Colorado boasts 93 known hot springs where visitors can immerse in the state’s soothing mineral waters. And while each of these thermal pool destinations boasts diverse experiences and activities within their surrounding areas, none are as unique as the Dunton Hot Springs found within the San Juan Mountains of the Colorado Rockies.
Not only is the Dunton Hot Springs one of the most eccentric thermal pools in the state, but it also provides an experience found in very few places on earth. After all, how many hot springs can claim to be serviced by an all-inclusive resort operating out of a historic ghost town dating back over a century?
While once a rural settlement tucked away in southern Colorado’s mountainous terrains, the Dunton Hot Springs has restored the historic town and now offers a variety of rustic cabins with modern amenities for visitors to enjoy while embracing the natural beauty of the region and the site’s world-famous thermal pools.
From the historical origins of the town to the myriad of facilities and activities offered within the resort, this is everything you need to know before visiting Dunton Hot Springs, Colorado.
History of Dunton Hot Springs
Once a historic mining community, the Dunton Hot Springs was established by Horatio Dunton in 1885. While the mineral-rich geology made the region an enticing area for establishing a mining industry, the actual attraction to the quiet corner in Dolores County was the site’s mineral hot springs which served as a soothing respite after a rigorous day of excavation.
Dunton’s homestead quickly grew, attracting gold miners and trappers, and the town of Dunton was officially founded in 1895. A decade later, the town’s population reached its peak of between 260 and 300 full-time residents.
During this time, the town founders, Joe and Dominica Roscio, converted one of the communities old saloons into a bathhouse servicing the hot springs. While local miners primarily frequented the thermal pools, the hot springs are rumored to have attracted several notable figures, including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, following their Telluride bank robbery.
Like many mining towns in Colorado during the early 20th century, the Dunton community was deserted by 1918. At this point, the Roscio’s bought the remainder of the town’s land and converted it into a cattle ranch spanning up to 500 acres.
Current ownership bought the Dunton Hot Springs in 1994 and restored many buildings while adding modern amenities to convert the entire community into a luxury hot spring resort. As a result, dozens of visitors flock to Dunton each year to explore the town’s pristine natural landscapes while soaking in the same mineral waters enjoyed by the region’s early mining residents.
Dunton Hot Springs Facilities
Operating out of a restored 19th-century mining community, the Dunton resort complex is a destination within itself. However, within its property, the resort features several all-inclusive facilities for guests to enjoy.
The most significant draw to the Dunton Hot Springs resort is the eponymous thermal pools that first attracted the early mining residents to the region. There are five different mineral pools for visitors to enjoy, ranging from 85 degrees Fahrenheit to 106 degrees.
While one of these thermal pools is reserved exclusively for guests staying within the Well House Cabin, the four other pools are available to all resort patrons. These public swimming holes include the 19th-century bathhouse and two outdoor pools near the bathhouse and behind the Dunton Store cabin.
Additionally, visitors are invited to enjoy the soothing mineral waters while admiring the breathtaking natural scenery and abundant stars in the night sky by soaking in the natural hot spring source located within its idyllic corner of the property.
The resort’s natural spring waters feature high mineral concentrations of calcium bicarbonate, iron, manganese, and lithium. As such, the waters boast therapeutic properties renowned for improving circulation and healthy skin benefits.
Hot Spring Spa
Visitors to the Dunton Hot Springs can enhance their wellness retreat by engaging in one of the many holistic treatments offered within the resort’s onsite spa. Featuring products curated from the region’s alpine climate and the natural mineral waters, the spa features a diverse catalog of treatments that promote the well-being of both body and mind.
The Hot Spring spa features several treatment options and packages, including eight different varieties of massages, body polishing, facials, and waxing. Also offered within the resort’s wellness center is a series of group and private classes, including yoga lessons and mindfulness workshops.
Every meal at the Dunton Hot Spring Resort is prepared by a classically trained team of expert chefs that engage only fresh, locally sourced ingredients for a diverse and varying selection of delicious dishes.
All meals are prepared within a large kitchen in the central saloon building, which allows plenty of space for visitors to watch the cooking process or even lend a hand if they wish.
Keeping with the traditional cowboy practices, meals at the resort are served family-style at a long dining table within the rustic saloon. While visitors are also invited to dine privately, the saloon offers a fantastic traditional setting to interact with fellow visitors.
As an all-inclusive facility, all Dunton Hot Springs Resort meals are already included in your nightly rate.
The best way to enjoy the soothing properties of the resort’s hot springs is by first engaging your exploration muscles along one of the many outdoor activities offered by the complex.
While adventures vary between the seasons, the resort always offers a wide selection of fantastic excursions for exploring the region’s idyllic mountainous landscapes.
In the summer, visitors can venture into the surrounding wildernesses along several hiking and horseback riding trails through the mountains or even along a rafting adventure on the Upper and Lower San Miguel River.
Meanwhile, visitors traveling to the resort in the winter have a selection of ways to explore the snow-covered grounds of the region, including cross-country skiing trails and a 7-mile dog sledding tour through the dense alpine forest.
Accommodations Options at Dunton Hot Springs, Colorado
The Dunton Hot Springs Resort features 13 cabins, each operating out of a restored building from Dunton’s historic mining community. While each embraces its traditionally rustic designs, the cabins are fully modernized and boast a wide selection of amenities and services for a comfortable stay.
While each cabin offers various accommodation experiences, the Well House cabin is the most notable and is the only accommodation on the property boasting its own private hot spring pool.
Getting to the Dunton Hot Springs, Colorado
Located in the San Juan Mountains, the only way to access the Dunton Hot Springs is by private vehicle. For guests driving themselves, the resort is only about 32 miles from Telluride and about 227 miles from Aspen.
The Dunton Hot Springs Resort also offers private car transfers from the four nearby airports for visitors arriving from out of state. For an additional fee, the resort team shuttles guests to the resort from any of the airports in Cortez, Telluride, Durango, or Montrose.