for hygiene. Cottonwood Hot Springs tries to keep a quiet, peaceful environment and electronics are forbidden.
Cottonwood Hot Springs has a hippy-like vibe and is perfect for relaxing after a day of hiking or 4×4 off-roading. The offer massage and some of the more unusual body treatments common at alternative lifestyle retreats. Cottonwood keeps a quiet atmosphere and may not be a good option for families with children.
Address: 18999 Co Rd 306, Buena Vista, CO 81211
Where to stay: There is a small motel/inn on the grounds of the Cottonwood Hot Springs, but a few hot spring cabins along the creek. However, we recommend staying in Buena Vista, where there are more options and also restaurants. Check hotel options in Buena Vista here.
Mount Princeton Hot Springs
The Mount Princeton Hot Springs are both historic, and super fashionable. The original hot springs at Mount Princeton dates back to the early 1860s. However, more convenient road access to Denver and Colorado Springs have brought with it significantly more visitors, and a rapid expansion of the Mount Princeton resort itself. Mount Princeton is now the largest (and most visited) of the Buena Vista hot springs resorts. Weekends in the summer can be particularly crowded.
The original bathhouse and pools are from the 1800s, including both of the mineral pools. Above the main complex (and across the road) is a newer and rapidly expanding family-friendly hot springs complex that has several different pools and mountainside water slide. The Mt Princeton hot springs resort is one of the best Colorado hot springs for families.
When the water level is conducive, the Creekside hot springs at Mount Princeton are open for in-river soaking. It’s a unique and interesting soaking experience.
Like other hot springs resorts in Colorado, Mount Princeton has also opened an exclusive resort-within-the-resort experience known as the Cascading Hot Springs at the Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort Spa & Club. This popular section of the resort has four pools that are segregated away from the rest of the complex and are quieter.
Address: 15870 Co Rd 162, Nathrop, CO 81236
Where to stay: There are a number of accommodation options at Mount Princeton, including the motel and a Mount Princeton cabins. However, we recommend staying in Buena Vista, where there are more options and also restaurants. Check hotel options in Buena Vista here.
Ouray Hot Springs Pool
The Ouray Hot Springs Pool is one of several public hot springs pools in the Rocky Mountains. Ouray certainly has the best view of all of the hot springs in the Colorado mountains. The mountain peaks tower thousands of feet above the tiny town crammed into the narrow valley.
At the north end of town, the Ouray hot springs pool complex offers five different pools for your soaking or lap swimming enjoyment. The large pool has almost 800,000 gallons of hot spring water to soak in.
While most people travel to Ouray to go 4×4 or mountain biking, the hot springs pool in Ouray may be just as a famous as the mountains themselves.
Address: 1220 Main Street, Ouray, CO 81427
Where to stay: This is a beautiful small town and there are a number of excellent inn and hotel options in Ouray. When we stay in town, we like to stay at a hotel that also has a private hot springs, so we have additional hot spring options in the evening when the Ouray pool is closed.
Twin Peaks Lodge & Hot Springs
This motel/hotel in Ouray has its own hot springs. The natural hot springs in Ouray comes out of the ground at a scorching 156 degrees Fahrenheit and feeds three different pools on the grounds of the hotel. A tranquil indoor adults-only springs pool for soaking is a toasty 104-106 degrees. There is an outdoor swimming pool that is a pleasant 90-101 degrees (it was 98 degrees on our visit). Finally, there is a warmer, outdoor hot springs tub that is 102 degrees. The hot springs are open exclusively for Twin Peaks hotel guests and can be used 24-hours a day, but no children between 10pm-8am.
The Twin Peaks Lodge hot springs is a nice alternative to the larger, public Ouray hot springs pool. And having exclusive access means you can enjoy them even after a long day of hiking, mountain biking, or 4×4 in the San Juan Mountains above the town.
We’ve stayed here while visiting family in Southern Colorado and enjoyed the private pools. Even when the hotel was fully booked, we only had a handful of other guests in the water with us.
Address: 125 3rd Ave, Ouray, CO 81427
Where to stay: Access to the Twin Peaks Lodge hot springs is restricted to hotel guests. Book a room at the Twin Peaks Lodge & Hot Springs here.
Durango Hot Springs Resort
Just north of Durango, visitors and locals head to the Durango Hot Springs Resort and Spa for a soak. Formerly known as the Trimble Spa and Natural Hot Springs or just Trimble Hot Springs, this complex of hot springs near Durango has a large swimming pool and a nice hot springs soaking pool. Like most public hot springs in Colorado, they also offer massage therapy sessions, or visitors can just relax or the grounds and have a picnic.
Visiting the Durango Hot Springs Resort is the perfect way to relax after a long day of skiing at Purgatory or white-water rafting in the Animas River. Soaking at the hot springs in Durango is a great way to relax while enjoying the views of the San Juan National Forrest.
