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Colorful hot air balloons floating over Pagosa Springs, Colorado

Colorado

Colorado Historic Hot Springs Loop: Five Springs Destinations, Infinite Explorations

By: Amy Nance

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  • States:
    Colorado

Find a wellspring of waters and adventures on the Colorado Historic Hot Springs Loop.

Each hot spring and mountain town has its own unique character, showcasing Western Colorado’s varied landscape and all the many ways you can experience one of its most abundant natural wonders.

Take the Plunge: Resorts and Spas

Start off at the northern tip of the loop in Steamboat Springs, a popular ski destination featuring geothermal springs. You can test the waters right in the heart of the city at Old Town Hot Springs or at Strawberry Park Hot Springs, a rustic resort complete with heated tipis and cabins. At Glenwood Springs, head to Yampah Spa and Vapor Caves for an underground mineral water steam bath. Check out Glenwood Hot Springs to enjoy the world’s largest mineral hot springs pool. Or take your pick of 16 different pools with varying temperatures at Iron Mountain Hot Springs.

South in the town of Ouray, no less than five resorts cater to travelers, including famed Historic Wiesbaden Hot Springs Spa and Lodgings and family-friendly Ouray Hot Springs Pool and Fitness Center.

Head further south to Pagosa Springs to relax in the soothing waters at The Springs Resort and Spa, Healing Waters Resort and Spa or to Overlook Hot Springs Spa. Discover a small town with a big reputation for wellness (“Pag Osah” means “healing waters” in the native Ute language). Around the loop in Chaffee County, the region offers an abundance of relaxing stops including Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort, Cottonwood Hot Springs, and Salida Hot Springs Aquatic Center for those who never want to stray too far from the pool.

Soaking in a pool at Iron Mountain Hot Springs in Glenwood Springs

Soaking in a pool at Iron Mountain Hot Springs in Glenwood Springs
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Dive Right In: Waterfalls, Monuments and More

Tour the hot springs loop and find yourself encountering more than just water; the stunning Colorado wilderness offers endless opportunities for exploration. Try skiing or snowboarding the fresh powder at Monarch Mountain in Chaffee County. Or take on the slopes at Steamboat Resort in Steamboat Springs and nearby Howelsen Hill – the oldest continuously-operating ski area in Colorado. Take a walk through Yampa River Botanic Park also in the area, or marvel at Box Canyon Waterfall in Ouray, where you’ll find exceptional birding. Hike through Chimney Rock National Monument near Pagosa, or drive through majestic Glenwood Canyon. Craving adventure? Zipline over the Colorado River in Glenwood Springs, or go whitewater rafting at Browns Canyon National Monument.

Whitewater rafting at Browns Canyon National Monument in Chaffee County

Whitewater rafting at Browns Canyon National Monument in Chaffee County
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Soak it Up: Byways and Museums

There’s much to see on the hot springs loop, both indoors and out. Visit the Tread of Pioneers Museum in Steamboat Springs and the Pagosa Springs History Museum to see local, historical artifacts and Western and Native American exhibits. Stop in to Glenwood Springs Historical Society and Frontier Museum to view multiple collections and to join a historic walk. Navigate the West Elk Loop Scenic and Historic Byway to visit three mining towns and to see mountains and forests. Ouray’s Red Mountain Pass is a gorgeous spot in the San Juan Mountains, while Collegiate Peaks Scenic Byway in Chaffee County highlights the Arkansas River, magnificent peaks and the state gemstone, the Colorado Aquamarine.

Wildflowers carpet the mountain landscape along a scenic byway in Ouray, Colorado

Wildflowers carpet the mountain landscape along a scenic byway in Ouray, Colorado
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Getting There

The Colorado Historic Hot Springs Loop passes through five hot springs destinations in Western Colorado. From international destinations, fly into Denver International Airport (DEN) and head west to meet up with the loop at the town of Silverthorne.

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The Broadmoor Pikes Peak Cog Railway travels to Pikes Peak’s summit

Destination

Colorado Springs

Denver Union Station at dusk

Destination

Denver

The historic Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad train hugs a mountain

Destination

Durango

Winding road through the Colorado National Monument landscape

Destination

Grand Junction

View out from Balcony House, a 13th century cliff dwelling at Mesa Verde National Park

Destination

Cortez

Hiking along the Blue Lakes Trail in the Mount Sneffels Wilderness area

Destination

Telluride

Fly-fishing on the East River

Destination

Gunnison Valley