The Best of Colorado’s Hot Springs Loop

Used initially by Native American tribes for their healing powers, Colorado’s mineral-rich hot springs are now popular spots for relaxing in some of the state’s most stunning scenery. Head to any of these choice hot springs below, all of which are beloved by locals and visitors alike.

Cottonwood Hot Springs Inn & Spa

A young man hangs out with sunglasses on in a hot spring pool
The author’s son enjoying the soothing waters at Cottonwood Hot Springs Inn & Spa. Photo © Terri Cook and Lon Abbott.

Located five miles west of Buena Vista on a scenic road that heads up beautiful Cottonwood Pass, the laid-back “mom & pop” Cottonwood Hot Springs are a bit off the beaten track, and tend not to be as busy as some of the state’s larger facilities. In addition to five pools, which range in temperature from 94°F to 110°F, this complex has a therapeutic spa where you can book a massage to complement your leisurely soak. There is also a basic, western-style lodge on the premises.

Glenwood Hot Springs Resort

A long pool next to a red bath house with a green and dusty hill in the background
Glenwood Hot Springs, the world’s largest hot springs pool. Photo © Terri Cook and Lon Abbott.

These iconic hot springs, which first opened in 1888, are one of Colorado’s best-known attractions. Home to the world’s largest hot spring pool, Glenwood Hot Springs Resort has it all: interstate access from Denver, a cozy hotel whose guests have unlimited access to the pools, a top-notch spa for pampering every inch of your body, a well-equipped athletic club, and a mini water park for the kids.

Iron Mountain Hot Springs

Colorado’s newest hot springs complex, Iron Mountain Hot Springs, opened in 2014 and has quickly become another popular draw to the Glenwood Springs/Aspen region. The facility features 16 rejuvenating pools at a wide range of temperatures, plus a large, kid-friendly swimming pool, and a small but reasonably priced restaurant. It is located along the north bank of the Colorado River a short distance from the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.

Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort

Located in the Arkansas River valley beneath two of Colorado’s highest peaks, including 14,196-foot-high Mount Princeton, the Mount Princeton Hot Springs are an ideal place to relax and enjoy some of Colorado’s most dramatic terrain. The complex includes a series of creekside pools ranging from 70°F to 120°F, a swimming pool with a 400-foot-long water slide, a variety of lodging options, and a heavenly spa. This popular facility is accessed via a spur road that leaves U.S. Highway 285 between the towns of Buena Vista and Salida.

Old Town Hot Springs

Located in Steamboat Springs, a.k.a. Ski Town, USA®, the not-for-profit Old Town Hot Springs is a community-oriented recreation center with eight hot mineral pools. Other fun perks include cardio equipment, fitness classes, aquatic climbing walls, tennis courts, and—for young parents—regularly scheduled childcare.

Ouray Hot Springs Pool

Ouray hot springs is pictured: it looks like a roundish pool and is divided into three sections, one of which has equipment for kids to play on
Different pool areas make Ouray Hot Springs a good destination for travelers with kids. Photo © Terri Cook.

Nestled in a deep box canyon beneath soaring peaks in the San Juan Mountains, Ouray is known as the “Switzerland of America.” By far Ouray’s most popular attraction is its hot springs, which recently re-opened following extensive renovations. Its pools feature three separate soaking sections with water temperatures spanning 88 to 105°F. Because its waters are sulfur-free, there is no “rotten egg” smell like in some of the other facilities, and the scenery is spectacular.

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