What I like Wednesday: Colorado’s Many Hot Springs

Want to soak in some hot water while your eyes wander around a gorgeous view of the mountains? Colorado is lucky enough to have a variety of hot springs accessible to the general public. I’ve only been to two during my time here but the fact that we even have two options (let alone the 29 that Colorado.com lists) makes me love this state even more. I’ve been to Hot Sulphur Springs near Granby and Avalanche Ranch Hot Springs in Redstone and I would recommend them both. Hot Sulphur Springs definitely smells like sulphur so go prepared (I imagine many of the hot springs smell that way, it’s part of being around a natural hot springs). They had a lot of different pools to try out in a variety of sizes and a variety of temperatures. I liked that each pool had a sign with the temperature of the water so your brain and body thought they knew what they were getting into, even if they really didn’t. It was fun to experiment with which how much heat you could handle for how long.

Now, the Avalanche Ranch Hot Springs may only have three pools, but it’s all they need. And this place didn’t smell like sulphur at all. The pool farthest up the hill was my favorite – it was warm, but not overly warm, and it backed up against this beautiful grassy area that led into a pasture. It was the smallest of the pools so there weren’t many people in it (we had it to ourselves a good portion of the time) and it had this really nice rock filled floor. The hottest pool also had a rock floor but that pool was too hot for me and I ended up sitting on the edge out of the water for most of the time (it was 104 degrees if that means anything to anyone). It should be mentioned that there was also a giant wooden barrel filled with warm water inside of an old barn that you could sit inside of as well. I thought that barrel had the perfect temperature just like the other pool, but because it was enclosed in the barn, we didn’t stay too long since all we saw was wood paneling. The enclosure provided privacy, though, and that was a plus. I would say only one party at a time would likely be able to fit (four to five people max, if that) so we enjoyed having the space to ourselves.

Hot springs allow one to be slightly closer to nature while relaxing one’s muscles and mind. You also get a great view usually. How could it be better? My visit to the hot springs this past weekend allowed me scheduled relaxation time, which is necessary every once in a while. It’s not too expensive considering what everything else costs around here – to visit Avalanche Ranch I paid $25 for 4 hours of access. If I had chosen to stay in one of their cabins (which does cost more money), I would have 24/7 access to the hot springs, which is a pleasant idea but not something I would need personally.

Avalanche Hot Springs had a cold soaking tub for those who wanted to do a bit of the sauna life too. It was useful for me when the hottest pool became too much, I just got up and put my legs in the freezing cold water to calm the heat in my body. The place also allowed you to eat and drink by the pools which I thought was a nice perk.

I feel like going to a hot springs may be pretty normal for a good portion of Denverites but for me it’s still a bit unusual and clearly not something I do often so I wanted to highlight it. It’s a nice treat and a nice addition to anyone’s mountain vacation.

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