Known for its dramatic landscape and diverse topography that ranges from towering red rock formations to sprawling fields of prairie grasslands, Colorado is near the top of every adrenaline seeker and outdoor enthusiast’s bucket list.
But, what many visitors to the Centennial State don’t know is that much of Colorado’s breathtaking topography was initially formed by volcanic activity in the area. The remaining rocks from ancient eruptions, along with current geothermal activities that occur under the mountainous terrain today, serve as natural heating sources for several fantastic hot springs.
Whether seeking a tranquil retreat in the mountains or a soothing soak after a rigorous day of intrepid adventures along one of Colorado’s many hiking trails, this is everything you need to know about the unique hot springs in Colorado.
Colorado Hot Spring Regions
Colorado’s hot springs are found within the mountainous terrains of the state’s western portion and only occur as far east as Colorado Springs. Still, several fantastic springs are scattered throughout this confined area of the state and are focused in three specific regions, each offering unique experiences.
Luckily, the region also boasts some of the state’s best primitive pools and hot springs resorts that serve as calming oases along several arduous hikes.
- Sand Dunes Pool (Resort)
- The Springs Resort (Resort)
- Durango Hot Springs (Resort)
- Dunton Hot Springs (Resort)
- Orvis Hot Springs (Resort)
- Pinkerton Hot Springs (Primitive)
- Rainbow Hot Springs (Primitive)
- Piedra River Hot Springs (Primitive)
- Splashland Hot Springs (Community)
- Ouray Hot Springs (Community)
Central Colorado boasts the greatest concentration of the state’s abundant hot spring options. Operating from around Colorado Springs and Buena Vista, these hot springs include several luxurious resorts and even the state’s only offering of private spring rentals.
- Joyful Journey Hot Springs (Resort)
- Princeton Hot Springs (Resort)
- Deer Valley Ranch Springs (Resort)
- Cottonwood Hot Springs (Resort)
- Valley View Hot Springs (Community)
- Salida Hot Springs (Community)
- Desert Reef Hot Springs (Community)
- Dakota Hot Springs (Community)
- Antero Hot Springs (Private)
- Treehouse Hot Springs (Private)
- Aqua Hot Spring (Private)
- Merrifield Homestead Cabins & Hot Springs (Private)
Spanning the mountainous landscape east of Boulder, northwestern Colorado’s hot spring offerings include several primitive pools and community springs for a traditional thermal bath experience. Many of the pools in this region feature breathtaking views of Rocky Mountain National Park and the surrounding mountains.
- Avalanche Ranch (Resort)
- Glenwood Hot Springs (Resort)
- Indian Hot Springs (Resort)
- Hot Sulphur Springs Resort (Resort)
- Conundrum Hot Springs (Primitive)
- Penny Hot Springs (Primitive)
- South Canyon Hot Springs (Primitive)
- Radium Hot Springs (Primitive)
- Yampah Vapor Caves (Community)
- Iron Mountain Hot Springs (Community)
- Eldorado Springs Pool (Community)
- Old Town Hot Springs (Community)
- Juniper Hot Springs (Community)
- Strawberry Park Hot Springs (Community)
The Most Popular Hot Springs in Colorado
Conundrum Hot Springs
Located deep in the Rockies near Aspen, the Conundrum Hot Springs are one of the most beautiful primitive pools in the state and offer breathtaking views of the majestic landscape.
While a 9-mile hike is required to access this great site, the pool’s remote isolation only enhances its quiet tranquility.
At 11,200 feet, the springs are some of the highest in North America and serve as a rewarding respite in which to soothe aching muscles. The Conundrum Hot Springs houses several individual pools and features temperatures averaging 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Despite its remote isolation, Conundrum Hot Springs can experience light crowding during its peak summer season, and overnight permits are required for those planning on camping at the nearby Silver Dollar Pond.
Iron Mountain Hot Spring
Nestled along the shores of the Colorado River as it cuts its way through Glenwood Springs, the Iron Mountain Hot Spring is a beautiful community thermal pool that features plenty of onsite amenities and comforts for best enjoying the healing properties of the natural waters.