Address: 6475 C.R. 203, Durango, CO 81301
Where to stay: Durango is the largest city in southwestern Colorado and has lots of accommodation options. Check Durango hotel options here. On our trips to Durango, we’ve stayed at the historic General Palmer Hotel, the Fairfield Inn & Suites Durango, and the DoubleTree Durango.
The Springs Resort and Spa in Pagosa Springs
The Pagosa hot springs, known as The Springs Resort and Spa, is one of the best hot springs in Colorado. The hot springs in Pagosa Springs also has the distinction of being the the world’s deepest geothermal hot springs. The water is heated deep, deep in the earth before bubbling up to the surface and creating interesting interesting mineral deposits.
The Springs Resort and Spa makes use of the water by creating nearly two dozen pools in various sizes and temperatures. The hottest hot pot can get over 112 degrees (called the Lobster Pot), but most are in the 95 to 104 degree range. However the most intriguing aspect of the hot springs in Pagosa is the river. Since it is located on the banks of the San Juan River, many people like to dip in the San Juan at the point the hot water drains into the cold mountain river water. This is truly a unique riverside hot springs experience.
The resort also offers a super-exclusive Relaxation Terrace experience, with five terrace pools reserved for the most discerning guests. The Relaxation Terrace is an incredible spa-within-the-resort experience. Guests who want even more relaxation can add a Pahgosa Spa experience as well.
Address: 165 Hot Springs Blvd, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147
Where to stay: Pagosa Springs has a number of hotels and cabin rental options. Check accommodation options in Pagosa Springs here.
More Top Colorado Hot Springs
There are a few other hot springs in Colorado that we haven’t visited yet. However, we will update this article when we do. Those hot springs are:
Treehouse Hot Springs near Buena Vista. This takes private hot springs to a whole new level. This is a private vacation home at the base of the Chalk Cliffs that has a 27-foot-long hot springs pool. Because it is a vacation rental, the Treehouse Hot Springs is one of the truly private hot springs in Colorado.
Creek Side Hot Springs near Buena Vista. This private hot springs is located on the property of a private rental cabin near Mount Princeton. The temperature of the hot pot can be controlled and ranges from 100 to 105 degrees. The Creek Side Hot Springs are near Mount Princeton, but shouldn’t be confused with the Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort, which has its own creekside hot springs.
Dakota Hot Springs (formerly known as The Well at Brush Creek). This hot springs near Colorado Springs is located in Penrose, Colorado. The Dakota Hot Springs Pool Club is a clothing optional hot springs resort and the water is kept at between 95-98 degrees all year.
Desert Reef Hot Springs. The Desert Reef Hot Springs near the Royal Gorge is another clothing optional hot springs resort. The 40,000 gallon hot springs pool is the one Front Range hot springs and features beautiful views of the Rocky Mountains.
Valley View Hot Springs. The Valley View Hot Springs are located on 2200 acres of protected land and are one of the most popular hot springs in Southern Colorado. Many of the seven pools offer stunning views of the San Luis Valley. This is another clothing optional Colorado hot springs resort and focuses heavily on naturism.
Joyful Journey Hot Springs Spa. Located in the heart of the San Luis Valley and surrounded by the Sangre De Criso Mountains, Joyful Journey Hot Springs has several pools ranging from 98 to 108 degrees.
Orvis Hot Springs in Ridgeway. One of the most popular Western Slope hot springs pools, Orvis in Ridgeway is another clothing optional resort. Orvis has ten hot springs ponds, pools, and pots to soak in after a day of skiing or hiking.
Dunton Hot Springs near Dolores. In the mountains between Dolores and Telluride is the fanciest hot springs in Colorado. This ghost town from the 1800s has been painstakingly rehabilitated into one of the nicest (and most expensive) resorts in the state. There are five different pools at the Dunton Hot Springs resort .
Etiquette for Visiting a Hot Springs
Please keep the following things in mind:
- Shower before entering the hot springs
- Be respectful of others
- If a hot pot or hot springs pool is too full, wait until someone leaves before entering. Allow some distance between you and the person next to you.
- Don’t eat or drink in the hot springs
- No squirt guns, toys, balls or frisbees – hot springs are for relaxing.
Each hot springs will have its own posted official rules, usually on a sign by the entrance or where you purchase the admission tickets. Follow the rules closely. Most hot springs (or pools) have common safety rules:
- No glass in the hot springs
- Don’t run around the springs
- Shower before entering the hot springs
These rules are for your safety and the safety of others.
Some hot springs in Colorado are clothing optional. While there are a few that operate as entirely clothing optional resorts, some are clothing optional only in the evenings. If this of interest to you, please consult each hot springs’ website.
