The dramatically beautiful mountains of Colorado are naturally a prime location for the proliferation of hot springs. Living in Telluride, we are lucky to be surrounded by seemingly endless choices for spots to soak.
Why is it that Colorado has such an abundance of natural and man made hot springs? Thanks to the many wonders of Mother Nature that abound in Colorado, we are spoiled for choice. All those jagged mountain peaks act like a natural percolator – rain and snow falls on the lofty peaks and funnels down into the porous Rocky Mountains. As it travels down through the sediment, it picks up a variety of materials such as radium and sulphur. As the water descends, it heats up from the primal heat of the Earth. The water will eventually encounter a large crack, also known as a thrust fault. The water descends behind the thrust fault, forcing the now heated water to travel upwards along the fault-line to surface as a hot spring.
Soaking in hot springs has many health benefits. The temperature of the water combined with the high mineral content of the water is the reason why hot springs have beneficial health outcomes. Geothermal waters can help your mind and body by releasing toxins, reducing tension, increasing circulation and alleviating pain. Really, a visit to the hot springs is the perfect remedy for just about anything, and will ensure you stay calm and relaxed on vacation.
Native Americans have a long relationship with hot springs, pre dating the arrival of white settlers. “There is evidence that many of the major hot springs in the Americas were visited and used by local native peoples. There are artifacts near some of these hot springs that support a history of human activity that extends back thousands of years. Native Americans revered hot springs as a sacred healing place” (Wikipedia).
If you are visiting Telluride, and you decide you need to take a rest day from skiing, hiking or biking, you can visit any one of the many hot springs in the area. If you are traveling to or from Telluride, you might also choose to combine your road trip with a stop at any one of these warm and wonderful places. Winter or summer, a visit to one of Colorado’s many hot springs should be on your vacation agenda.
Orvis Hot Springs, Ridgway.
This is the spot I visit most with my family. Orvis has seven pools ranging from 98 degrees to the very steamy — and appropriately named — Lobster Pot, which can get up to 114 degrees. There is an indoor kids pool which is relatively shallow and always the perfect temperature for little ones. The main pool is a unique gravel-bottom “pond” is known for breathtaking Mount Sneffels views and massaging waterfalls. You can also book a cabin here for the night, and there are massage tents if you are seeking a little more indulgence. One important note – clothing is optional at Orvis, so don’t be shocked when you see people walking around in their birthday suits!
Dunton Hot Springs, near Telluride
This all-inclusive uber luxurious resort is set in a restored ghost town on the West Dolores River Valley, close to Telluride. Guests looking for a once-in-a-lifetime getaway get to spend the night in their own private log cabin and soak in the mineral-rich hot springs. Guests gather for long-table dinners hosted in a 1800’s saloon. Guests can also visit Colorado’s only geyser which is located nearby.
The Historic Wiesbaden Hot Springs Spa & Lodgings, Ouray
This is truly one of the most unique hot spring experiences you will ever have. The European-style lodge has rooms as well as an Aveda spa treatment room. My absolute favorite part of this experience is the natural vapor cave, which includes a 108-degree soaking pool. This cave was frequented by Native American’s, including Chief Ouray, who would perform sacred rituals here. This is one of my all time favorite’s, but I haven’t been there since I had kids (kids aren’t allowed – so I’m waiting for a kid free moment to treat myself).
Ouray Hot Springs Pool & Fitness Center, Ouray
The Ouray Hot Springs has recently undergone a major remodel (Spring 2017) and is the best spot to take the whole family for a variety of pools which include slides, diving area, a shallow section for young swimmers and a water volleyball area.
Trimble Spa & Natural Hot Springs, Durango
This is a great option if you are driving up to Telluride from Texas, Arizona or New Mexico. Situated just north of Durango off of Highway 550, this is a great spot to stop with the family, soak, relax and snooze under a cottonwood tree. Relax in the sauna, swim laps in the massive naturally heated mineral pool, picnic and sunbathe poolside and soothe the body and soul with massage treatments. There are also lodging options for those who decide to stay a little longer.
The Springs Resort and Spa, Pagosa Springs
This is one of Colorado’s flagship hot springs destinations – this luxury resort offers over twenty soaking pools (including the world’s deepest geothermal spring), a full-service spa and salon and a separate luxury suites hotel (LEED-certified for its environmentally conscious design). Kick back in one of the five adults-only pools, which have sweeping views of the San Juan Mountains.
With a mountain-view outdoor pool and two soaking tubs — one indoors, adults-only and one outdoors — you can choose the perfect atmosphere for your float. With amenities like spectacular breakfast, a tiki bar and easy access to Jeep rentals, this is the perfect Ouray retreat.
Penny Hot Springs, Carbondale
If you happen to be driving to Telluride through Carbondale, this is one of the state’s true gems. You’ll notice this recommendation doesn’t have a web link, and that’s because Penny Hot Springs is literally in the Crystal River along Highway 133, just outside of Redstone, Colorado. Large rocks separate the flow of the river (which can be pretty chilly!) from the warm waters of the hot springs.
Where to stay in Telluride?
Call Lodging In Telluride to book your mountain vacation today! 888-998-6471. We manage a selection of affordable and luxury vacation rental condos and homes. We have something for every budget & taste. We would love to be your Telluride hosts, and ensure you feel at home in Telluride.