Glenwood Springs: A Hot Spot Along the Historic Colorado Hot Springs Loop
Geothermal springs flow abundantly throughout western Colorado. Five hot springs destinations are particularly enticing along the Colorado Historic Hot Springs Loop – Glenwood Springs, Ouray, Pagosa Springs, Chaffee County, and Steamboat Springs.
Soaking in super-heated water saturated with minerals offers many benefits. Practiced for thousands of years, balneology is the art and science of bathing in natural mineral waters for health and wellness. This type of hydrotherapy helps to revitalize the skin, calm nerves and detoxify the body. It has been known to reduce the symptoms of arthritis, fibromyalgia, depression, as well as locomotor and circulatory diseases. The warmth has a relaxing, soothing effect on muscles and the mind. Ultimately, the goal is rejuvenation and spending time with friends and family.
Home to three easily accessible hot springs attractions, Glenwood Springs is a perfect starting point for touring Colorado’s Historic Hot Springs Loop.
Colorado’s most famous hot springs resort opened in 1888, but even prior to that, the Ute Indians made seasonal pilgrimages to soak in the area’s healing waters. At 400 ft/122m long, Glenwood Hot Springs is considered the world’s largest mineral hot springs pool. The big pool hovers around 90°F/32°C, while the smaller Therapy Pool is closer to 104°F/40°C.The resort is also home to the Spa of the Rockies which uses mineral water from the source spring in many of its treatments. The 107-room Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge also harnesses geothermal energy for heating and snowmelt in the winter.
At Iron Mountain Hot Springs 16 soaking pools are situated on a terraced hillside overlooking the Colorado River. The pools vary in size, shape and temperature, ranging from 99°F/37°C to 108°F/42°C. Some have river rock bottoms intended to stimulate reflexology points on the feet; all of them have spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and landscape. There’s also a cooler, freshwater family pool where children tend to gravitate; an attached, elevated jetted spa makes an ideal perch for parents to keep an eye on youngsters.
Naturally created vapor caves like the ones in Glenwood Springs are an extremely rare phenomenon. Hot mineral water flows through channels in the cave floors at 125°F/52°C, the vapors are trapped in the caverns creating natural geothermal steam baths. The caves consist of three adjoining underground rock chambers with temperatures that average 111°F/43°C. The “rooms” are dimly lit and fitted with marble benches; an atmosphere that beckons visitors to relax and de-stress. Many people believe the mineral-rich steam has potent cleansing and detoxifying qualities.
Ouray & Ridgeway
Visitors here have many options for soaking – in family-friendly pools, at historic hotel settings, in outdoor wooden tubs or even at clothing optional venues.
- Ouray Hot Springs Pool & Fitness Center
- Historic Wiesbaden Hot Springs Spa & Lodgings
- Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs
- Twin Peaks Lodge & Hot Springs
- Orvis Hot Springs
According to Guinness World Records, the Great Pagosa Hot Springs is officially the World’s Deepest Geothermal Hot Spring. This mother spring not only supplies the resorts but is also a heating source for downtown sidewalks and several businesses, including a brewery.
- The Springs Resort & Spa
- Overlook Hot Springs Spa
- Healing Waters Resort & Spa
Chaffee County: Buena Vista, Nathrop & Salida
This region of Colorado is located along the Continental Divide of the Rocky Mountains. The water in the natural hot springs bubbles out of the ground at approximately 140°F/60°C.
- Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort
- Cottonwood Hot Springs Inn & Spa
- Salida Hot Springs Aquatic Center
- Alpine Hotsprings Hideaway, Antero Hot Springs Cabins or Creekside Hot Springs Cabin
Best known as a skiing destination, Steamboat Springs is home to two hot springs; one, a multi-use complex with waterslides; the other rustic and au naturel after dark!
- Old Town Hot Springs
- Strawberry Park Hot Springs
One Is Never Enough
Visiting Colorado’s hot springs is like a treasure hunt; begin in Glenwood Springs and explore them all! Each has a unique character. Two are in the record books. Usually, a swimsuit is required, but not always. A few are fun-filled, others calm and serene. Some cater to kids, others attract individuals or couples. All focus on happiness and well being.