With summer now officially behind us, there’s no need to just sit pretty until the slopes open up! Here are three awesome Colorado hot spring escapes to soak up the cooling weather, stroll through the changing leaves, and take advantage of shoulder-season pricing.
Only 2.5 hours from Denver and directly connected by train, this walkable hot spring town makes for a fantastic weekend getaway. Home to two hot springs — Glenwood Hot Springs Resort and Iron Mountain Hot Spring — you can truly spend a day in geothermic bliss.
Glenwood Hot Springs Resort makes for a fantastic afternoon of family fun, with the world’s largest mineral hot spring pool, kid’s pools, interactive fountain, and adventure water slide (don’t worry, they also have a full-service spa). Iron Mountain Hot Springs is a little quieter by design — with sixteen smaller pools at varying temperatures, all with views overlooking the Rocky Mountains and the adjacent Colorado River.
No matter which hot spring you choose (and why not both), The Yampah Spa Vapor Caves make for a contemplative end to a day of relaxation. These naturally occurring underground steam baths are less than a 5-minute walk from the Glenwood Hot Springs Resort and about a mile from Iron Mountain.
And if you’ve soaked enough, tense yourself up all over again at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park (America’s only mountain-top theme park), hike the famously beautiful Hanging Lake trail before you need spiked shoes to see the Natural National Landmark, or rent a bike to enjoy the Glenwood Canyon Recreation Trail.
For a more arts-oriented escape, try the mountain town of Salida — located three hours from Denver.
For folks who prefer swimming to soaking, Salida Hot Springs Aquatic Center is the largest indoor hot spring in North America and is also just a great public pool. For more variety, Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort (a 25-minute drive from Salida) offers soaking pools, waterslides, an exercise pool, and even creekside springs — where the hot water bubbles up from the river.
Salida’s other year-round attraction is it’s famous Certified Creative District in the heart of historic downtown. You can wander into dozens of independent- and artist-owned galleries and studios, as well as locally-owned retail stores, restaurants, bars, and microbreweries.
And to live up to Salida’s reputation as Outdoor Magazine’s Best Unsung Mountain Town, choose any of the dozen or so trails originating from the Arkansas Hills Trail System that are easily accessible from downtown. Those who prefer to appreciate nature from a comfortable distance should head 20 minutes west to the Monarch Crest Scenic Tramway, where they can overlook this gorgeous region from 11,312 feet.
A bit more remote, Ouray is a 6-hour drive from Denver. Ouray’s sulphur-free hot springs is just one beloved aspect of this fascinating historical town, nicknamed the “Switzerland of the Americas” for its alpine setting.
Operated by the city of Ouray, Ouray Hot Springs blends adventure with relaxation with waterslides, an obstacle course, pool-bound climbing wall, exercise pools, and a few quiet soaking springs for adults only. Only half a mile from Ouray Hot Springs is the Wiesbaden Hot Springs Spa & Lodgings, a more intimate hot spring with an outdoor pool, vapor cave, and a privately reservable hot spring fed by its own waterfall (called the Lorelei). And in case that wasn’t enough hot springs for you, the Twin Peaks Lodge and Hot Springs offers 24/7 access to its three pools.
While Ouray is surrounded by the gorgeous mountains and has lots of outdoorsy stuff to do — check out Box Cañon Falls for some easier hikes with stunning views — what really sets Ouray apart is its uniquely preserved history. Take a mule carriage tour of the historic town, check out the preserved former working mine of Bachelor Syracuse Mine, or book a private tour of the painstakingly detailed Ouray Alchemist (a gorgeous interior recreation of a frontier pharmacy).
Click here to learn more about the top things to do in some of our travelers’ other most-visited places.
This article was written by Dagny Wise, Account Executive at Hotel Engine.