Taking the plunge

Three hot springs worth the drive

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Avalanche Ranch Cabins & Hot Springs

Though winter has settled in the Rocky Mountains, that doesn’t mean you have to settle for being cold all the time. Natural hot springs dot the landscapes of Colorado, from Clear Creek County to the Western Slope. But what makes a hot spring special? The people and places that surround it. So, turn your next winter weekend adventure into an expedition to the warmest of hot springs. Here are three —all with an excellent staff and a picturesque settings — to get you started.

Avalanche Ranch Cabins & Hot Springs, 12863 Highway 133, Redstone, 970-963-2846.
With three different pools situated in a tiered layout — ranging from 92 to 104 degrees — everyone can find the perfect soaking conditions at the Avalanche Ranch Cabins & Hot Springs. At this family-friendly site located just south of Carbondale, you’ll enjoy sweeping views of the nearly 13,000-foot Mount Sopris and can tap into the serenity of Avalanche Creek’s picturesque valley as you kick back and relax in the magic of naturally warm waters. Avalanche Ranch also offers trails for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, plus an ice-skating pond, so it’s an easy one-stop-shop for making the most of a winter day.
$16-$20 per person. Open daily (except Wednesdays) from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. for day guests, 24-hour access for overnight lodgers.

Indian Hot Springs

Indian Hot Springs, 302 Soda Creek Road, Idaho Springs, 303-989-6666.
Groan no more at Interstate 70 traffic forecasts on Sunday afternoons. Indian Hot Springs is a perfect mid-drive pitstop when making the commute to or from Summit County. After a day on the slopes, pull into this historic spa and enter a tropical paradise, where you can warm not only your toes but your entire body in the large 90- to 100-degree mineral pool — lined with banana and palm trees. Then explore the site’s geothermal caves, which were built in the early 1900s and are gender-specific and clothing-optional. These soak tubs are carved straight into the bedrock and can reach up to 112 degrees.
$18-$27.50 per person. Open daily from 9 a.m.-10:30 p.m, 24-hour access for overnight lodgers.

Orvis Hot Springs

Orvis Hot Springs,  1585 County Road 3, Ridgway, 970-626-5324.
Situated at the base of Mount Sneffels, the healing history of Orvis Hot Springs dates back centuries, when the Tabeguache band of Utes would journey here to soak in its calming, healing waters. With a particularly high lithium content, these mineral waters can help soothe skin conditions like eczema and arthritis, while also reducing stress and anxiety. The seven outdoor pools and three indoor pools — all are clothing optional (clothing is required indoor during the day) — let you design the perfect soaking experience. Try the “Island Pond” fed by a 127-degree spring, the 108- to 114-degree “Lobster Pot” or the 100-degree “North Pond.”
$18-$22 per person. Open daily from 9 a.m.-10 p.m. for day guests, 24-hour access for overnight lodgers.