● By Dan Greeson
Kelly Northcutt enjoys a morning dip at Strawberry Park Hot Springs, located seven miles north of downtown Steamboat Springs. Spring road conditions often require four-wheel-drive vehicles. Shuttle service is available. Photo by Noah Wetzel.
Strawberry Park Hot Springs
Strawberry Park Hot Springs is the quintessential place to relax in Steamboat Springs. Float beneath the blue sky by day, or the starry sky at night in geothermal waters tucked in the forest just outside the Mount Zirkel Wilderness.
Thermal waters flow from the hillside into a snowmelt creek, where they cool to the ultimate soaking temperatures. Warm pools vary in temperature and are bordered by a cold stream, which is perfect for a cool plunge. Kick back on the stone seating while you feel the sand beneath your feet, and listen to the water flowing by. The atmosphere is rustic and facilities are basic including a teepee for changing and several picnic areas. Massage is offered on site and overnight accommodation in cabins is available.
Getting there: The springs are located approximately seven miles from downtown Steamboat, including three miles of unimproved dirt road. Four-wheel drive or chains are mandatory from November 1 to May 1 and strict fines are enforced on this often-hazardous stretch of road. From U.S. 40 (Lincoln Avenue), turn north on Third Street. Turn right onto Fish Creek Falls Road and follow it up the hill. Turn left onto Amethyst Drive. Stay on Amethyst Drive through the residential neighborhoods and past schools until it merges with County Road 36. Turn right onto County Road 36 and follow it to the dead end where the parking lot is located.
After dark, clothing is optional and no youth under 18 are admitted. No glass or alcohol. Sunday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-10:30 p.m. No entry after 9:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, open 10 a.m.-12 a.m. No entry after 10:30 p.m. www.strawberryhotsprings.com / 970-879-0342
Leave the driving to someone else and sign up with Sweet Pea Tours or the Hot Springs Shuttle, which offer daily trips to Strawberry Park Hot Springs.
www.sweetpeatours.com / 970-879-5820
www.thehotspringsshuttle.com / 970-879-4698
Old Town Hot Springs
Old Town Hot Springs in downtown Steamboat has been a place of relaxation for over 100 years. The Ute Indians who first settled the area found the pools offered medicinal and spiritual healing. The initial homesteaders used the springs as a gathering place and bathing area.
The multi-use complex offers eight thermal pools, including one adults-only soaking pool, an aquatic climbing wall and two 230-foot waterslides. Guests may join a group exercise class or work out in the fitness center.
Take relaxation to a higher level by booking a massage. Childcare is available at various times. Towel rental is available and swimwear can be purchased.
Weekdays 5:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Saturday 7 a.m.-9 p.m., and Sunday 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Hot pools are cleared 15 minutes before the facility closes. www.oldtownhotsprings.org / 970-879-1828