The mountains of Colorado are home to some of the best skiing and snowboarding on the planet, but did you know the same geology that created the foundation for world-class skiing also formed another natural wonder? Tucked throughout the high country, near many of your favorite Colorado ski resorts, is a cache of another kind—a plethora of steamy, geothermal mineral springs. It’s almost as if Mother Nature intended winter visitors to pair skiing with soaking. It’s a combo that always feels right: play in the powder all day and afterwards soothe away aches and pains with a therapeutic, relaxing dip in a hot springs pool. Accessing high country resorts that cater to both is as easy as taking a drive along the Colorado Historic Hot Springs Loop (CHHSL).
Winter Recreation & Hot Springs Relaxation: A Dynamic Duo
The CHHSL is a newly established 720-mile (1160-km) loop drive that takes visitors through some of the most scenic parts of the state. It connects five premier Western Colorado hot springs destinations with 11 Colorado Ski Country member resorts—along the route, in addition to soaking in 19 different hot springs, you’ll be able to ski and ride everywhere from famous-name ski towns to low-key local mountains.
To get started on your Colorado hot springs and ski adventure, hop on the route at any point along the Loop. All the destinations are a comfortable drive from the Denver area or from other locales throughout the state. Each of the five regions is also served by an airport, making it easy for out-of-state winter travelers to access all or portions of the Colorado Historic Hot Springs Loop.
This Colorado hot springs and spa town is world famous for its geothermal amenities, but also for its other wintertime attractions that include scenic Glenwood Canyon, historic hotels, Doc Holliday’s grave and award-winning breweries.
Glenwood Hot Springs Resort is the largest mineral hot springs pool in the world and has been a destination for relaxation for over 130 years. The prolific source spring supplies water to two enormous pools, the 104°F (40°C) Therapy Pool and the 93°F (34°C) main pool. Both are ideal for après ski soaking.
Iron Mountain Hot Springs boasts 16 soaking pools that range in temperature from 99° to 108°F (37° to 42°C). There’s also a large family freshwater pool that’s maintained at a comfortable temperature. Soothing spa music and panoramas of the Colorado River and Rocky Mountains further promote relaxation.
Yampah Spa & Vapor Caves is one of the few places where you can go for a natural, geothermal steam bath. The mineral-dense vapors have a detoxifying effect. The Ute Indian Tribe used the vapor caves for purification rituals when they inhabited the area.
Sunlight Mountain Resort is the place for affordable, family-friendly skiing and riding. Without the crowds, the powder lasts for days. All 67 trails conveniently lead right back to the base lodge. The resort also offers Ski Swim Stay packages starting as low as $99!
Aspen Mountain is famous for its black-diamond terrain. In-bounds, Aspen Mountain offers a variety of glades, bumps and steeps. For an out-of-bounds experience, Aspen Mountain Powder Tours will hook you up with fresh tracks on the backside.
Aspen Highlands features extreme Colorado steeps. Fancy yourself an expert? Then go where the locals go to get humbled—Aspen Highlands.
Buttermilk built its legacy on expansive gently rolling trails that cater to beginners and families. Today, Buttermilk remains famous for hosting the ESPN Winter X Games. Buttermilk’s superpipe in the legendary terrain park does not disappoint.
Snowmass has an astounding 4,406 vertical feet and 3,332 acres of terrain, 96 trails, 20 chairlifts and access to your choice of cruisers, glades, steeps, terrain parks and halfpipes.
Known for churning out Olympians at a record pace in addition to its skiing, the resort town also gets high scores for its other winter activities; these include horseback riding, snowmobiling, sleigh-ride dinners and scenic gondola rides.
Old Town Hot Springs has been welcoming visitors to relax since it opened in 1935. The multi-use complex recently underwent a major remodel; it features a variety of pools for exploration, a kids’ climbing wall, an eight-lane lap pool, a kiddie pool and two waterslides.
Strawberry Park Hot Springs is a hot springs with a modern-yet-rustic vibe that becomes clothing-optional after dark. Surrounded by aspens and sitting near the river, a soak here is an intimate-with-nature experience.
Steamboat has a worldwide reputation for its authentic western atmosphere, genuine friendliness and Champagne Powder® snow. The resort encompasses 165 trails, 3,668 vertical feet and nearly 3,000 skiable acres. Interested in night skiing and riding? Steamboat is the place to try it.
