Colorado’s hot springs are world famous and a great day (or night) trip for many travelers. However, many of those hot springs have been commercialized with entry fees or resorts built around them making traveling a little more difficult.
The good news is that there are still some undeveloped hot springs left in Colorado that are free to access. These six hot springs are still undeveloped and accessible off of various hiking trails. As the weather gets colder, consider making these hot springs your next destination.
Below are some of our favorite undeveloped hot springs in Colorado!
Radium Hot Springs, Radium
Radium Springs is a single pool that interested parties must hike into or find another means of transport. You’ll find this hidden gem near the banks of the Colorado River just south of Radium, Colorado. Radium is approximately 2 hours west of Denver. The pool temperature is around 90 degrees, about the temp of a warm bath and is a favorite of thrill-seekers that come to the area to cliff-dive off of a 60-foot overhang into the Colorado River.
The pool is approximately 20 feet in diameter, making it fairly small. It’s separated from the river by a line of rocks. Though it can be reached on foot via a 20-minute hike, the easiest way to access it is by swimming, kayaking or rafting in. In fact, although this is an undeveloped hot spring, we recommend wearing a suit or clothes into it as rafters will frequently stop by on their way down the river and crowd the spring, especially in the summertime.
Conundrum Hot Springs, Aspen
Conundrum Hot Springs sits at the top of a long hike in the White River National Forest. It’s marked at 8.25 either way, but some hikers have found the route to be closer to 10 miles each way. It isn’t considered a day hike, and most campers recommend at least staying overnight to truly enjoy it (and avoid the danger of mountain lions and bears on the dark trails.) There are campsites near the top of the hike, but these are minimal sites with no running water or restrooms.
Once up at the hot springs, you’re able to look out over the canyon from the comfort of the spring. The center reaches approximately 102 degrees and is the hottest point of the pool. The hike is popular and there are usually plenty of other campers around, so be sure to pack a bathing suit. Aspen is approximately 3 hours southwest of Denver.
Penny Hot Springs, Carbondale
Penny Hot Springs is on the banks of the Crystal River just south of Carbondale. The hot springs sit at the mouth of the granite section of the Narrows, a canyon cut by the River. These hot springs are easily found just past a parking lot on the east side of Highway 133 just north of mile marker 55.
There are no amenities at the Penny Hot Springs so you must pack in, pack out everything you’ve got. The spring is only 20 feet across and 2 feet deep, accommodating about 10-12 people at once. This hot spring is approximately 3 hours west of Denver.
South Canyon Hot Springs, Glenwood Springs
This site features two pools, although the second smaller pool is murky and not as popular. However, the main pool is pretty spacious and several previous visitors have set up crates and even white plastic chairs to offer some seating around the pool.
This pool runs anywhere from 102 to 112 degrees and varies in size depending on the weather. It is off the beaten path with a short hike, but well worth it. Keep in mind that some people do go without clothing, so keep an eye out when traveling with small children. Glenwood Springs is nearly 3 hours west of Denver, and this location is pretty close to Penny Hot Springs to the north.
Rainbow (West Fork) Hot Springs, Pagosa Springs
This hike near Pagosa Springs is a local favorite. It’s quite lengthy, taking approximately 7 hours to cover the 10 miles, but the scenery is worth it. The trail ascends in elevation through pine trees and winds past two waterfalls. The trail itself follows the west fork of the San Juan River and Beaver Creek, and the lulling sounds of crashing water over rocks. There are plenty of campsites on the trail near the springs on a first-come-first-served basis.
The actual hot springs are located off to the left of the trail down a cliff. The pool is full of algae and quite warm, and the scenery looks similar to something out of Lord of the Rings. A hotter spring was once located nearby but was reportedly washed out, however, if you have the energy it’s worth looking for another pool closer to the springs.
Pagosa Springs is approximately five hours southwest of Denver near the border of New Mexico.