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Colorado Hot Springs with Heritage

Colorado Hot Springs With Heritage

When you think of steaming hot springs, relaxation and rejuvenation immediately come to mind; however, there is something deeper to discover in their waters. Mineral-rich healing pools have been around longer than human civilization—our history is dissolved in their water. Over billions of years, through mountain uplifts, erosion and collapse, volcanic activity and tectonic shifts, Colorado has been sculpted into a geographically distinct state. Colorado’s diverse metamorphic and geological history resulted in the formation of abundant natural springs. Minerals in these springs, flowing and heated from the earth, are plentiful and good for the body and soul. We aren’t the first to celebrate them; modern-day Colorado was home to numerous native tribes and later trappers, traders, miners and explorers. Across the state 27 hot springs offer a variety of experiences; including luxurious locations like Dunton Hot Springs and resort pools like Pagosa Springs.  This collection of natural springs delves into our past; they celebrate the state’s heritage and allow you to soak up Colorado’s history.
Iron Mountain Hot Springs: Geothermal Hub
The newest springs, Iron Mountain Hot Springs, in Glenwood Springs are located on the banks of the Colorado River and scheduled to open summer 2015.   “New” are relative when we are talking about geothermic activity that has been millions of years in the making, or a town that has been celebrating the waters healing properties for ages. Long before the first settler came to Glenwood Springs in 1860, nomadic tribes bathed and soaked in the hot mineral waters, relishing their healing properties. Today, Glenwood Springs remains a hub of geothermal activity paired with modern day conveniences.
Day Trip: Take a tram ride to Glenwood Caverns to view amazing crystalline formations on a mountain cave tour; an in-town hike brings you to the memorial of famous gunslinger Doc Holliday; or discover nearby towns of Meeker, Parachute and Rifle. Spend the night and discover local history and Victorian charm, at Hotel Colorado, where Teddy Roosevelt once stayed.
Glenwood Hot Springs Pool: World’s Largest Hot Springs Pool 
Glenwood Hot Springs celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2013, but the history of the hot springs dates back thousands of years. Ancient rain and melted snow, superheated deep within the earth, bubbled up through layers of sandstone emerging in underground caves and hot pools that dot the Colorado River basin. The Ute Indians called these mineral-rich waters “Yampah”, meaning “Big Medicine”.
Day Trip: Explore Hanging Lake--a National Natural Landmark; visit White River National Forest, the nation’s largest national forest and find Crystal Mill; or take a drive on the Flat Tops Trail Scenic Byway and West Elk Scenic Loop.
Mt. Princeton Hot Springs: Miners and Adventures
After profiting from the productive Mary Murphy Mine, a group of miners built a three-story hotel at what is now Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort. It took four years to build and never saw a paying customer. A fascinating and haunting place, nearby Iron City Campground has a cemetery where the dates of the deceased are accompanied by the brief story of their death; for example, 49-year-old Charles A. Thomas died of a “gathering behind ear”.   Enjoy this insight into the miner’s existence and soak in the complex mining and trading history while gazing up at the ancient and towering peaks surrounding the natural oasis.
Day Trip: Visit the Iron City Cemetery and the historic town of St. Elmo and Tin Cup. During its heyday, over 150-patented mines laid claim to the area and the population grew to 2,000. While the original descendents lived in St. Elmo until the late ‘50s, it is said the population of St. Elmo rode the last train out and never came back…
Trimble Hot Springs: Durango’s History
Trimble Hot Springs dates back to 1000 – 1200 AD, when Ancestral Puebloans lived and roamed the region. Following the Ancestral Puebloans, various native tribes used the Animas Valley as hunting grounds and enjoyed the healing waters. In 1874, Mr. Frank Trimble moved to town with his wife. Suffering from rheumatism and old wounds, he began bathing in the waters and declared himself healed just one month later. In 1882, he built the first hotel on the grounds.  After a series of owners, burned hotels and a 30-year-closure; the springs are open to the public and more vibrant then ever.
Day Trip: Connect to the history with a visit to the Animas Museum and dinner at El Moro Tavern & Spirits. Linger in the history of place with a stay at the Historic Strater Hotel, originally constructed in 1887, and take a ride on the historic D&SNGRR steam train.
Strawberry Park Hot Springs: Sounds of a Steamboat
A balance of rugged and relaxed, Strawberry Hot Springs is today much as it was hundreds of years ago. Native Americans and early settlers were drawn to the steamy waters and in the 1880’s the property around the springs was homesteaded.  After a day of soaking, enjoy accommodations that are a flash back to the past: spend the night in a train caboose, a covered wagon, a tent or a rustic cabin.