So, if you visit a clothing optional hot springs in Colorado feel free to dress (or not) as you are comfortable (as opposed to an entirely nude hot springs where clothing is prohibited). This isn’t about peer pressure. If you aren’t comfortable going natural, feel free to cover. However, by the same token, allow others that same freedom. Don’t gawk or stare. You’ll see all different body types and you are all there for the same purpose: the enjoyment of the springs.
If members of your group may not have the maturity for a clothing optional situation, please consider another hot springs or a different time of day. Remember: cameras and photographic equipment at clothing optional springs is strictly taboo.
Colorado Hot Springs with Kids
This is a difficult and sensitive topic for many people. Some hot springs, such as the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool, cater to families and accommodate them with ease. Others try to keep an adult-like atmosphere of quiet and relaxation. If you are planning to visit a springs, consider going to one of the best hot springs for families in Colorado: Glenwood Springs Hot Springs Pool, the Old Town Hot Springs in Steamboat Springs, or Mount Princeton Hot Springs. While well-behaved children will be welcome, please ensure active parenting for the benefit of all hot springs visitors.
Tips for Visiting a Hot Spring
Beware of High Mineral Content
Many of the hot springs in Colorado have a very high mineral content. Don’t wear a new bathing suit as it will likely end up smelling of sulfur. The sulfur smell is nearly impossible to get out of the suit or other clothes. Even if a spring is not known as one of the hot sulfur springs, there are other minerals that can be harsh on clothing.
Don’t Wear Metal Jewelry
Many metals, including those that are composites or not exceptional pure, will tarnish badly. This also includes things like the metal joints on sunglasses. If your jewelry or sunglasses come into contact with the hot springs water, wash them as soon as reasonably possible in warm, soapy water.
Most of the Colorado hot springs are in the mountains and almost all of them are over 6,000 feet. The risk of dehydration and altitude sickness is very, very real. At a minimum, you should be drinking a quart of water for every hour you are at the hot springs. As cool and tempting as it may seem, don’t drink alcohol while in the hot springs as that will only compound the dehydration problem.
Be vigilant in wearing sunscreen during day-time hours. The high elevations and thinner air mean you’ll burn faster than at lower elevations. At more rustic hotel springs (like Strawberry Park Springs, the Creekside Hot Springs at Mount Princeton Hot Springs, or Pagosa Hot Springs where you are in the river) you should be using biodegradable sunscreen.
Best Hours for Visiting
Everyone has their best times for visiting hot springs, but we love the early morning hours before families arrive or late afternoon/evening when it is quieter. It’s a chance to soak in the warm water with fewer people and a more relaxed atmosphere.
Common Questions About Hot Springs in the Rocky Mountains
People have a lot of questions about hot springs in Colorado. Here are some of the common questions we’ve heard.
What Causes Hot Springs in Colorado?
Around the world, there can be many different geological factors that create hot springs. However, all of the thermal springs in Colorado are created by the same method. Rain and snow on the Rocky Mountains flow down hill and some that water seeps deep into the earth through the very porous rock. When this surface water travels under ground, it picks up lots of minerals (such as sulfur). Deep in the earth, the water is heated. It can return to the surface through faults or fissures in the same porous rocks.
What is the Difference Between Natural Hot Springs vs Hot Springs Resorts/Pools?
In theory, the difference between natural hot springs and a hot springs resort is pretty clear cut. The natural hot springs in Colorado come out of the ground and pool naturally or with minimal human intervention. There might be a few rock walls built to contain the water, but it otherwise flows naturally.
In theory, a resort or a hot springs pool is an entirely man-made construction. The water is diverted from its natural channel into pools, ponds, hot tubs, and hot pots.
In reality, the distinctions are much less clear. Many Colorado resorts actively promote themselves as “natural hot springs” in their marketing materials. For example, the Old Town Hot Springs in Steamboat Springs, which is a public swimming pool and an entirely man-made construction, advertises itself as a “natural outdoor hot spring.”
The distinction can be further confused because some hot springs in Colorado are hybrids – having both elements of the best natural hot springs with the convenience and comfort of top hot springs resorts. Hot springs like the Strawberry Hot Springs in Steamboat, the Creekside at Mount Princeton Hot Springs, and even Pagosa Springs are all examples of this, where there are rivers to soak in as well as pools.
Where are the Hot Springs in Colorado?
There are no hot springs in Denver or any of the other largest cities in the state (Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Fort Collins, Boulder, Grand Junction, etc.). In fact, there are only two Front Range hot springs.
So, if you want to visit any of the hot springs, you’ll need to head up into the mountains to get your soak on. Most Colorado hot springs locations are in the mountains near rivers or streams.
If you look at a Colorado hot springs map, you’ll notice that there are often groups or clusters of hot springs close together. This would include a group of hot springs in Glenwood Springs, another group of hot springs in Steamboat Springs, and a bunch of hot springs in Ouray.