Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Wheat Ridge, CO, USA
Feeling a little chill tonight? Try hot springs
Just thinking about these destinations will warm you, and they work great in summer as well as winter.
Turn up the heat
Colorado destinations can help kill the chill
from The Denver Post
We might have missed the bone-chilling freeze this year, but baby, the climate records confirm that it is, in fact, cold outside. Last month, the daily temps averaged 32.2 in Grand Junction, 38 in Denver and 36 in Pueblo and Colorado Springs, about 7 degrees warmer than usual but still frigid enough to chill our mood. We have a few ideas, though, about how to turn up the heat on this ho-hum winter.
Thanks to the geothermal miracle of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado is blessed with hundreds of hot springs that bubble up through earth creating warm oases even in the deepest winter chill.
Some top the thermometer at practically boiling, others spill forth barely warm. But unless you're an experienced hot-water hunter, with the gear to test water temperatures, it's best to soak only in developed springs. Everyone knows the drill about Glenwood Springs, Strawberry near Steamboat and Indian Springs in Idaho Springs, so why not explore some of the lesser-known pools, like those that run along the west side of the Continental Divide from Alamosa north to Buena Vista?
Valley View Hot Springs, Salida | olt.org; 719-256-4315
Folks have been soaking in Valley View since at least 1904. Two years ago, the 2,000-acre ranch surrounding the springs was placed in a land conservation trust, and the members-only on weekends soaking policy was dropped.
Anyone can visit the clothing-optional springs and soak in natural pools where the water simmers at around 95 degrees in winter.
"There are a lot of hot springs around, but the natural beauty of this spring is what makes it so exceptional," says Sharon Ray, a long-time member of the spring who works the front desk. "It's all very rustic yet. It hasn't been too updated."
You can spend a few days soaking in the scenery, if you don't mind sharing a communal bath house with other guests. (There are cabin and camping accommodations on the property.)
Guests also might be sitting right out in the nude, and perhaps, if it's not winter, walking around without clothes. "If people are bothered by that, they might want to try Joyful Journey, which is very near us," Ray says.
Joyful Journey, joyfuljourneyhotsprings.com; 719-256-4328
Joyful Journey is a more highly developed complex, with deep tiled pools that this week were running between 100 and 108 degrees. "So it is definitely a good way to warm up," says assistant manager Nathan Redmond. "Also, there are two main minerals in the water: lithium and boron. So you soak in some of the lithium, and it's very relaxing, and the boron is supposed to be good for joints and muscles."
Hot water enters at about 160 degrees and is cooled in the pools to a safe temperature. No chemicals are mixed into the water, so the pools are drained nightly for cleaning.
Overnight guests stay in yurts and share a communal bathhouse. You also can schedule skin and massage treatments at Joyful Journey. "It's very relaxing here," Redmond says. "Everything just melts away in the pools."
Other places you might like to take a dip:
Cottonwood Hot Springs, Buena Vista | Cottonwood-hot-springs.com; 719-395-6434
Pools where the temperature ranges from 98 to 105 degrees. Waters are considered
healing because of their high mineral content. Kids welcome during the day but aren't allowed in the pool area after dark.
Splashland Hot Springs, Alamosa | 719-589-6307
Community-owned outdoor geothermal pool, open Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Desert Reef Beach Club, near Florence | desertreefhotspring.com; 719-784-6134
Family-oriented, clothing optional. Shallow pool. Swimsuits required on Tuesdays.
Mineral Hot Springs, Salida | Salidapool.com; 719-539-6738
Municipal indoor pool at about 88 degrees, plus six European-style hot soaking baths. Open year-round.
Sand Dunes Pool, Hooper | Sanddunespool.com; 719-378-2807
Huge, naturally warm artesian pool with the Great Sand Dunes and the Sangre de Cristos as a backdrop. Filled by a hot-water gusher discovered during oil exploration. Open year-round.
The Well, Penrose | users.uswest.net/~nudist/thewell.htm; 719-372-9250
Clothing-optional hot spring discovered in 1924, when Conoco precursor Continental Oil Co. explorers drilled for oil and hit a gusher of hot water instead.
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