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If you’ve never experienced Colorado’s natural hot springs, the best, and arguably, the most popular is Strawberry Park Hot Springs located just outside of Steamboat Springs. We’re talking deep relaxation and soaking in a remote and rustic, yet modern, outdoor setting, surrounded by the beauty of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. And yes, it is also family-friendly.
Say hello to Ski Town U.S.A. with its 98 winter Olympians, more than any other North American town. While Steamboat Springs is known for its family-friendly ski resort with champagne powder snow and year-round activities, it is also home to the equally popular Strawberry Park Hot Springs.
Located seven miles from this northwestern Colorado mountain town, these hot springs are totally worth the detour from the ski area and downtown Steamboat Springs. Read on why you should include a family getaway to Strawberry Park Hot Springs in Steamboat.
A 3-hour scenic road trip from Denver, Steamboat Springs serves up an array of four-season activities. Get outdoors and enjoy everything from skiing and snowboarding to biking and hiking, because these mountain towns are all about the great outdoors.
No matter the season you choose to visit, Strawberry Park Hot Springs can soothe your body aches from a day of skiing or mountain biking the trails.
History of Strawberry Park Hot Springs
Hot springs have long been considered sacred by the Native Americans, and they named this area “Medicine Spring.”
These natural springs changed hands several times over the decades. In 1980 a private developer purchased the land and then created a tourist destination with several bathing pools, terraces, retaining walls and small buildings.
What to Bring to Hot Springs
Wear your swimsuits under loose-fitting warm clothes. While you can rent a towel at the entrance, these are small, so it’s recommended to bring your own. Bring a plastic bag for your wet clothing. Changing rooms are also available.
If visiting after dark, bring a flashlight for after dark as there is no lighting – which makes it perfect for stargazing. While all ages are welcome, clothing is optional after dark.
Picnic areas are available for those wanting to bring a picnic. However, no food or drink is allowed in the pools.
Bring and drink plenty of water, and this is a good time to remind travelers that altitude sickness is a real thing. Water and other drinks are available for sale at the entrance if you should forget, but no alcohol or glass is allowed.
Full-service bathrooms are available, but no showers and no lockers.
In the winter (especially), the winding dirt road and then stone stairways leading to the pools are slick. Wear shoes with a good grip.
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Bring cash – entrance fee is $20 per person! No credit cards are accepted.
NOTE: Pools are drained and cleaned 7-10 AM every Wednesday and Thursday.
Winter Driving To and From Steamboat Springs
When visiting during the winter and/or driving to and from Denver to Steamboat Springs, Colorado’s winter weather and driving conditions can change from one-mile marker to the next.
Maneuvering the state’s county roads and mountain passes, such as Rabbit Ears Pass, can be nail-biting and dangerous. In winter, you must have a 4 wheel-drive vehicle to reach Strawberry Park Hot Springs. The road is narrow, winding, unpaved, and packed with snow and ice. In fact, in the winter, two-wheeled drive vehicles are not permitted on County Road 36.
If you’re not familiar with mountain driving, then consider flying directly into Steamboat Springs or booking a shuttle service to and from Denver International Airport. Alternatively, Sweet Pea Tours offers 4-wheel drive shuttles to and from your hotel or condo to the hot springs.
Arrival at the Hot Springs
Strawberry Park Hot Springs is the perfect family-friendly setting for relaxation with its five naturally fed, cascading hot mineral-rich pools surrounded by hand-laid stones set along the mountain Hot Springs Creek. The pool floors are covered in sand.
Surrounding the pools are natural wood Adirondack chairs (some fully recline), mainly used for draping towels on in winter when everyone is in the geothermal water to stay warm. A large stone gazebo area is perfect for picnicking in warm weather.
Four of the soaking pools range in temperature from 101 to 106 degrees F. For those more adventurous, take a cold plunge in the fifth pool, which is actually cold creek water, and then warm up in the other hot springs pools. For small children, consider the tiny, shallow, slightly cooler pool closer to the creek.
A reminder that if you plan to visit with kids, be aware that after dark the hot springs are clothing optional.
TravelingMom Tip: The hottest hot spring pool will be closest to the creek.
Lodging at Strawberry Park Hot Springs
Maximize your hot springs experience by staying off the grid with lodging at Strawberry Park.
Even the lodging that has been added for those who wish to camp, hike and relax in the pools, fits in with the serene environment. Choose from tent sites, rustic cabins, covered wagons and even a train caboose available for nightly rental.
Strawberry Hot Springs: What You Need To Know
- Reservations are required and typically released one month in advance.
- Entrance fee $20. Cash or check only, no credit cards!
- Even when hiking the Hot Springs Trail, reservations are still required to enter the pools.
- Consider elevating your experience by booking massages or watsu aquatic therapy.
COVID-specific restrictions (subject to change but current as of today):
- Pool reservations are mandatory; no walk-ups or sightseeing.
- Cabin guests use the pools from 8 p.m. – 10 a.m. (overnight).
- Guests are asked to wear masks at all times except when in the water. Social distancing requirements are currently in place.
- Massage and watsu therapy is available by advance appointment only.
For more information and updates on COVID restrictions, visit strawberryhotsprings.com
Want to add to your hot springs experience in Colorado? Consider visiting the Old Town Hot Springs in Steamboat Springs, offering hot springs with multiple pools.
This is a update of a post written by Christina Bird.