Did you know that Colorado is riddled with natural hot springs? There are hot springs resorts, natural sites, pay-to-enjoy options and earn-your-soak hikes, too! Would you prefer the relaxing environment of a natural spring over the commercial offerings throughout the state?
You’ve come to the right place!
Here is our list of top natural, primitive hot springs in Colorado in no particular order. All of these are free to visit, some require a hike, and some are clothing optional. All of these spots are free, natural, and worth the visit. Enjoy responsibly!
1. Penny Hot Springs – 3.5 hours from Denver – GPS 39.240347,-107.233214
Penny is a small roadside attraction that does not require any hiking at all. The spring sits on the bank of the Crystal River, and is a short drive from Carbondale, CO. Because the springs sit on the river, oftentimes you have to circulate the water to prevent from being cold on one side, and hot on the other. While we wouldn’t recommend a trip from Denver just for this destination, if you’re in the area it’s worth a stop.
2. Radium Hot Springs – 2.5 hours from Denver – GPS 39.95993,-106.54072
Radium has several different ways to approach due to it’s location on the Colorado River. You can float to it, hike to it, or Jeep (close) to it. There are dozens of great camping sites nearby, and this can create some small crowds. Having said that, it’s one of the closest primitive hot springs to Denver, and one of the best options for a weekend camping trip.
3. Piedra River Hot Springs – 5.5 hours from Denver – GPS 37.3119500,-107.3553300
Near Pagosa Springs, this spring requires a short hike (3 miles roundtrip). The pools are ever-changing, as people will adjust rocks and walls according to their preference and seasonal needs. The best time to go is summer through early fall as the jeep road may be snow-covered in the off-season, and the pools buried under streams of cold water.
4. Rainbow Hot Springs – 5 hours from Denver – GPS 37.508483,-106.947490
Visiting Rainbow requires a moderate hike (10 miles roundtrip), but you are rewarded with a steamy 105° soak. The hot springs sits along the San Juan River, and many visitors camp overnight. The trek is worth it and crosses insane alpine vistas and plenty of waterfalls, so take your time and enjoy! Conditions can vary seasonally, and crowds can vary dramatically.
5. South Canyon Hot Springs – 3 hours from Denver – GPS 39.5519250,-107.4125533
South Canyon has a reputation for frequent muddy conditions, and is usually only visited by locals. (Shh! Don’t tell them we sent you!) The views are fantastic, and there are usually a few chairs laying around for comfort. Recommended summer through early fall.
6. Conundrum Hot Springs – 5 hours from Denver – GPS 39.0119444,-106.8908333
This is the hot spring everyone is probably telling you about. Conundrum is not recommended during the colder months unless you are certified to navigate high avalanche risk territory, but it sees huge crowds during the summer. The remote location makes the beauty of the landscape hard to beat. In spite of the 17-mile roundtrip hike, crowds can be big, and can oftentimes be downright overwhelming for such a remote location. Visit on a weekday to avoid the noise, and be prepared for abundant nudity. Nonetheless, Conundrum is everything that a hot spring should be, and remains a necessary visit for any adventure enthusiast willing to make the hike.