Colorado Hot Springs During COVID-19

As more and more people get vaccinated and the risk of COVID-19 transmission decreases, we will hopefully soon find ourselves in a changed but at least open and functioning world again.

However… we’re not quite there yet. So, what’s a hot spring loving Coloradan to do? What’s open? When? And how many hoops do we have to jump through to get to wallow in that soothing vat of human soup we so crave?

I have attempted to compile information on at least some of the options.

Indian Hot Springs

This one always felt less like a hot spring and more like a kiddie pool, at least in pre-covid times. Unless of course, you were in the private baths, which felt like a locker room complete with inexplicable pan flute. The geo thermal caves have weird gender rules, so I’ve never seen them.

The current state of affairs is… complicated. The Hot Springs are open, but:

Monday through Thursday the pool (presumably the Mineral Water Swimming Pool) is first come first served for all day passes. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday reservations are for 1 hour only and must be made online up to 14 days in advance unless you are a hotel guest. If you are a hotel guest, you are allowed to call or text to make your reservation.

The caves are first come first serve and the “private baths” and Jacuzzis have set reservation times.

No mention if you still have to endure the sounds of pan flute.

This human soup is in Chile, not Colorado.

Glenwood Hot Springs

Glenwood is open, just know you are voluntarily assuming the risk of COVID-19 exposure (duh, but it’s in bold type on their website so they mean it). The site also says this:

“The Glenwood Hot Springs Pool is open daily 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. in accordance with the most recent State of Colorado Public Health Order. In order to provide a safe and comfortable experience for our guests, Glenwood Hot Springs Resort will be limiting the total number of visitors to the property in the initial phase of reopening. “

So, there are no reservations required, day admission is on a first-come, first-served basis, and there’s no re-entry. Simple, at least.

Strawberry Park Hot Springs

Open, but reservations are mandatory. You’re not even welcome to drive up and sight see, which honestly is probably good given that parking is pretty limited and excess humans make social distancing harder.

Pool time is limited for both day use and overnight guests, with overnight guest pool hours specified as 8PM to 10AM (overnight). It’s not clear if that’s the only time overnight guests can use the pool and day hours aren’t clear, either.

Changing room facilities were absent but now are maybe just limited. Masks are required when not in the pool.

This is my favorite hot spring, but least favorite web site so far. Contradictory and unclear. Just call, I guess?

Old Town Hot Springs

The other Steamboat hot spring, conveniently located but much less charming. It is open to members and visitors in two hour blocks by walk-up reservation if capacity is available. Capacity is not clear.

So, there’s no guarantee you’ll get in and if there’s a visible line, it’s probably for the hot spring. Also, there’s no re-entry, the water slide is closed, and if there is a “code brown”, everyone will be asked to leave the facility (this really is on their site).

It’s open, though. Also, it’s chlorinated, except for the Heart Spring Pool. Wear your mask.

This is not a hot spring in Colorado, it’s a regular 12 foot deep pool in Death Valley in the summer. Which means it may as well be a hot spring. Dad was not refreshed.

Hot Sulphur Springs

This one is pretty straight forward:

Open Monday through Sunday from 8 AM to 10 PM. Hot Spring pools are now available. Online reservations required. Wear a mask in between buildings and pools. No locker room access.

That’s the gist of it, near as I can tell. Points for having a clear website.

Mount Princeton Hot Springs

Much like Glenwood, simplicity reigns here. There are no reservations. Entry is on a first-come first-serve basis and you can stay as long as you want (like, within reason – no moving in, they do close).

If you are a hotel guest, know there is occupancy reserved for you. Oh, and if the pool is full you can put yourself on a wait list.

Note, the spa is for hotel guests only. No day passes.

Iron Mountain Hot Springs

Online reservations are required as are masks when not soaking (this is a common theme at all of the springs). Bring your own towel or buy one, and lockers are not available. Reservations are for 2.5 hour blocks.

Although changing rooms are available, coming “ready to soak” is encouraged. In fact, “many guests arrive in bathrobes ready to enjoy their time here.”

Oh, covid.

Conundrum Hot Springs

This neat little high altitude hot spring requires you hike 9 miles uphill (about 3000 feet of elevation gain) over rocky terrain that includes a pretty serious creek ford. In the winter and spring the avalanche danger is not insignificant and you’ll want to bring backpacking gear as it’s not a day hike.

Once you get there, you get to hang out in a hot puddle with naked strangers. Oh, and due to an excess of popularity, a permit is now required. And you’ll have to poop in a bag. And keep your doggo at home. Seriously, don’t come here, it’s awful. /s

This stranger seemed to enjoy it.

So, you can visit Colorado hot springs now. I’m personally not sure I’m ready for that, but they do all seem to be taking precautions, so there’s that. Mask up and enjoy if you go.

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