How to Choose the Hot Springs That’s Right for You

Soaking at Iron Mountain Hot Springs

How to Choose the Hot Springs That’s Right for You

There are over 31 hot springs in Colorado alone. That number reflects a combination of commercial geothermal springs and wild spring sites. With so many to choose from, there’s a perfect hot spring for every person, couple and family. Here’s how to choose the one that’s just right for you.

Commercial vs. Wild

Soaking pools at Iron Mountain Hot Springs at sunsetWild springs exist throughout the state, they are most often found in areas where there is geothermal activity and where there may already be well-established commercial hot springs. Glenwood Springs, for instance in addition to Iron Mountain Hot Springs, has two other hot springs attractions, as well as several well-known wild springs. Raft guides on the Colorado River through Glenwood Canyon frequently make stops at in-river springs to give visitors an opportunity to warm up in a “hot pot.” One major difference between the two is that commercial hot springs must comply with strict state health standards for water quality while there is no agency that monitors the cleanliness of wild springs.

Family vs. Adult

If you make a habit of visiting hot springs on your travels, you’ll find there is a tremendous variation from place to place. Family-friendly hot springs typically share a few commonalities. They usually have some lower temperature pools that are suitable for children. Water slides, fountains, diving boards and flotation devices are also generally present. Look for a big family-friendly pool like Glenwood Hot Springs if you want to play Marco-Polo or a game of Nerf catch. Adult-centered hot springs, on the other hand, focus on serenity with much less splashing. Oftentimes, adult beverages are served or permitted in the pools. Some facilities like Iron Mountain Hot Springs cater to both, with an area for adults and supervised children and a zone where families can let loose.

Private vs. Public

Admission to some hot springs is only possible if you stay as an overnight guest as is the case with Dunton Hot Springs and several others in the state. Keeping admittance exclusive has its perks—you’ll never feel crowded—but you’ll pay for the privacy. Public hot springs welcome one and all. Part of the fun is you never know who you might connect with while soaking in the mineral-rich water.

Swimsuits vs. Clothing Optional

Massage and hot springs soaking compliment one anotherMost hot springs in Colorado require bathing appropriate attire for men, women and children. That means a proper swimsuit is a must—no cutoffs, t-shirts or undies. If you forgot yours, don’t fret, chances are good you’ll be able to buy one or rent one. However, there are a few Colorado locations that are clothing optional all or some of the time. Strawberry Hot Springs in Steamboat Springs, for instance, becomes clothing optional after dark while Orvis Hot Springs in Ridgway is clothes-free all hours of the day and night.

Spa vs. No Spa

Hot springs are an integral part of the wellness community. Geothermal soaking has been shown to reduce stress and promote mental and physical healing.  Spa services and treatments tend to coexist near commercial hot springs. If, along with soaking, having a spa treatment is an important element of your vacation relaxation, select a hot springs that offers spa services. Currently, Iron Mountain Hot Springs does not offer spa treatments, but other of geothermal attractions do. Alternatively, seek out massage, body treatments and facials at independent spas in Glenwood Springs.

There’s a Colorado hot springs waiting for you. Keep these differences in mind as you plan your vacation. Learn more about all the Iron Mountain Hot Springs in Glenwood Springs has to offer at

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Karin Gamba

Karin Gamba has been writing professionally for the travel and tourism markets for nearly two decades. She has promoted a wide array of travel products that include destination towns, vacation resorts, golf courses, ski areas, spas, hotels, restaurants and countless visitor attractions. Karin especially loves writing about her hometown of Glenwood Springs.

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