Colorado is known for its year-round adrenaline sports—snowboarding, skiing, backpacking, cycling, and climbing—but it’s also home to another gem: Epic hot springs. Whether you’re single, a couple, or a family of 5, a visit to one of Colorado’s premier hot springs is a great way to inspire relaxation. For a well-deserved getaway, check out one of these top notch options, all within a few hours of Denver.
It’s a bit of an adventure to get to this off-the-beaten-path collection of pools, but once you’re there, you’ll feel truly away. The beauty is jaw-dropping. The natural rock pools blend into the forested surroundings, and it’s mesmerizing to watch the steam hovering over the water. Soaking is clothing-optional after dark and just for adults, but during the day it’s a kid free-for-all.
Insider Tip: Strawberry Park uses an old-fashioned reservation system for lodging, which is sort of charming, but means you need to actually mail in your reservation request. It can be challenging to nab on site accommodations, especially on the weekends. However, if you plan several months in advance, it’s awesome to stay in the rustic cabins, which mirror the natural environment.
Since 1888, this hot springs has been one of Colorado’s icons, and for good reason. The atmosphere is hard to beat. The original sandstone bathhouse overlooks the steamy pools, which are a marvel; the “big” one is 405 feet long and contains more than a million gallons of water, and the smaller therapy pool oozes charm and beckons tight muscles. The drive alone to this hot springs from Denver, culminating in the stunning Glenwood Canyon, is one of the most scenic routes in the state. An added bonus is that there’s a diving area and lap lanes for those who want to get a little exercise.
Insider Tip: Although there are many great lodging options in Glenwood Springs, it’s convenient to stay at the Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge, which overlooks the pools and has ambiance to match the occasion. Plus, your stay includes unlimited swimming, which is cost-effective. And if you want to explore the surrounding area, check out the specials, which often include opportunities to tour nearby caves.
The town of Hot Sulphur Springs isn’t exactly booming—you’ll have to visit nearby Winter Park for more action—but the hot springs alone make it worth a visit. The lower pools are family-friendly, and the entire upper section is just for adults. In all, there are a whopping 21 hot springs pools at this resort, perfect for soothing sore muscles. One has a waterfall and azure water. In the summertime, there’s an outdoor swimming pool, complete with a slide and lounge chairs.
Insider Tip: You can stay on site at the Hot Sulphur Springs—they offer basic lodging—but here’s a warning: A train rumbles by within feet of the resort during the day and night, which is very loud and disruptive to sleep. Another option is the Ute Motel, an easy half-mile walk from the resort, which offers clean rooms and a few suites, or you can simply stay in Granby or Winter Park.
Located in the Arkansas River Valley, this resort is visually stunning—idyllic Colorado. It might even take your breath away. The property is beautifully maintained, containing something for everyone, including immaculate hot springs, a spa, and on-site dining, and the pools have different themes, such as exercise, relaxation, and soaking. There’s also a water slide and cascading pools to add a lighthearted touch.
Insider Tip: This hot springs sits in the heart of an outdoor adventure playground, so plan to stay on site and spend a few days taking advantage of the various offerings, from horseback riding to zip-lining to Stand-Up Paddleboarding. This can all be arranged through the resort.
Yes, there’s a second hot springs in Steamboat that makes the list. This one, which is situated in the town center, has loads of appeal several reasons. First, besides offering eight spring-fed pools for soaking, they’ve also got adventure: Two 230-ft. water slides, plus a climbing wall in one of the pools. The facility is convenient to lodging, restaurants, and shopping. Something novel is that they’re a nonprofit organization, supported by facility fees and donations.
Insider Tip: For an overnight stay, check out the Rabbit Ears Motel across the street, which offers simple, clean accommodations and a fun name, and you’re only two minutes away when you want to hit the springs.
Okay, this hot springs isn’t actually in Colorado, but it’s so close, just north of the border, that it’s worth mentioning. They’ve got a large spring-fed swimming pool (floaties allowed), and the warmer, small pools are covered in tipis. There’s also a large grassy area to kick around a ball, and there are two restaurants inside, one with a microbrewery. Plan to stay on site in one of the lodge rooms, and for extra fun, light a fire in the indoor or outdoor fireplace and read books in a rocking chair.
Insider Tip: If you’re into adventure, the region in and around Saratoga is perfect for hiking, biking, and fishing, so pack up your gear in case you get restless and decide to leave the springs and explore.