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Buena Vista Hot Springs Cottonwood Resort

Buena Vista Hot Springs: 6 Spectacular Spots to Soak It Up

Buena Vista, Colorado, located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, is home to some of the most invigorating and stunning hot springs in the United States. With a range of options to suit all types of visitors, this comprehensive guide will introduce you to six exceptional Buena Vista Hot Springs that can offer you a unique and relaxing experience. Don’t forget to check out our tips for having a great experience; let’s dig in.

Table of Contents

Safety Guidelines for Using Hot Springs

When enjoying the therapeutic waters of hot springs, safety must be your foremost concern. Following these guidelines will ensure that your experience is both relaxing and free from unnecessary risks:

  1. Test the Water Temperature: Always test the water with your hand before entering. Prolonged exposure to excessively hot water can cause burns or overheating. Follow posted guidelines for safe water temperatures.
  2. Stay Hydrated: Soaking in hot springs can lead to dehydration. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your soak.
  3. Limit Soaking Time: Limit your time in the hot springs to intervals of 10-20 minutes, especially if it’s your first experience or if the water is particularly hot.
  4. Avoid Alcohol and Drugs: Consuming alcohol or drugs before or during soaking can impair judgment, coordination, and the body’s ability to regulate temperature.
  5. Observe Personal Health Considerations: Pregnant women, children, the elderly, and individuals with certain health conditions such as heart issues or skin disorders should consult with a healthcare provider before using hot springs.
Learn more by reading our comprehensive mountain safety guide.

Health Benefits of Soaking in Mineral-Rich Waters

The unique mineral composition of hot springs has been associated with a variety of health benefits. While these benefits can vary based on the specific minerals present, many hot springs are rich in substances like calcium, magnesium, sodium, and sulfur, which can offer the following advantages:

  1. Muscle and Joint Relief: The warm water can help relax muscles, ease stiffness in joints, and alleviate symptoms of arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions.
  2. Skin Benefits: Minerals like sulfur have been known to help with skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. The natural exfoliation effect of the mineral water can also leave the skin feeling soft and rejuvenated.
  3. Improved Circulation: Soaking in hot water can lead to vasodilation, or the widening of blood vessels. This improves circulation and can help with cardiovascular health.
  4. Stress Reduction: The relaxing environment of hot springs, combined with the soothing properties of warm water, can significantly reduce stress and promote overall mental well-being.
  5. Respiratory Benefits: Steam from hot springs can be helpful for respiratory issues such as asthma, providing natural humidification and potential relief.

It’s worth noting that while many individuals find hot springs beneficial, the scientific evidence supporting some of these claims may vary. Always consult with healthcare providers if you have specific health concerns or conditions.

6 Best Buena Vista Hot Springs and Resorts

If you consider all the private spas and springs in the Buena Vista region, there are nearly a dozen different options to choose from. We picked our three favorite public options and three great private hot springs and resorts.

Buena Vista Hot Springs Cottonwood Resort

1. Cottonwood Hot Springs - Public

Nestled in a scenic mountain valley, Cottonwood Hot Springs offers both indoor and outdoor pools filled with 100% natural, mineral-laden water. Open year-round, it’s a great place to soak and take in the gorgeous surrounding landscape. This is a more rustic pool than the other public options, lined with rocks and less developed than Mount Princeton or the Salida Aquatic Center.

  • Driving Distance from Buena Vista: 5.5 miles
  • Pro’s and Con’s:
    • Pro’s: Natural setting, suitable for all ages.
    • Con’s: May be crowded during peak times.
  • Entrance Fees: Day passes start at $20 for adults.

Interesting Fact
: These springs were used by the Ute Indians for healing purposes.

2. Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort - Public

A luxurious destination, Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort provides an array of options including creekside pools and spa services. The Chalk Creek flowing through the property blends with the natural hot springs, creating an extraordinary experience. I recommend climbing its namesake 14er, Mount Princeton (check out my hiking guide first) followed by a relaxing dip in these Buena Vista hot springs.

  • Driving Distance from Buena Vista: 9 miles
  • Pro’s and Con’s:
    • Pro’s: Luxurious amenities, various soaking options.
    • Con’s: Higher price point, can be busy on weekends.
  • Entrance Fees: Day passes start at $25 for adults, with packages available.

Interesting Fact
: The springs are part of a geothermal loop, heating the resort’s main building.

Buena Vista Hot Springs: Salida Hot Springs Aquatic Center

3. Salida Hot Springs Aquatic Center - Public

A short drive from Buena Vista, the Salida Hot Springs Aquatic Center is known for its indoor pool facility, heated entirely by underground hot springs. As one of the largest indoor hot springs facilities in the country, it offers something for everyone, from a lap pool for fitness enthusiasts to a leisure pool for relaxation.

  • Driving Distance from Buena Vista: 21 miles
  • Pro’s and Con’s:
    • Pro’s: Accessible year-round, suitable for families and individuals, various pool options.
    • Con’s: Less natural outdoor setting compared to other hot springs.
  • Entrance Fees: Adults $11, Youth (3-17) $7, Seniors $10, with discounts for Salida residents.

Interesting Fact
: The water is piped from a hot spring in the nearby mountains, and its temperature can be adjusted in different parts of the pool, providing a customized soaking experience.

4. Deer Valley Ranch - Private

Families and outdoor enthusiasts will love Deer Valley Ranch. Offering a multitude of activities, including hiking and horseback riding, guests can end the day in the ranch’s exclusive natural hot springs.

  • Driving Distance from Buena Vista: 13 miles
  • Pro’s and Con’s:
    • Pro’s: Family-friendly, wide range of activities.
    • Con’s: Booking required, not exclusive to hot springs.
  • Entrance Fees: Included with ranch stay, packages vary.

