Water has a way of bringing us together.
My husband put it simply last weekend, when we spied children donning swimsuits and floaties and contagious smiles. “Man,” I said, “kids really love the water.”
“We all do,” he replied. “You can do things in the water that you can’t anywhere else. It’s like living a dream.”
After splashing, floating, and treading—feeling weightless and rejuvenated, it was hard to disagree. Water is whimsical, youthful, and therapeutic. Your hair gets wet, your fingers pruny, and your soul refreshed. Sometimes you emerge from the shallows a different person—maybe more relaxed, liberated, or authentic.
At Old Town Hot Springs in Steamboat Springs, the dreaminess of the water is undeniable. Even more obvious is the fun factor, which carries you from check in to closing time.
Old Town Hot Springs is located at the beginning of Steamboat Springs, acting as a big welcome as you make your way into the Colorado ski resort town.
Steamboat Springs is a renowned destination, known for their champagne powder, Olympic ski jump hill, gorgeous mountain surroundings, and the healing waters that continue to bring visitors of all ages to soak.
In the 1800s, French trappers traveling through the Yampa Valley thought they heard the chugging sound of a steamboat’s engine. To their surprise, it was instead the sound of a natural mineral spring. The full force and power of the healing waters was recognized and thus, the town found its name and Steamboat Springs was born.
Before that, the Ute Tribe appreciated the flowing waters for their medicinal properties. The area was considered a sacred place of both physical and spiritual healing.
The famous Heart Spring feeds its mineral waters into Old Town Hot Springs, and has for nearly 100 years. The geothermal water flows naturally from the ground at about 220 gallons per minute, without the use of a man-made pump. The heated water then runs into an overflow system, which goes and fills each of the eight pools on the Old Town property.
Today, Old Town is an independent, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that blends historic roots with modern facilities. The hot springs is a stop along the Colorado Historic Hot Springs Loop, and is a staple both for the community and for travelers passing through.
Everything seems grand at Old Town Hot Springs. There are eight different pools, all with different eye-catching features. Swimmers can enjoy fountains and unique pool shapes on one end, lap lanes and a children’s play area in another, and everything from a climbing wall to cabanas to a summertime obstacle course. The can’t-miss water slides shoot out of the building from above, almost like a frame. It’s unmistakably modern, especially as the fitness center windows reflect the sunlight upon the property.
There’s a lot to take in and look at. The colors are vibrant and the energy is lively. There’s also a major element of beauty: like everywhere in Steamboat Springs, you can’t escape the scenic mountain-scape.
During our visit to Old Town, we marveled at the landscape and surrounding colors, popping with autumn red and yellow hues. We couldn’t keep our eyes off of the flowers, which paired so pleasantly with the blue sky above.
From the giant water slides to the bright colors and everywhere in between, Old Town Hot Springs is family-friendly. It’s a gathering space for the community, where members can swim in the pools, exercise in the gym or participate in fitness classes, or treat their kids to a day of fun.
There is a definite community center vibe; visitors should not necessarily go here and expect total peace and quiet. It’s not really geared toward adults—while there is an adult-only pool with higher temps and a little more privacy, most of the facilities are made with families in mind.
It’s a refreshing change of pace for a high-end resort town. Old Town makes Steamboat a little more approachable. Our visit was a nice reprieve before our hundred-dollar dinner bill; still extremely nice, but not an adventure that will break the bank.
As a soaker, the water at Old Town is meant to be enjoyed. After checking in and using the locker room facilities (which have lockers and showers), the pools await.
We tried to experience each pool and enjoy the unique features in each. For us, we loved the quieter wings where we could soak by the fountains and the flowers. We sat underneath the waterfall and liked feeling the heat spread across our shoulders. We also liked watching several girls attempt to master the climbing wall nearby, showcasing their fearlessness as they climbed above the nine-foot-deep pool below.
For the sake of adventure, we also tried out the water slides. Sure enough, it was a thrill. We climbed our way up the stairs to the platform—a shocking 230-feet—where I tried to get out of it. I let some impatient 10-year-old boys ahead of us. My husband urged me on, saying, “Do it for the blog.” Those tactics worked.
On the count of three, we were able to enter the two separate slides at the same time, and go together. We appreciated that, and saw it as a racing opportunity. The slide itself did not disappoint: it twisted and turned and had me going faster than I anticipated. It was a thrill. At the very end, I was spit out with my legs above my head, splashing full-force with water up my nose.
Am I glad I did it? Absolutely. Did I do it again? Not at all. We made our way over to the adult section, giggling and excitedly recapping our slide trauma. If visitors want to add a little adrenaline and youthful fun into their trip, add the slides. You won’t be sorry.
When visiting Steamboat Springs, make Old Town a prioritized stop. Go for a hike, wander through the botanical gardens, wander through downtown, and then make a splash in some fun-loving geothermal pools.
You’ll laugh and smile as you swim, realizing that this powerful water brings out the best in you.
|All Day||Twilight (7:45-9:45 pm)||Pool 10 Pack|
|Youth (3-14) – $12||$12||$5||$100|
|Seniors (65+) – $12||$12||$5||$100|
|2 & under – Free||Free||Free||Free|
Hours: 5:30 a.m. – 10 p.m. (Weekdays), 7 a.m. – 10 p.m. (Weekends)
Bring: Quarters for a locker (there are different prices according to size, between $0.25 and $0.50), sunscreen, water, a towel (though you can rent them and a suit at the front desk), and slip on shoes (it gets hot on the deck and cement).
Remember: You are allowed to bring in food and drinks, though no alcohol is allowed or served. You have to keep these items at least 5 feet away from the pool at all times.
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