Best hot springs near Salida & Buena Vista
Since the original settlement of the west, people have flocked to mineral hot springs. And who can blame them?! In my book, hot springs are the greatest idea mother nature ever had! We are fortunate to have many hot springs within driving distance of Salida. Here is a quick overview of the nearest springs. This is definitely one of the best things to do in Salida or Buena Vista.
Mt. Princeton Hot Spring Resort is a historic hot spring near Buena Vista that has undergone major renovations transforming the property into a beautiful spa suitable for all ages. This hot spring is very close to Buena Vista so it is fun to have a meal or a drink in town while you are out that way.
I love the adults-only “spa” side of the hot springs. The daily fee is higher for this part of the pools, so if you go this route plan to spend a few hours enjoying the beautiful hot-tub size pools, steam room, sauna and cold dunk pool. A little BCR hack is to buy a foot soak at the Spa (or any other spa treatment) which grants you free access to the pools. The foot soak is the same cost as a day pass, so why not?!
If you’re on a budget or traveling with the kids, the best thing to do is to skip the adults-only side. This side is only $35 for adults and $30 for kids; this pass still gives you access to the most unique part of the property: the creekside hot springs. The Chalk Creek flows through the property and the frigid mountain water meets extremely hot water from the hot springs. This creates natural pools that are perfect for soaking up the minerals and the sun’s rays. This part of the springs is still pretty authentic to its natural formations – you must crawl over rocks in the river to reach a pool that you find comfortable. Once settled, you have an unbelievably beautiful view and unique soak. For kids, the regular day use side also has an awesome water slide and lazy river feature!
Joyful Journeys is another favorite in the area. I think of it as the “hippie hot springs” while Mt. Princeton is more of a resort experience. The springs have small pools about the size of a large hot tub surrounded by clear windows to protect from the wind without obstructing the gorgeous scenery. The views from this location are amazing: look out over grassy meadows to the stunning mountain range in the distance. Visiting this springs also gets you closer to two of my favorite attractions: Great Sand Dunes National Park and Colorado Gators Reptile Park (think Tiger King but with reptiles). Joyful Journeys is $ 15 a day.
The Salida Aquatic Center is our local hot springs is also worth a visit, especially if you don’t have time to make the drive to Mt. Princeton or Joyful Journeys. This hot springs is more similar to your neighborhood pool than a hot tub or spa type of experience. The property has a large pool fed by the natural spring water and is open to everyone. Open swim hours are in the afternoon, or take an aquatic class most mornings. $6 for 90 minutes
Tips for your first hot springs adventure:
A few suggestions for any hot springs you choose to visit: be sure to bring a water bottle, shoes that can get wet, and a bathrobe or loose jacket to wear between the pools. A hat and sunscreen for the outdoor tubs are also essentials that tend to get left behind. It may be chilly out but the sun is strong in the Rocky Mountains and you will be grateful for a little coverage if you plan to spend the day outside.