Opened in 2015, Iron Mountain Hot Spring is one of Colorado’s newest hot springs facilities. It features 16 spring tubs with temperatures ranging between 99- and 108 degrees Fahrenheit, all naturally heated by geothermal activity and showcasing breathtaking views of the region’s natural scenery.
Along with its various pools, the Iron Mountain Hot Spring also features an onsite café and gift shop, which sell all sorts of beverages, snacks, and souvenirs for best enjoying the complex. The Iron Mountain Hot Spring offers admission tickets for 3-hour or full-day access.
Mount Princeton Hot Springs
One of Colorado’s most acclaimed hot spring resorts, the Mount Princeton Hot Springs sits at the foot of the eponymous mountain and places visitors near plenty of fantastic hiking trails just south of Buena Vista.
Known for its natural beauty and the promise of outdoor adventures, the Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort is the perfect accommodation for exploring the breadth of the nearby attractions while offering easy access to its thermal pools.
First opened in 1897, the resort has enticed visitors for over 120 years and features several large pools heated by natural geothermal processes. The site also features nearby primitive pools for those visitors seeking a more rustic immersion into the healing waters.
Water temperatures at the resort average about 105 degrees Fahrenheit, while the facility’s exercise pool is maintained at a cooler 90 degrees. All of the resort’s pools offer ambient tranquility and awe-inspiring views of Mount Princeton.
Additional onsite amenities include luxurious accommodation options, an extensive full-service spa, a fine dining restaurant, and even a country store.
Types of Hot Springs in Colorado
Colorado is home to 93 known thermal areas. However, only about three dozen of these fantastic sites are accessible to the public, each offering a unique soaking experience. Generally, these thermal pools can be classified as one of four different varieties.
Primitive Hot Springs
Primitive Hot Springs are the best-preserved examples of a thermal pool in their natural state. Unregulated by any formal body, these sites are often tucked away in Colorado’s wilderness areas and offer complete isolation from human interference.
Typically requiring a moderate to a strenuous hike to access, primitive pools are the most rewarding hot spring variety and offer serene settings for enjoying the healing properties of the mineral waters as they soothe well-worn muscles.
Additionally, as an unmaintained spring, the primitive pools are also entirely free to access, making them a cost-effective way to explore Colorado’s thermal sites. However, visitors should practice caution before entering a primitive pool to ensure water conditions are safe for swimming.
Hot Spring Resorts
Colorado Hot Spring resorts are the best option for visitors seeking to enjoy the complete luxury and relaxation of the state’s thermal pool’s healing properties. These full-service sites typically include well-maintained pools, luxurious accommodation options, onsite spa services, and excursion activities.
As the most convenient method of immersing in Colorado’s thermal pools, hot spring resorts are also the most popular pools in the state. As a result, these luxurious facilities experience more crowding than primitive pools. Nevertheless, this busier nature is usually made up for by the bliss provided by the additional comforts.
Hot Spring resorts are the perfect option for visitors who want to take advantage of Colorado’s fabulous hot springs without braving the foreboding landscape to reach the primitive pools.
Community Hot Springs
Community hot springs are a fantastic alternative soaking option that combines the authentic nature of primitive pools with some of the base comforts of a hot spring resort.
Most often found in smaller towns of Colorado’s thermal regions, community hot springs are locally owned and managed facilities that provide basic amenities, including changing rooms, bathrooms, and maintained pools. Additional onsite services can also be offered at community pools, but most often do not feature accommodation options like a hot spring resort.
These community springs are ideal for visitors seeking a safe simplistic soak showcasing the quaint charms of Colorado’s small mountain towns.
Private Hot Springs
While not as common as the other types of hot springs, a few of Colorado’s thermal pools are privately owned and are available for visitors to rent. In addition, an accommodation rental, such as a cabin or a lodge, often accompanies these intimate soaking experiences.
These unique sites are fantastic for couples or small groups and offer a heightened sense of seclusion that elevates the tranquil ambiance of Colorado’s mountain springs. Privately owned hot springs are typically accompanied by a high cost but come with the added convenience of onsite accommodation and unlimited access to the pools.