Plan a Colorado Springs Road Trip!
Chill out (and heat up) at the Centennial State’s best mineral pools like a Coloradan.
Balneotherapy, or the use of natural hot springs to ease muscle aches and mental stress, has been around since ancient times. Native Americans sought out Colorado’s soothing mineral vapors long before the silver miners showed up in the late 1800s.
This 388-mile hot springs route connects the Centennial State’s most beautiful and balmy bathing spots.
Stop 1: Steamboat Springs
Head to Mad Creek Trail, a serene hiking loop outside of town, where you’ll pass sage-scented meadows and aspen groves before reaching Strawberry Park Hot Springs, an open-air spa and campsite. Once the sun goes down, the pools switch to clothing optional—so be ready to check your inhibitions at the door.
Stop 2: Glenwood Springs
Stop 3: Buena Vista
Sitting between the Colorado Trail and the Continental Divide is Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort, a cozy, year-round retreat built on a 120°F artesian well. To access the springs, you’ll have to climb down into a creek and wade around the shallow rocky pools until you find the right mix of scalding jets and cold water.
Stop 4: Leadville
Continue your ascent through the Rockies with a mid-morning stop at Leadville, America’s highest incorporated city at 10,578 feet. On Harrison Avenue, the main drag, stroll past the grand facade of the historic Tabor Opera House, where Harry Houdini once performed.
Stop 5: Boulder
Boulder balances the buzz of a modern metropolis with the tranquillity of a close connection to nature. Nowhere is that dual spirit more evident than at the Boulder Farmers Market, a weekly ritual where multiple generations of local farmers mix (from April to November) with artisan food trucks. Then head to Shine, a holistic brewery and bar that also specializes in herb-based, nonalcoholic “potions,” such as the black cherry- and basil-infused Three Laughing Monks. Not that you’ll need much of a health boost: After days spent soaking in hot springs, that native Coloradan shine will have rubbed off on you too.
This amazing road trip route is from National Geographic, we plan to try the lineup out next year during our own road trip! Happy trails!