Strawberry Park might be the Centennial State's most celebrated site of soaking. It's "a perfect representation of what Colorado is and should be about," General Manager Joe Stepan says in a promotional video.
That doesn't just refer to the serene scene of steaming waters tucked in the woods glittered by Steamboat Springs' "champagne powder." Routt National Forest surrounds the park, a hiking and mountain biking playground. Of course, the Western Slope town is first and foremost famous for world-class skiing. But when the slopes clear, the hot springs still bustle.
The park is a combination of elegance and ruggedness. It's reached on a dirt road that requires a four-wheel drive in winter. Catch a shuttle from town if you must, or take the scenic option by foot or bike.
The mineral-rich ponds are formed by stone masonry, and sandy paths among the trees lead to rustic accommodations: a train caboose, a large and small cabin, a covered wagon and tent sites. For any of them, you'll want to reserve well in advance.
For ultimate rejuvenation, book a massage in a private hut or a water therapy session in a private pool.
Rules: Family-friendly during the day, clothes optional at night. Kids younger than 18 not allowed after dark. No dogs. No outside booze, and no smoking. No RVs or trailers.
Address: 44200 Routt County Road 36, Steamboat Springs, 80487
Hours: 10 am.-10:30 p.m. Sunday-Thursday (no entry after 9:30 p.m.), 10 a.m.-midnight Friday and Saturday (no entry after 10:30 p.m.)
Contact: 970-879-0342, firstname.lastname@example.org
Getting there: Off Interstate 70 heading west, exit for Colorado 9 north to Silverthorne. After 37 miles, turn west for U.S. 40 and follow to Steamboat. Go to strawberryparkhotsprings.com/ finding-us for detailed directions for driving and hiking to the park.
SETH BOSTER, THE GAZETTE