Colorado's 5 Best Natural Hot Springs
PHOTO: Pagosa Springs. (photo courtesy of Thinkstock)
Colorado is loaded with outdoor activities. People flock to the Centennial State to breathe the fresh mountain air and take on all sorts of challenges, such as hiking, trail running, skiing, whitewater rafting and mountain biking.
But when you get done with your day pumping those legs and straining your lungs, you're going to want to find a way to relax and rejuvenate — so you are recovered to get back out there the next day!
Colorado's also got you covered. The state is loaded with natural hot springs, perfect for a recovery soak (or a non post-workout indulgence, of course!). Many of these hot springs areas have been developed into lodges or resorts, ranging from fairly rustic to luxurious. The resort areas use the natural hot springs to feed large swimming pools and natural hot tubs. Here are the five best Colorado hot springs areas to take a therapeutic dip.
Pagosa Springs — The highly mineralized geothermal water (it has a distinctive smell) from the Great Pagosa Hot Springs is 145 degrees at its exposed source in town. So it's too hot for humans to just jump into at that point. At a more reasonable temperature, you can enjoy it at any of three spas in town, as the aquifer feeds pools at the Springs Resort, Healing Waters Resort and Spa and Overlook Mineral Springs Spa.
Alamosa — In the San Luis Valley, the Great Sand Dunes National Park is an amazing site to visit. The largest sand dunes in North America began forming in the shadow of the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range more than 400,000 years ago because of a perfect dynamic among streams, wind and the mountains.
The area offers camping, hiking and fun exploration roaming the dunes. After playing all day, a pleasant plunge in the Sand Dunes Swimming Pool is just what you need. The spa has a giant pool (with soaker tubs) containing 102-degree water that is open year-round, and the adjacent therapy pool is 109 degrees. An adults-only Greenhouse area offers three soaking tubs, a zero-entry pool and bar.
Ouray — The town is known for an annual festival for expert ice climbers. It also is home to wonderful sulfur-free hot springs. Known as the Switzerland of America, Ouray's Hot Springs Pool, Wiesbaden Hot Springs Spa and Lodgings and Orvis Hot Springs are open to the public. Also, Box Canyon Lodge and Hot Springs, Twin Peaks Lodge and Hot Springs and Chipeta Solar Springs Resort have private hot springs facilities for guests.
Glenwood Springs — The Glenwood Hot Springs Pool (touted as the "World's Largest Hot Springs Pool") and Iron Mountain Hot Springs (with 16 soaking pools) sit along the Colorado River and provide majestic views of the Rockies. Or head underground to the historic Yampah Spa Vapor Caves to purify your spirit.
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Steamboat Springs – The natural hot springs area in this renowned adventure and ski town is situated in a gorgeous riverside canyon. Strawberry Park Hot Springs features 104-degree mineral water surrounded by a forested area, camping areas and rustic cabins, as well as picnic spots. Meanwhile, back in the heart of Steamboat Springs, Old Town Hot Springs recreation facility offers soaking pools, waterslide, aquatic climbing walls, massage therapy and a fitness center.
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