Since everyone has loved my hot springs trips on instagram soo soo much... I decided to create a little guide for you guys! This way if you're looking to take a trip to CO or just a weekend adventure, you have some sweet ideas.
I'm going to share with you all of the hot springs I've been to so far, what I thought about them, how much they cost and where they are! I've learned a few things by visiting these locations that I wish I knew before so I figured I would pass on the knowledge :)
For starters, here is a small list of things that are useful to have to avoid extra charges!
- Bring a Towel, or two (these aren't free to rent)
- Either a lock or a reusable shopping bag to place your things in so they don't get wet
- Flip Flops
- Bathing Suit
- Lotion (for afterwards)
- Waterproof Case (for your phone)
- Change of clothes
- Beanie (if visiting in winter)
- Feminine Wipes (ladies, read for important health info at the end that I learned the hard way on...)
If you don't have these items, don't worry they're not 100% necessary, but definitely make for a more enjoyable experience! Next, I'll rank the hot springs from my favorite to least favorite and highlight the best thing that each has to offer.
Avalanche Ranch Hot Springs - Carbondale, CO
Reservation: Yes (call ahead)
Mon-Thurs: $16/Adult $12/Child(3-14 yrs) Fri-Sun: $20/Adult $15/Child(3-14 yrs) $2 towel rental/$2 suit rental
This was BY FAR the best hot springs out of all of them! The ranch is absolutely stunning, full of little cabins and train cabooses you can stay in. It also smells like campfire, which is my favorite, and has a charming vibe. The hot springs only allows like 14 people per time slot, two per day, so they never get crowed like the other ones.
The hot springs has 3/4 pools, built with a waterfall and STUNNING views of the mountains. Literally felt like a dream. The changing rooms and restrooms have cubbies for your stuff, no locking ability, and a hair dryer on the wall! They're very clean and each pool has a separate temperature.
Make sure you call ahead on this one because it does sell out fast. I got lucky and visited on a Monday when no one was there so they let me in without a reservation. If you're looking for a weekend getaway in the mountains this is an amazing place to stay at! (Disclosure: I've never seen the rooms though)
Iron Mountain Hot Springs - Glenwood Springs, CO
Rates: (non-peak pricing Sept 3 to May 21, 2020) Weekdays Adults $20 / Children $14 Weekends Adults $25 / Children $17
Towel Rental $2/Lockers are FREE
Drinks /Food: Yes (no-outside allowed except water)
This would be my favorite if Avalanche didn't just have a stunning atmosphere and views. It has 16 different pools with all different minerals for each! Each pool has a nice sign and description of what the mineral provides for the body along with the temperature.
They play a calming flute music and people aren't noisy there. They have a separate large pool for kids to splash around in. The hot springs is located right on the river with the snowy mountains in the background. Glenwood is known for their hot springs, but in my opinion this is the only one worth visiting!
With admission, you can come and go all day if you want, which others don't allow. The bathrooms are super clean and the showers are very nice (with body wash, shampoo and conditioner). I'm pretty easily grossed out by public showers and I always feel comfortable in this one.
They have plenty of food and drink options available, obviously not the cheapest. At the night they turn on tons of lights and each pool glows giving the springs an amazing atmosphere. The only downside to this place is that it is located right next to the highway so you can hear cars passing by and it can get really crowded.
Closest to Nature
Strawberry Park Hot Springs - Steamboat Springs, CO
Rates: CASH/CHECK ONLY
Adults (18+) - $15 Youth (3-17) - $8 (Daylight hours only - no youth under 18 allowed after dark) Children under 3 yrs - free
This guy is quite the gem! It's privately owned by a family and has a minimal infrastructure. It's located basically on backroads near Steamboat Ski Resort in the woods. Since it's nestled in the woods, on a creek and in the mountains, that's why I gave this one the best close to nature rating!
They have a handful of pools and accommodations including a teepee! Definitely do not forget to bring cash to this one because there is NO ATM and they do not accept credit cards. I saw many people get turned away at the door because they weren't prepared. Another secret, it might seem as there aren't any bathrooms, but when you first enter after paying if you walk down there is a gorgeous building and it's super clean. Most people don't even know it's there.
You definitely NEED a 4x4 vehicle in the winter due to steep dirt roads. It would be dangerous to travel back there after a storm. The property is also very muddy so bring good winter boots with you! Once you walk down to the pools there is a cute little cabin with a wood stove in it to change in, curtain style with no lockers.
After like 10pm... the springs become a nude resort LOL Apparently they turn off the lights and the clothes come off so just take note of what time you visit.
World's Deepest Geothermal Springs
The Springs Resort & Spa - Pagosa Springs, CO
Adults $30 (re-entry $14)
Children $14 (re-entry $7)
Locker $2/Towel Rental $4/ Robe $12
Alight guys, I will be completely honest with you guys... I wouldn't recommend traveling to this location for a few reasons.
1) Extremely overpriced, notice they charge you for a locker AND re-entry. You can tell this place is here for the money. They have a cocktail dude walking around asking you every 10 minutes of you need a drink.
2) DIRTY... let me clarify. Each "busy" pool (aka the hottest ones) had so much dead skin floating around that you could skim it out with your hand *gag. The bathrooms weren't the cleanest, I wouldn't call them dirty just over-populated... TMI, but I got a UTI after coming here.
3) Not an enjoyable experience overall. It's super packed and they put salt on the pathways so it doesn't freeze making it extremely painful to walk on, super mood killer. It also has a super intense sulfur smell that's overkill and unpleasant paired with the dead skin.
So why am I putting it on here? Well I visited it and wanted to share my personal experience. I know a lot of people who rave about this place so might be just me. The pictures online look breathtaking and it's a cool place, but not nearly what you think. I walked away $47 down after purchasing entry, a towel, a locker and a margarita. Margarita seemed to be virgin to me.
*Now, onto the BIG disclosure here mostly pertaining to women... I'm going to share more info about what I talked about above. I have had three UTI's in the past month from visiting all these locations in that time period. At first I had no idea what was causing it, but then I put two and two together to figure this out. 24 hours after each visit I contracted a UTI, and pretty bad ones too. I think it has something to do with the sulfur and natural bacteria that lives in these springs. Pair that with some human filth and only weekly cleanings and you have yourself an infection. Women are more prone to them due to the length of their urethra. I wouldn't not go because of this, but I would definitely take a shower immediately after (making sure to clean downstairs) or buy some feminine wipes and make sure to pee after getting out of the pools. Drinking water throughout as well to prevent dehydration!*
I hope you guys enjoyed this guide and if you have any favorites that aren't listed here, please feel free to drop them below!
If you liked this guide, you can also check out my 4 Beginner Hikes in Colorado blog!