Pretty much everyone knows that Colorado is a major mecca for outdoor enthusiasts, a veritable paradise of fish choked rivers, snow capped mountains, river canyons and open range. But what really seals the deal is a very long list of steamy hot springs that offer the perfect finish to a Colorado vacation spent skiing, hiking, rafting, camping, biking, climbing, fishing or riding. In fact, this, the Centennial State, can boast a very long list of hot springs from which to choose, ranging from a tepid 68 degrees to a steamy, cook your socks off 190 degrees. While you’ll obviously want to give those blistering springs a nix, there are plenty of places to enjoy a good, muscle relaxing soak, some of them conveniently associated with all-in destinations, so put relaxation at the top of your to-do list already.
Some of the best spots to beat winter blues package up naturally heated spring water and serve it pool-sized. Examples? You can soak your cares away, year-round at hot spots like Glenwood Hot Springs in northwest Colorado, Waunita Hot Springs Ranch, in Gunnison or Dunton Hot Springs near Telluride, where steaming swimming pools deliver the perfect finish to days on the slopes. Close to Denver there are options like Indian Hot Springs, or you can rough it, relatively speaking, at a spot like Sand Dunes Pool & RV park, a stone’s throw from Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.
Prefer something more secluded and more “swim attire optional”? Enjoy a comparatively primitive soak somewhere like Piedra River Hot Springs in southern Colorado, or Conundrum Hot Springs near Aspen. It’s a nine-mile hike each way to reach Conundrum, but as part of an overnight camping trip (hiking clothes recommended, bathing suits as desired) this one might well be the most rewarding.
But whether you go for the rugged and remote or refined and road accessible this much is clear: there are few things that can beat a steamy soak in a hot spring-fed pool on a brisk winter’s day. How’s that for heating things up on your Colorado vacation?