One of my favorite vacation spots is Strawberry Park Hot Springs in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. This little piece of heaven is located about 165 miles northwest of Denver (approximately a 4 hour drive). I recommend visiting in the fall when the leaves are changing and the air is crisp. My husband surprised me with a trip to Steamboat Springs for my birthday last year and it remains one of my favorite places in the world.
As you make your way towards Strawberry Park Hot Springs you are surrounded by more aspen trees than you will ever see in your life, which is why I recommend going in the fall between September 1st and October 1st to see the leaves when they are bright yellow. We were there October 17-19th and as you can see, all of the leaves had already fallen.
WARNING: The drive to the springs from town is slightly precarious. It is a couple of miles of unpaved road. Our Toyota Echo handled it decently in October…if decently means our tires were spinning, we started rolling backwards down a hill and I shouted, “JESUS, TAKE THE WHEEL!” On second thought, I recommend taking a car with four-wheel drive. From November 1st to May 1st a four-wheel drive vehicle with snow tires or any vehicle with chains is required to be on the last two miles of the road.
Once you arrive, the cost is $20 per adult or $15 per adult on weekdays. Cash or check only. They have a cute little cabin that you can change into your swimsuit in and restroom facilities as well. It’s a short hike down to the springs, maybe a 3 minute trail. Nothing to stress over, but be sure to have shoes and a swimsuit cover-up or robe available if you don’t want to trek through the dirt half naked.
There are approximately 5 pools to choose from all ranging from “Ahh! It burns!” to “Hmm, is this even considered a hot spring?” degrees Fahrenheit. When it’s really packed with people, you’ll know which pool is the ideal temperature by where the crowd is. Watch where people sit, and when they get up to leave, push every man, woman and child in your path out of the way to snag said spot. Sure, you’ll make a few enemies, but all is fair in love and hot springing.
Oh, one more thing to keep in mind: After dark clothing becomes optional. This can be awkward for some, *shyly raises hand* or super awesome for others, *vividly remembers 60 year old man dropping his pants, thrusting into open air and yelling “YEAAAHH!”* If bathing naked with 30+ strangers is what you consider a good time, more power to you. Just remember to leave the 17 years old and younger crowd at home.
Another excellent hot spring in Colorado is located in Pagosa Springs. Read more here.
About Strawberry Park Hot Springs (found on their website)
The vision of Strawberry Hot Springs is to maintain the beautiful natural environment while keeping the park accessible to all. Restrooms and changing areas are available as are picnic areas. Overnight rentals are popular year–round, and hiking, biking, and snowshoeing trails are conveniently nearby in Routt National Forest. We are only a short drive or shuttle trip from downtown Steamboat Springs and the Steamboat Ski Area.
Strawberry Park Hot Springs is truly an unforgettable experience. The blending of pure natural beauty and the unique stone masonry of our pools will undoubtedly impress you with each visit.
Link to website: http://strawberryhotsprings.com/