Howelsen Hill in downtown Steamboat Springs offers guests affordable skiing and snowboarding for all levels, as well as trails for cross-country skiing, fat biking and snowshoeing. A fun fact: Howelsen Hill has been the training ground for nearly 90 Olympians, making over 150 Olympic appearances.
Count on postcard-perfect scenery and a boho mountain feel in Chaffee County. Nestled at the base of the Collegiate Peaks, the towns of Salida, Nathrop and Buena Vista are artsy, quirky and home the highest density of 14ers in Colorado.
Mount Princeton Hot Springs offers a surreal soaking experience with 100 percent natural and odorless hot springs in five different pools. Other amenities include a 400-foot (122-meter) waterslide and lazy river, a historic bath house and creek-side hot springs.
Historic Cottonwood Hot Springs is situated in the San Isabel National Forest. Cottonwood’s hot springs experience is focused on peace, tranquility and healing. The mineral water is odorless and pristine. Quiet-zones and alcohol-free soaking pools support a sense of serenity.
Salida Hot Springs Aquatic Center is the largest indoor hot springs facility in North America. The community pool features lap lanes and a smaller, warmer soaking pool. For those looking for a more therapeutic soaking experience, European-style private pools are also available.
Monarch Mountain is an escape for anyone looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the bigger resorts. Monarch boasts some of the finest glade skiing in the state and has an additional 1,000 acres of steeps, chutes and bowls accessible via its snow-cat service.
Skiing and soaking are just part of the appeal of this mountain town situated at the base of Wolf Creek Pass. A thriving cultural scene that includes the performing arts, craft brewing and unique festivals draws visitors year-round and compliments the multitude of outdoor activities. For something different in winter, try ice fishing or go for a horse-drawn sleigh ride.
The Springs Resort & Spa holds the record for the world’s deepest geothermal aquifer. Twenty-three therapeutic mineral hot springs pools vary in size and shape; visitors are encouraged to try them all. Overnight resort guests have 24-hour unlimited access to the soaking pools. Non-resort guests can pay a daily fee to enjoy the benefits of the hot springs.
Overlook Hot Springs has rooftop soaking tubs that overlook the San Juan Mountains, the river and bustling downtown Pagosa Springs! Indoors, guests can take a private geothermal soak amid Victorian-style ambiance.
Healing Waters Resort & Spa is ideal for families and reminiscent of a simpler time. The main pool, outdoor hot tub and European-style indoor hot bath facilities—with steam rooms and benches—are all heated by natural mineral waters.
Wolf Creek Ski Area in the breathtaking San Juan Mountains receives the most snow in Colorado. It’s known for its knee-deep powder, friendly atmosphere, delicious homemade food and affordable pricing.
Often referred to as “the Switzerland of America,” the scenery in Ouray County is jaw-droppingly stunning. Both towns welcome visitors with vibrant, friendly downtowns. In addition to nearby skiing, during the winter months the Ouray Ice Park attracts cold-hearty climbers.
Ouray Hot Springs is nestled in a narrow valley surrounded by dramatic snowcapped peaks. The town’s geothermal pool, in operation since 1927, recently received a comprehensive makeover. One of the perks of soaking here is sulfur-free and odorless water.
Historic Wiesbaden Hot Springs Spa is home to hot springs and rare vapor cave amenity tucked deep inside the mountain. In addition to the vapor cave, there is an outdoor swimming pool and private outdoor spa, all heated with geothermal water.
Orvis Hot Springs retains an ultra-relaxed vibe with its au naturel clothing-optional policy. Open 24-hours a day, Orvis is ideal for après ski with four beautifully landscaped outdoor soaking pools and three indoor pools—two of them private.
Telluride Mountain Resort is a skier’s dream come true. Annually, Telluride receives over 280 inches (711 cm) of snowfall and more than 300 days of sunshine, which is just perfect for the resort’s 148 trails and over 2,000 acres that vary from beginner to some of the most advanced terrain in Colorado.
Silverton Mountain is an experts-only area with one chair lift and no groomers or clear-cut runs. A place like no other, it receives over 400 inches (1,016 cm) of snow per year and is one of the only places to heli-ski in Colorado.
For a Colorado ski vacation with a hot springs twist, visit Colorado Hot Springs Loop and Colorado Ski Country USA today. Follow us on social channels Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, and tag us with @hotspringsloop, #hotspringsloop.