Interesting Fact
: The ranch offers unique horseback riding experiences alongside hot springs relaxation.

5. Antero Hot Springs Cabins - Private

For those seeking a private and intimate soaking experience, the Antero Hot Springs Cabins are the perfect option. The hand-built cabins come with personal hot springs pools, ensuring a romantic getaway.

  • Driving Distance from Buena Vista: 11 miles
  • Pro’s and Con’s:
    • Pro’s: Private and secluded, ideal for romantic getaways.
    • Con’s: Limited availability, requires advance booking.
  • Entrance Fees: Included with cabin rental, prices vary.

Interesting Fact
: The springs are named after Mt. Antero, known for its rare gemstone deposits.

6. Merrifield Homestead Cabins & Hot Springs - Private

Located near Buena Vista, Merrifield Homestead Cabins & Hot Springs offers a tranquil retreat with private access to natural hot springs. This family-run property combines rustic charm with the therapeutic benefits of mineral-rich waters. Guests can enjoy soaking in the hot springs with views of the Collegiate Peaks, a range of the Rocky Mountains.

  • Driving Distance from Buena Vista: 16 miles
  • Pro’s and Con’s:
    • Pro’s: Secluded and peaceful, ideal for relaxation, personalized experience.
    • Con’s: Limited capacity, booking well in advance is recommended.
  • Entrance Fees: Access is included with cabin rental, prices vary based on accommodation.

Interesting Fact
: The property has been part of the Merrifield family since 1889 and offers an authentic Colorado mountain experience.

5 Tips for Visiting These Buena Vista Hot Springs

Making the most of a visit to Colorado’s hot springs, especially those near Buena Vista, requires some planning and awareness. Here are five practical tips to help you optimize your hot springs experience:

  1. Choose the Right Hot Springs for Your Needs: Colorado offers a diverse range of hot springs experiences, from luxurious resorts to rustic natural pools. Assess what you want from your visit, whether it’s a family-friendly environment, a romantic setting, or a back-to-nature experience, and choose the hot springs that best fit your preferences.
  2. Prepare for the Altitude: Many of Colorado’s hot springs are located at high altitudes. If you’re coming from a lower elevation, give yourself time to acclimate to prevent altitude sickness. Stay hydrated, and take it easy on your first day.
  3. Bring the Right Gear: Depending on the hot springs you visit, you might need various accessories. Common items include a bathing suit, towels, water shoes, sunscreen, and drinking water. If visiting undeveloped springs, consider bringing a map, compass, or GPS, as well as any necessary equipment for the hike in.
  4. Respect the Local Environment: If you’re visiting natural hot springs, adhere to the Leave No Trace principles. Stay on marked trails, do not disturb wildlife, and leave the area as you found it. In more developed settings, follow the rules and guidelines set by the facility.
  5. Consider Timing and Seasonality: Some hot springs might be crowded during peak seasons or weekends. If you’re looking for a more peaceful experience, consider visiting during off-peak times or weekdays. Additionally, be aware of seasonal accessibility, as some remote hot springs may be challenging to reach in winter.

By taking these factors into consideration, you can tailor your visit to your interests and needs, ensuring a memorable and enjoyable experience at the hot springs near Buena Vista, Colorado. Whether seeking relaxation, adventure, or a combination of both, these tips can guide you to a fulfilling hot springs getaway.

FAQs - Buena Vista Hot Springs

Don’t see your question below? Leave a comment at the bottom of the article with your question and we will get you an answer within 48 hours.

A: The temperature of Buena Vista hot springs can vary between different pools, ranging generally from 95°F to 105°F (35°C to 40°C). Some areas may be slightly cooler or warmer. These temperatures offer a relaxing and therapeutic experience for visitors.

A: The sulfuric smell that some hot springs have is absent in others. In Colorado, many hot springs are known for minimal or no sulfur odor, such as Glenwood Springs, Indian Hot Springs in Idaho Springs, or Mount Princeton Hot Springs. This can vary, and it’s recommended to check with individual springs to confirm if the sulfur smell is a concern for you.

A: Mt. Princeton Hot Springs is naturally heated by geothermal energy. Groundwater is heated by magma chambers below the Earth’s crust. As the water rises to the surface, it becomes infused with minerals, providing the warm, therapeutic waters that are enjoyed at the hot springs.

A: Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort is located at an elevation of approximately 8,250 feet (2,515 meters) above sea level.

A: The temperature in the various pools at Cottonwood Hot Springs typically ranges from 94°F to 110°F (34°C to 43°C), providing options for those seeking different thermal experiences.

A: The cost for visiting Buena Vista hot springs can vary based on the specific hot spring location, time of visit, and whether additional amenities are included. As of my knowledge cut-off date, general admission could range from $15 to $30 per adult. It is advisable to check the specific hot springs’ website or contact them directly for the most accurate and up-to-date pricing information.

A: Hot springs in Colorado can be enjoyed year-round. In winter, they provide a warm retreat amid the snow, while in summer, they offer relaxation after outdoor activities. Fall and spring provide mild weather and beautiful natural scenery. Your preference will depend on the surrounding activities you wish to engage in and the weather conditions you find most appealing.

A: One of the most extensive hot spring facilities near Buena Vista is the Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort. This resort offers a variety of pools and soaking experiences, with temperatures to suit every preference. Its size and diversity of offerings make it an attractive option for those seeking a comprehensive hot spring experience near Buena Vista.

Alex Derr, Founder of The Next Summit

Alex Derr is an Eagle Scout, climber, and environmental policy expert located in Denver, Colorado. He created The Next Summit to help others stay safe exploring the mountains and advocate to preserve the peaks for the future. Follow him on Linkedin or Twitter or click here to contact him.

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