Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes are a wonder to behold. Literal mountains of sand—always shifting, morphing, and glowing against a scenic mountain backdrop—exist, a little out of place.
These mounds of sand tower over inhabitants and visitors, transforming Mosca, Colorado into a Sahara-like desert.
Nearby this place where sand covers all who dare to wander is another awe-inspiring attraction. Glistening waters await.
No, it’s not a mirage.
Sand Dunes Swimming Pool & RV Park is a few miles away from the sandy mountains, and acts as an oasis. It’s a geothermal blessing dressed as a family-friendly swimming venue; a hot springs worth soaking the evening away.
Sand Dunes Recreation, as it’s known locally, is an ideal stop for soakers wearing many hats: lodgers (including RV, tent, and hotel guests), Sand Dunes adventurers, and locals gather at this hot springs watering hole to relax, recharge, and enjoy the scenery.
Upon entering the hot springs, one thing is very apparent: this low-key facility (packed with high-key fun) was created for and by a community.
The employees want you to enjoy yourself. The venue itself is packed-full with amenities that encourage a good time.
Prices, which include admission, a diverse menu of food, and rentals, are affordable and accessible to all guests. There are a few lockers available for rent, but most visitors stash their stuff along the sides of the pool; beyond easy viability, there’s a small town charm and a layer of trust that the pool is a safe space.
There’s a lot to take in.
Right away, obvious features include a therapy pool (for those over the age of 15) at 105 degrees, 1-foot wading pool, a kid-friendly natural slide, two diving boards, a cabana, and the holy grail: a large, 98-ish degree pool with killer views and loads of splashing.
My husband and I spent hours in the large hot springs pool. We were able to release the tension of our (super cold) camping and Sand Dune hiking soreness from our bodies, as well as have a little fun. I’m a big fan of squirting water through cupped hands, while Chad likes to flip my floating device in retaliation.
We found a few noodles and foam boards and enjoyed the refreshingly cool juxtaposition of chilly October weather. The kid-friendly atmosphere also let us giggle as babies splashed and showed off their biggest smiles. In the background, period music allowed us to show off our best 60s, 70s, and 80s-inspired dance moves.
Into the Greenhouse
Perhaps our favorite part of our Sand Dunes Pool experience took place when we ushered ourselves into a private door. We peered down a dark hallway with neon lights, our curiosity peeking.
We found ourselves sliding into the Greenhouse, a 21-and-over indoor section of the hot springs. With an additional $5 fee, of-age guests can find a little peace and quiet, surrounded by gorgeous greenery.
The space is filled with plants—everything from cactus to flowering shrubbery. There are a few grassy areas, just waiting for your bare feet to comb through.
The hot springs layout is a little different than the large and in-charge pool out back; in addition to a 10-person sauna and three small and cozy hot tub-style pools of varying temperatures, there is a long and narrow zero-entry pool right in the center, perfectly framing the adult-only area.
Deck and patio areas are plentiful, plus lots of lounge seating. There’s also a libation area called the Steel Box Bar, which has a long menu of items to fit just about any pallet. Chad found himself a coconut stout, while I sipped on a delicious Palm Breeze.
The temperature in the Greenhouse is a regulated 70 degrees year-round, which can make for a nice reprieve from harsh winds outside. It feels like a tropical excursion, through and through.
There’s an air of exclusivity here, though the $5 different isn’t exactly polarizing. We found that the Greenhouse is a must-do extra, especially if you are truly after a relaxing experience sans horseplay.
Whether you’re fresh off the dunes, tired after wrestling alligators (yes, that’s a real local activity!), or wandering through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Sand Dunes Swimming Pool is a must-stop. Rejuvenate your childlike spirit and body in these fun, humble, and diverse healing waters.
An oasis awaits.
|Adults – 13 & Over||$12.00|
|Children – 3 to 12||$8.00|
|Children – 2 and under||FREE|
|Seniors – 65+||$10.00|
|College Students (with ID)||$10.00|
Passes and punch cards are also available for purchase, and are sold for individuals, couples, and families. Also be on the lookout for themed nights with admission specials.
More information is available at sanddunespool.com/admission.
Hours: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. peak season, with other hours in the off-season. Closed every Thursday for cleaning.
Bring: Cash and coins for pool-side snacks and rentals, an extra $5 and your ID for the Greenhouse, sunscreen, water, a towel (though they can be rented on-site), and slip on shoes.
Remember: You can bring your own food and drinks to enjoy. Lockers are on a first-served basis, so leave valuables in the car. You can also rent sandboards and sleds for the Sand Dunes at the gift shop.