How’s Your Hot Springs Etiquette?

Celebrate Galentine's Day at Iron Mountain Hot Springs

How’s Your Hot Springs Etiquette?

If you caught yourself, saying “huh,” you might want to brush up on the ins and outs of soaking at a U.S. geothermal attraction like Iron Mountain Hot Springs.

Bathing culture varies from place to place.

In Japan, hot springs soaking is often separated by gender and if you have tattoos, don’t even think about dipping even a toe in the geothermal waters. Icelanders like to soak in the nude and even conduct business meetings in the buff at their local hot springs. In Germany you better give yourself a thorough scrub before you take a dip or the old crone keeping an eye out for such misdemeanors will chase you down.

Savvy soaking at Iron Mountain Hot Springs.

As in most things, the U.S. takes a more laid back stance, though bathing etiquette still has a place and a purpose. Iron Mountain Hot Springs in Glenwood Springs, Colo. is no exception. Rather than a list of NOs, think of our “rules” as guidelines to help you have the best soaking experience possible. Let’s go through a few:

  • Shower at the Rejuvenation Station during the warm weather seasonShower first please. Showering and using soap does a few things for you. By removing any lotions or perfumes, your skin can better absorb the 14 health-boosting minerals found in our waters. Though the water in the pools changes completely every two hours and each one is drained and power washed weekly, showering prior to bathing helps keep the geothermal water in pristine condition. Showering is also a way to show respect for other visitors. In summer, guests can use the outdoor showers at the Rejuvenation Station for added convenience.
  • Keep it down in the Quiet Zone. The 16 individual soaking pools at Iron Mountain Hot Springs are located in our Quiet Zone, you’ll notice the signs when you leave the bathhouse. This area is set apart from the family pool physically and with spa-like music. Feel free to converse, say hello to fellow bathers, but keep your voice down. Though your story may be riveting, not everyone wants to hear about your latest travel escapades in the Andes or even your amazing ski day at Sunlight Mountain Resort.
  • Family pool for those four and below. Our family pool is the perfect temperature for playing. Kids love it because it’s not too hot, they can be noisy and splash around all they want—that’s why we built it. The soaking pools on the other hand, range in temperature from 98° to 105°F (37 to 41°C). They are not recommended for youngsters. Even for healthy, full-grown adults, soaking guidelines are 15 minutes at a time, with a 30 minute break in between. Children from 5 to 13 are allowed in the soaking pools with a responsible supervising adult.
  • Drink responsibly please. The Sopris Café and the Sand Bar sell a variety of adult beverages—beer, wine and pre-mixed  cocktails—for our guests to enjoy. Drinks come in pool-friendly packaging and all of them are single serving sizes. We recommend no more than two alcoholic beverages while soaking. We understand that there’s nothing better than a cold beer and a hot soak after a day on the slopes or a long hike, but getting sloppy is uncool, embarrassing and might get you kicked out.
  • PDA check. Some of the world’s hot springs have a “no touching” policy, others like those in Japan keep the girls and guys far apart from one another. Those seem like extreme measures to us. Hot springs are romantic, especially on a beautiful night with the Milky Way splashed across the night sky. It’s only natural to want to cuddle with your special someone. We understand, just don’t take the public displays of affection too far and make other pool goers feel uncomfortable.


Our etiquette guidelines are meant to enhance the soaking experience at Iron Mountain Hot Springs—for you and other pool guests immersed along with you. Read through them before you visit or ask questions of our staff on arrival. Hot springs soaking is an ancient tradition and having a few rules makes it a more pleasant experience for all. Now that you’re schooled on the bathing etiquette at Iron Mountain Hot Springs and most other geothermal springs, relax and enjoy the waters.

The following two tabs change content below.

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.

Skip to content