This time of year when the days get shorter, and the temperatures drop, those of us who are winter-inclined start thinking about the snowy fun we’re about to have. After a day loading chair lifts or skiing the bumps, the tracks, the backcountry trails, snowshoeing through a pine forest, mushing dogs, or building ice castles, there’s nothing quite like a soak in hot springs to warm up the toes, and relax both mind and body. Here are seven hot springs located near some of the winter employers on CoolWorks that you might want to check out if you’re in that area this upcoming winter season.
Penny Hot Springs, 43 miles from Aspen, Colorado: This is an undeveloped and free hot spring soaking adventure. The primitive pools that sit on the Crystal River are sectioned off with rocks to keep the cold water out and the hot mineral water in. Parking can be found in a large parking area on the east side of Highway 133, and there’s a short hike down to the river and the springs. For more info and directions: https://www.uncovercolorado.com/hot-springs/penny-hot-springs/
Strawberry Park Hot Springs, 9 miles from Steamboat Springs, Colorado: These are developed hot springs that include a series of pools of different temperatures, cabins to rent, changing rooms, etc., all located along Hot Springs Creek. They also offer massage and Watsu therapy. In the winter, you’ll need four wheel drive or you can take a shuttle from Steamboat Springs. They’re open 7 days a week and there is an entrance fee. For more info and directions: https://strawberryhotsprings.com/
Sierra Hot Springs, 32.1 miles from Northstar at Tahoe: These springs are part of a resort and retreat center all run by a non-profit organization and are maintained and operated by a group of resident workers. Their main pool area – Temple Dome – consists of The Hot Pool (105-110°) which is enclosed in a large geodesic dome, featuring stained glass and skylights. Complemented by two cold plunges this pool is also sand bottomed, with mosaic tile sides. Outside the dome, there’s a large Warm Pool (98-100°) with a sundeck and a dry sauna. On 700 acres bordering National Forest land, there is also nearby cross-country skiing. Check their website for directions, prices, and schedule. http://www.sierrahotsprings.org/
Fifth Water Hot Springs, 78 miles and a 2.5 mile hike from Park City, Utah: Located along Fifth Water Creek, this is a backcountry hot springs with several pools of varying temperatures and the bonus – three waterfalls – one to watch while you’re soaking. During the winter you’ll need a 4 Wheel Drive vehicle to reach the trailhead, but the snow is usually packed down enough that you can walk without snowshoes. Check out this website for directions and some pretty stunning photos to get you psyched for the adventure! https://utah.com/hiking/fifth-waterfalls-trail
Bozeman Hot Springs, 36 miles from Big Sky, Montana: These springs are a popular indoor/outdoor hot springs for Big Sky/Bozeman locals and tourists. 12 pools ranging in temps from 57 – 106 degrees and a tremendous indoor steam room and a dry sauna. There’s even a stage outside with musical events every Thursday and Sunday. Note: They’re always closed from sundown Friday till sundown on Saturday. They are open after sundown on Saturday until midnight. You’ll find more details and prices on their website: https://bozemanhotsprings.co/pools/
The Boiling River Hot Springs in the Mammoth area, Yellowstone National Park: If you haven’t, you must! It’s a rite of passage for any YNP employee. Located approximately 2 miles north of Mammoth and 2.9 miles south of the park’s North Entrance, just south of the 45th Parallel Bridge, you’ll see the parking areas on both sides of the road. A short, scenic 1/2 mile hike along the river leads to the hot springs. The Boiling River is created from a large hot spring entering the Gardner River. One of the really cool things about these springs is that every year the hot pools are different shapes and sizes. Those who go to soak create them by stacking rocks to keep the hot water in and the cold water out. This happens after spring runoff is over and the river goes back to a slower flow. Read more about them here: https://www.yellowstonepark.com/things-to-do/swim-yellowstones-boiling-river
Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort and Spa, just 40 miles from Taos, New Mexico: Lastly, if you’re a true lover of hot springs and one of your dream jobs is to work somewhere that you can soak everyday, well you’re in luck! They have 12 pools ranging in temps from 80 – 106 degrees and are the only hot springs in the world with four different types of mineral waters. You can check out their work opportunities here: https://www.coolworks.com/ojo-caliente-mineral-springs-resort-and-spa/profile. And if you’ve already secured your winter position at Taos Ski Valley, then you might want to cruise over for a day of soaking. You can find directions, day pass prices and hours of operation here: https://ojocaliente.ojospa.com/