Hot Springs Flings
Thanks to geothermal activity in and around the valley, hot springs—both developed and undeveloped—abound. Here’s a sampling of the best.
Dating to 1888, Glenwood Hot Springs Resort’s pool is the world’s largest: 400 feet long and fed by a spring that produces over 3.5 million gallons of water per day, cooled to a temperate 90 to 93 degrees that’s comfortable even in summer (and especially on cool mountain evenings, when the pool stays open until 9 p.m.). With lap lanes and a diving area, plenty of lounge chairs, and ample shade—plus an aquatic park that includes the Shoshone Chutes tubing area, kiddie slides, waterfalls, and a huge interactive fountain—there’s plenty to keep the whole family busy for hours. 970-947-2955, hotspringspool.com
Glenwood’s Iron Mountain Hot Springs has amassed a devoted following since its reopening in 2015—and for good reason. Nestled on the south bank of the Colorado River, the resort features 16 geothermal soaking pools of mineral-rich water heated to a range of temperatures, including a heart-shaped pool, reflexology pools with pebble bottoms, infinity pools that seem to hang over the river, waterfalls, and cooling rain showers. A large, freshwater family pool is fun for kids, with an attached, elevated whirlpool spa for parents to watch. A bathhouse and a café complete the very relaxing picture. Reservations required for 3-hour slots. 970-945-4766, ironmountainhotsprings.com
Tucked away in the bucolic Crystal River Valley near the tiny town of Redstone, Avalanche Ranch hot springs are part of a historic ranch that’s currently run as a rustic retreat, with log cabins and converted wagons to sleep in and year-round activities. Cascading one into the other, the three natural hot springs pools are tiered in such a way that creates privacy, and the largest is fed by a waterfall that naturally screens a rock grotto. Hot springs access is included for overnight guests; day visitors must reserve 4-hour slots( 9 a.m.–1 p.m. or 1–5 p.m.). 970-963-2846, avalancheranch.com
Naturally occurring Penny Hot Springs is about 15 minutes south of Carbondale (and not far from Avalanche Ranch)—a pullout off of Highway 133 near mile marker 55 denotes the spot. Clamber down the riverbank to a handful of pools separated from the cold Crystal River by large rocks.