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Debbi Miner of Leadville swims laps at Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort Thursday, Dec. 9, 2004. Miner swims in the 90 degree pool about three times a week. The hot springs in Nathrop, Colo., has two lower pools, a lap pool and a soaking pool, as well an upper pool that is opened in the summer months. Next to the lower pools is Chalk Creek with small hot springs on the edge where guest can soak. Guests can adjust the temperature of the springs by allowing more or less of the cold creek water to flow into the springs. The pool rates for people not staying at the lodge are $8 for adults (13 to 61), $5 for children (under 13) and $5 for seniors (62 and olders). Call 1.888.395.7799 or go online at www.mtprinceton.com for more information. Photo by Christian Murdock/The Gazette

It’s hard to beat a relaxing soak at a steamy hot spring destination in Colorado on a frigid winter day. If you’re looking to plan a road trip around the state to experience the best of the best, this is the route for you. Our “Ultimate Hot Springs Road Trip” starts and ends in Colorado Springs, where the OutThere Colorado team is headquartered.

1. Mount Princeton Hot Springs

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Mt. Princeton Hot Springs on Wednesday Sept. 22, 2021. (Photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette)

The first hot spring on this road trip is two hours west of Colorado Springs, in the shadows of the Collegiate Peaks. In the Buena Vista area, this part of the state tends to be more of a summer bucket list spot, making winter the perfect time to swing through to miss the crowds.

Enjoy natural and developed soaking options at Mount Princeton Hot Springs, along with options that are designed for families or adults-only. Rent a room to extend your stay at this destination.

2. Cottonwood Hot Springs

Cottonwood Hot springs

Cottonwood Hot Springs The Cottonwood Hot Springs Inn and Spa has several pools along Cottonwood Creek surrounded by the San Isabel National Forest. Location: 18999 Co Rd 306, Buena Vista, CO 81211 Website: cottonwood-hot-springs.com

Just up the road from Mount Princeton Hot Springs is Cottonwood Hot Springs, a Buena Vista favorite located off of Cottonwood Pass. This spot has a natural feel and tends to be more of a “local’s secret” compared to other options in the area. Stop here to relax before a scenic drive to Glenwood Springs.

3. Glenwood Hot Springs Resort

SOOTHING WATERS

Swimmers enjoy the two pools at the Glenwood Hot Springs, Tuesday, May 30, 2000, in Glenwood Springs, Colo. The Ute Indians believed the bubbling hot springs contained "big medicine." Theodore Roosevelt and Doc Holliday also basked in the soothing waters. Today, the bubbling hot springs draw visitors from around the world to this resort nestled at the foot of the Rockies. (AP Photo/E Pablo Kosmicki)

The first of two hot spring stops in Glenwood Springs, Glenwood Hot Springs Resort is home to the world’s largest hot spring pool. Surrounded by mountain views, this family-friendly spot also has a spa, lodge and athletic club on-site. This is another stop that’s also a great place to book a stay.

4. Iron Mountain Hot Springs

Second Glenwood hot springs to open Saturday

This shows the whirlpool and family pool at the new Iron Mountain Hot Springs in Glenwood Springs. (Provided to the Glenwood Springs Post Independent)

Another must-visit hot spring destination in Glenwood Springs, Iron Mountain Hot Springs is riverside with a sunset view. Smaller pools here offer an intimate experience, complete with a nearby bar.

Bonus tip: Looking to add some skiing to the mix? Glenwood Springs is just down the road from Aspen. Want a more laid-back day on the mountain? Try Sunlight Mountain resort, just down the road from Iron Mountain Hot Springs.

5. Strawberry Hot Springs

Strawberry Park Hot Springs

Take paths near the mineral-rich ponds of Strawberry Park Hot Springs to a caboose, cabins, covered wagon and tents.

After a visit to Glenwood Springs, head north to Steamboat Springs to find a town perfect for both snow sports and soaking. Hit the slopes and, after that, rest your aching body at Strawberry Hot Springs. It’s got a very rustic feel and a rocky surrounding where pillows of snow tend to accumulate. Oh, and it’s important to note that clothing-optional policies exist after dark.

Travel Trip Steamboat Springs

This March 2009 photo shows the Strawberry Park Hot Springs at Steamboat Springs, Colo. Steamboat Springs, located about 150 miles northwest of Denver, was named in the 1860s by French fur trappers who thought the mineral springs they heard sounded like a steamboat. (AP Photo/Karen Schwartz)

6. Old Town Hot Springs

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Bridges cross the pools at Old Town Hot Springs in downtown Steamboat Springs. The eight pools are fed by the Heart Spring. Photo courtesy Corey Kopischke, Old Town Hot Springs

While you’re in Steamboat Springs, you can also visit the historic Old Town Hot Springs. With eight pools and two waterslides, this spot is perfect for the entire family.

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Old Town Hot Springs in downtown Steamboat Springs is a community staple boasting eight hot pools and a fitness center. Photo courtesy Corey Kopischke, Old Town Hot Springs

7. Hot Sulphur Springs Resort and Spa

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The soaking resort in Hot Sulphur Springs boasts 21 pools between 95 and 112 degrees. Accommodations include a motel and cabins. Photo courtesy: Hot Sulphur Springs

Leaving Steamboat Springs, it’s time to start heading back toward Colorado Springs. But fear not — more hot springs are ready to be explored along the way.

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Hot Sulphur Springs Resort and Spa. COURTESY HOT SULPHUR SPRINGS RESORT AND SPA

The first stop on the return trip is at Hot Sulphur Springs Resort & Spa, in the small Grand County town of Hot Sulphur Springs. Home to 22 pools and private baths, plus a complete offering of spa services, it is the perfect place for rejuvenation.

8. Indian Hot Springs

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In operation for more than 100 years, Indian Hot Springs is home to a mineral water swimming pool beneath a transparent dome. Geothermal caves can also be found on-site, built between 1903 and 1911 and home to multiple hot tub-style soaking tubs. Looking to experiment with the therapeutic side of clay? Check out “Club Mud,” also on-site.

9. Sunwater Spa

Wrap up your hot spring road trip in the historic town of Manitou Springs.

SUNWATER SPA

SunWater Spa co-owner Kat Tudor leads a healing yoga class at the new Manitou Springs spa Tuesday, June 30, 2015. The spa, which has multiple pools, hot tubs, a vapor lodge, and massage, facial and wrap services, is expected to be fully open by the end of July. Michael Ciaglo, The Gazette

At Sunwater Spa, soakers enjoy the view of the Pikes Peak foothills from an elevated deck. Expect plenty of stars on a clear night and find several food and drink options nearby on the town’s main street.

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