Day trip: Explore the boundless landscapes and cultural heritage of the northwest: take a drive on the Energy Trail, delve into the area’s history at Tread of Pioneers Museum, tour historic Hahn's Peak, discover the wild west at a century-old rodeo, and find interpretive signs throughout the area.
Wiesbaden Springs and Vapor Caves: Still Sacred
Ranging in temperature from 85 to 134 degrees Fahrenheit, the hot springs and vapor caves have been flowing from the San Juan Mountains for thousands of years.  History stays alive here, as the waters once considered sacred are still used for ceremonial purposes. In the winter, the geothermal water also heats the historic hotel. Ouray was named for the great Indian Chief, Ouray, of the Ute Indian Tribe. Hot springs are part of the area’s history; the Uncompaghre River which flows through Ouray derives its name from the Ute Indian vocabulary; “unca” for hot, “pah” for water” and “gre” for springs. 
Day Trip: Hike the five-mile Ouray Perimeter Trail starting from Cascade Falls through the Amphitheater into the "Potato Patch" where miners grew potatoes.  See the Ouray Ice Park, the Uncompaghre River gorge and the iconic Box Canon Falls Park.  Leave time for the Ouray Historical Society Museum, called "The best small town museum in the West" by The Smithsonian.  
Waunita Hot Springs Ranch: Horse Haven
Like numerous other hot springs in the Centennial State, the Ute and native tribes were some of the first to call Waunita Hot Springs home and to relish their healing powers. Homesteaded in the late 1880’s, Dr. Charles Davis would bring ailing patients to soak and heal in the springs. During the depression the hot springs changed hands a number of times, but in 1962, after driving out from Texas, the Pringle family purchased the property and turned it into a family-friendly destination dude and guest ranch. This “horse-heaven” ranch feels like you’ve stepped back in time into a scene from “The Waltons”.
Day trip: Take a horseback ride to alpine views of Stella and Baldy Mountain.
Valley View Hot Springs: Land Trust Preservation
Valley View Hot Springs has a history as intricate and beautiful as the San Luis Valley it occupies. Founders Neil and Terry Seitz forever protected the springs, the legacy of the Everson Ranch, and surrounding ecosystem by creating the Orient Land Trust (OLT). Everson Ranch, located at the western edge of OLT's holdings is a 150-year old ranch currently being renovated to maintain its historical facades and create an educational and living agricultural facility showcasing sustainable agricultural processes. Serenity is guaranteed at this clothing-optional hot spring, with a limited number of guests allowed to soak in ponds along wilderness trails.
Day Trip: Stay at Everson Ranch and wander the 2,200 acres of the ranchlands. Visit the old Orient Mine and the site of one of Colorado’s largest bat colonies!
Manitou Springs: New SunWater Spa
For a modern twist on an ancient tradition, Manitou Springs, celebrated by “Manitoids” in the late 1800’s for its healing powers (especially of Tuberculosis), are heated by solar power and pumped into pools for a hot twist on a traditionally cool soak. Enjoy the evolution of this ancient tradition through natural mineral spring treatments and stunning views of Pike’s Peak.
Day Trip: Hike Pike’s Peak or take a river trip through Echo Canyon, another geologic wonder.
Eldorado Springs: Some like it Cold
Described by many as the "Coney Island of the West," Eldorado Springs Resort was first opened for business on July 4, 1905 and was owned in part by the Fowler family until 1983. Early visitors to the resort came by train or horseback, and it grew so popular that two additional swimming pools were added, one in 1905 and the present pool in 1906— at that time advertised as the largest swimming pool in the country. The historic pool is fed directly from the artesian spring. Take some of this healing water home with you in El Dorado bottled water!
Day Trip: Visit nearby Eldorado Canyon State Park for towering sandstone cliffs and narrow valley with golden rock walls, and enjoy a picnic along South Boulder Creek. Visit Boulder, just 15 minutes away, for a modern urban addition to Eldorado Spring’s dream-like retro feel.  Boulder is the yin to Eldorado Springs’s yang.
From rugged mountains and lush valleys to mineral-rich springs and steaming vapor caves, Colorado was geologically designed to inspire and rejuvenate the soul and senses. Visit some of Colorado’s most alluring springs to relax and refresh while you soak in the unique heritage of the Centennial State.
Colorado is a four-season destination offering unparalleled adventure and recreational pursuits, a thriving arts scene, a rich cultural heritage, flavorful cuisine, and 25 renowned ski areas and resorts. The state's breathtaking scenic landscape boasts natural hot springs, the headwaters of seven major rivers, many peaceful lakes and reservoirs, 11 national parks and monuments and 58 mountain peaks that top 14,000 feet.
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