Six hot springs within 3.5 hours of Durango, from activity-packed to laid-back

by Patty Templeton

Sweet baby Moses, 2017 has been a loud-squawking, tense year. America’s been a rage-hole fulla bad news, hard times, and no break between the two. This dumpster-beast of a year wants to destroy you, but WHY LET IT?

You need a day away. Take a breath and let those shoulders shrink down from your ears. Stop looking at that pile of get-done. As Mark Twain put it, “Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow, just as well.” When a dead literary genius tells you to take a break, take a dang break.

Here are six hot springs within three-and-a-half hours of Durango that may finally soak the knot-bricks outta your back.

Close by: Trimble Spa and Natural Hot Springs, Durango Founded by veteran Frank Trimble as a way to soothe his war wounds, Trimble Hot Springs has been a therapeutic respite for Durango since 1882. For $19 you get a day pass that includes three pools fed by mineral-rich hot springs that fire up to 110 degrees. (Note, the largest, Olympic-sized pool is fed by city water and heated up, not hot springs.)

If you don’t want to submerge your whole day away, Trimble also has massage (not included with entry fee) and a sauna (included) to sweat your stress out in. This place is perfect for dreary, near-winter days when you need a bit of close-to-home soul fuel.

Family-friendly: Ouray Hot Springs Pool, OurayIf you have a family or friend getaway coming up where nobody’s in the mood for the same thing, hit up Ouray Hot Springs Pool. It’s been a restorative Colorado getaway since the 1920s and has five man-made pools to slide into that are fed from seven different hot springs. Kids, or your almost-too-high friend, can enjoy the shallow pool at a comfortable 92 to 98 degrees. There’s an activity pool, a lap pool, a scenic overlook pool, and a hot pool that will warm your bones at 100 to 106 degrees.

It’s only $18 to get an adult in here, and, come on, you know you want a hot spring with an unlimited slide pass that costs 3 bucks.

Naked!: Orvis Hot Springs, RidgwayStrip down and slip into one of seven soaking zones at Orvis Hot Springs. The naturally-fed, manmade pools and private tubs range from 98 to 112 degrees. Seriously though, let the boobs and boomstick dangle if you want to. Orvis is a clothing-optional hot spring where the only place a towel is necessary is in the hallways of the main building. Just be comfy with the possibility of being the only naked or only clothed person in your sauna and water experiences.

It’s only $22 for a day’s soaking pass that lasts from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Want to relax after hours? All guests at the lodge and RV/tent campground can use the hot springs all night long when it goes super quiet and meditative. Pro-tip: If you’re going full vacay and not just for a soak, book far in advance. Orvis only has six rooms in its lodge and camping space is a first-come basis.

On your way to Santa Fe: Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa, Ojo Caliente, NM Sometimes, you gotta get the hella away from home and out of Colorado. When you’re feeling the itch to kick the bricks to a bigger city, say Santa Fe, you’re going to want to get your road trip soak at Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa. There, mineral waters swizzle from a subterranean volcanic aquifer to 11 pools with temperature ranges of 80 to 109 degrees.

This place looks like the kind of resort you see in a romantic comedy starring Antonio Banderas and Keanu Reeves. It’s a sexy, southwestern kind of charm with an extensive spa service including rejuvenating facials, Native American Blue Corn and Prickly Pear Salt Scrubs, and deep tissue massage. They even have a mud pool. Days passes range from $20 to $38 depending on what time and day of the week it is.

Tits-high in luxury: Dunton Hot Springs, DoloresDunton Hot Springs is not a normal person’s vacay. Basically, the only way you’re getting there is if a villainously rich sexpot strolls a limo next to you while you’re walking down Main, rolls the window down, and says, “Come away with me.”

We’re talking 13 authentically-restored, Pinterest-perfect cabins spaciously circled around a saloon and with six different spots to take in the private hot springs, including a renovated 19th century bathhouse and under the wide sky at the source of the 85 to 106-degree waters. But it’ll cost ya. The absolute cheapest you’ll get here is $630 a night (winter/spring price), but hey, at least all your meals and water activities are included.

World’s deepest: The Springs Resort & Spa, Pagosa SpringsThe Guinness World Record-holder for The World’s Deepest Geothermal Hot Spring is the Great Pagosah Spring that feeds the 23 soaking pools at The Springs Resort & Spa. This main spring gets up to 144 degrees before it cools to the less deadly, more lovely range of 81 to 110 degrees in public areas.

You wanna get a massage? They got massages, and if you grab yourself a 60-minute or longer spa service (like hot stone massage, AquaZen Therapy, or a Hydrate and Calm Facial), The Springs Resort will give you a free soaking pass for the day. Not bad, considering the prices normally range from $26 to $53 for soaking privileges.

Bonus: The resort is situated next to the San Juan River. You can polar plunge the day away if you’re feeling like a near-freeze of 34 degrees.

Patty Templeton


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