Hot spring soaking is something of an institution in Colorado. There’s arguably no better way to unwind after a day of mountain biking, 14er hiking, or legal marijuana smoking.
But some hot springs are better than others. So last summer, I set out to find the state’s best.
My criteria were simple: destinations needed to be accessible, affordable, and amenable to naked bathing. Because if you’re going to warm up the natural way, you might as well go au naturel.
Many spots won my favor (no Colorado hot springs are truly lousy), but only these three stole my naked heart.
Alamosa – Valley View Hot Springs
Operated by the non-profit Orient Land Trust, the San Luis Valley’s Valley View Hot Springs aren’t just scenic, they’re self-sustaining and completely off the grid. The facility includes natural ponds, developed pools and rustic cabins are available for rent by the night (from $55).
A day visit to Valley View costs $13 in the winter, and overnight stays start at $26 (the price goes up depending on the accommodations chosen). Reservations are highly recommended, and the facility is closed until Dec. 29. Pets are allowed, but a $50 deposit and $5-$15 fee is required.
Steamboat – Strawberry Park
First things first—the mineral springs at Strawberry Park Hot Springs are only clothing-optional after dark (when they are also 18+). So don’t blame us if you get thrown out for dropping trou’ at 3 in the afternoon.
Like Valley View, Strawberry Park is completely off the grid. The moderately-developed pools are built right along the river, and get as hot as 104 degrees. The park also offers overnight rentals (from $60), and massages (from $50).
Adult entry to Strawberry Park costs $10. Please note – credit cards are not accepted, and a four-wheel-drive vehicle is needed for the road to the springs in the winter.
Ridgway – Orvis Hot Springs
Unless you’re lucky enough to live in the southwestern corner of the state, chances are you’re a long way from the Orvis Hot Springs. The lithium springs are about a five-hour drive from Denver, but they’re worth the trip (we promise)
An all-day adult soak costs $14, and a one-hour dip costs $10. And if you’re going to drive all the way down there, we recommend a visit to the Ourayle House Brewery in nearby Ouray.
Where do you dip? Email us at [email protected]… but no pictures, please.