10 Apr Soaking with Strangers: A Colorado Hot Spring How To
If the idea of communing with complete strangers in cozy, outdoor geothermal pools invokes feelings of high anxiety rather than total bliss. Breathe! Relax! Iron Mountain Hot Springs provides tips for the ultimate shared soaking experience.
Setting the scene
Iron Mountain Hot Springs tops the list of things to do in Glenwood Springs. Having opened in 2015, it’s Colorado’s newest hot springs destination and offers a very different experience from other geothermal amenities in town. Located along a bank of the Colorado River, Iron Mountain Hot Springs features 16 soaking pools situated on a terraced slope with both river and mountain views.
Get ready to soak
For those unfamiliar with Iron Mountain Hot Springs, the bathhouse has locker rooms for men and women, as well as accessibility-friendly family changing rooms. Bathing suits are required, and you can store your belongings free of charge in the lockers, just follow the instructions for setting your personal locker code. The locker rooms also have curtained changing rooms and showers for privacy. It is recommended and a good practice to shower before entering the pools. Rinsing off removes lotions and perfumes and helps keep the pools clean. If you have long hair it’s best to keep it tied up so no strays come loose while you soak. Also, remember to remove jewelry before entering the pools; silver will tarnish. Now, you’re almost ready to head outdoors. Before leaving the bathhouse, fill up your water bottle at one of the hydration stations and sip it regularly throughout the day to stay hydrated.
Be friendly & respectful
If the pool you want to soak in is occupied, say hello to fellow bathers as you get in. You don’t have to strike up a conversation beyond a greeting, but if it flows naturally, go with it—you might just make a friend! Remember soaking pools vary in temperature from 98° to 108°F. Take care getting in, especially if pool temps are at the higher end of the spectrum. Start by immersing your feet, then submerge up to your waist and, finally, if comfortable immerse yourself up to your shoulders. Iron Mountain Hot Springs plays soft, spa music to enhance the mood of tranquility. If your pool is on the chatty side, do keep your voice down and the conversation light, steering clear of topics such as politics or unpleasant news stories. Remember, everyone is here to relax and escape the norms of everyday. If you’re not enjoying the mix of company in one pool, switch it up by moving to another pool!
Practice random acts of kindness
Sometimes Iron Mountain Hot Springs can get busy, especially over holidays and on weekends. This is a great time to practice compassion toward others by following bathing etiquette guidelines. Simple acts such as making room in a crowded pool, consolidating your belongings so you can offer your unused, extra lounger to newcomers, refraining from over-sharing or uncomfortable public displays of affection and enjoying adult beverages moderately and responsibly are just a few ways to be a thoughtful guest.
Take it all in
Finally, a distinct appeal of soaking at Iron Mountain Hot Springs is the variety of experiences you can have in a single visit. Try all the soaking pools and find your favorite one. There are pools with pebble bottoms good for massaging your feet as you move around, pools with infinity views; there’s a heart-shaped pool and one with a waterfall. The family pool features freshwater and is the coolest of all the pools. Intangibles also add to the experience, take time to notice the river and the animal life it supports—eagles, geese, ducks and egrets. The mountain views include majestic Mt. Sopris to the south and Red Mountain directly across the river. Enjoy the peace of an early morning soak or the colors of the sunset later in the day. Noticing these moments of beauty and sharing them with others, only enhances the communal hot springs experience.
Remember, a stranger is just someone you don’t yet know. Enjoy your visit and learn more about soaking at Iron Mountain Hot Springs.