Not just for après- ski, soaking in one of Colorado’s naturally heated, outdoor hot springs pools can be a relaxing delight. This is a fun way to spend the day for entire families, young and old alike, even in the wintertime. Heck, especially in the winter!
Pools here are fed by natural hot springs geothermal water, and contain numerous therapeutic minerals. This is a great place to swim, soak, and relax.
Colorado’s Hot Springs Pools ~ Types & Locations
You’ll find a wide range of locations offering “hot springs pools” in Colorado, which can vary in size and available amenities. Many campgrounds and lodges have their own small hillside soaking tubs.
But for a family with kids, we typically head to the full blown, larger pool establishments… complete with lockers, showers, changing rooms, and pool sections of varying temperatures for easily controlling our kids body temperatures during the experiences.
The largest pool section is of a moderate temperature, typically 90 degrees. This is warm enough to still be outdoors in the dead of winter, but cool enough that you can spend extended periods of time without overheating. This is where you slip in to “cool down”, and where your kids can play. Then a second therapeutic pool section offers hotter temps, generally 104 degrees, for that soothing deeper heat experience.
Let me tell you a little about the two pools my family has visited. Both are lovely, with scenic mountain backdrops, and come highly recommended by us!
Glenwood Hot Springs Pool
The Glenwood Hot Springs Pool is arguably one of the most convenient, particularly for travelers passing through the state and looking to enjoy this unique experience while on vacation. Located at Glenwood Springs, CO, right along interstate I-70 – it claims to be the world’s largest hot springs pool.
The facilities here at the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool are quite nice, and a bit fancier than Ouray’s. They also offer a full, attached spa location. Locker rooms offer coin slot locker use for 50 cents.
Although we haven’t tried it, a waterslide is available. We do find this pool tends to be a little more popular, and hence crowded. It’s a great location, though, and we really enjoy it.
Ouray Hot Springs Pool
The Ouray Hot Springs Pool is probably our favorite. It’s in a gorgeous location that’s hard to beat, with blissful 360 degree mountain views… as is true of Ouray itself (they don’t call it “Little Switzerland” for nothing!).
This hot springs pool boasts of being sulfur free (and hence odor free), yet still rich with mineral restorative benefits. I don’t get too into all that healing mumbo-jumbo, but I can tell you for a fact I’ve gone there with stiff and sore muscles and felt a huge difference in how my body felt immediately afterwards. And if nothing else, it’s an extremely relaxing and enjoyable experience.
This is one of our favorite family destinations. We’ve taken our kids here since they were babies, and it always manages to be a fun and relaxing time… even for mom and dad!
Hot Springs Pools ~ Best Tips for Visiting With Families
Here are my best tips for visiting a hot springs pool with your family:
- Bring Water. Next to your swimming suit, this is the most valuable thing you can bring along on your hot springs pool visit. Either bring a couple of gigantic bottles, or make sure everyone has their own. You’ll last much longer if you can stay hydrated at the same time.
- Bring Towels (& Bathrobe, if that’s your thing…). Many offer towels for a fee, so it’s fine if you forget yours. But they are thin and small, and on a chilly day you’d probably appreciate a nice fluffy giant beach towel from home to wrap up in. Some people bring cozy bathrobes for when you exit the pool. Personally, for me robes would be one-too-many things to bring along, for 4 people. 🙂
- Swim Toys for Kids. These are allowed, and can help keep your kids entertained for longer. We typically end up soaking for 2-3 hours, so it’s fun for them to have some floating balls or snorkel gear along.
- Sunglasses. I haven’t tried this, but usually end up wishing I had a pair along. That high altitude mountain sun is bright! And you end up being outside for a fair amount of time during this wet outdoor adventure. I’d say over half of the people typically wear them.
- Warm Hat. This is an item I keep forgetting to try. When the cold breeze kicks up, your poor wet head is the only unprotected thing that can’t keep warm under the soothing heated waters of the pool. Many people wear beanie style hats. Seems like a good idea, although I’m uncertain if they become a burden if they end up wet?
- Watch Out For That Breeze! If you’ve got little ones, or anyone in your party has a head cold… pay particular attention to the wind factor on the day you plan to go. Honestly, this can be a bigger deal than a cold temperature. The water truly keeps you warm, but your head inevitably ends up wet (even if you aren’t ring diving, or pulling underwater handstands). Wet head + Cold Breeze = Not-As-Fun Hot Springs Pool Day
I think that about covers it! If you are looking for a way to wind down after an activity packed day, or just a low key enjoyable outdoor attraction to try out… you can’t go wrong by relaxing in one of Colorado’s Hot Spring Pools!
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