In the steep mountains of Colorado’s southwest, plan an overnight stay in Ouray. Known as the “Switzerland of America,” Ouray and its alpine views will give you the chills (as will the low nightly temperatures). Warm up in Ouray’s natural hot springs. You can relax in the town’s public hot springs pools, or indulge in the exclusive springs inside some of Ouray’s top lodging options. Either way, make it an overnight for the full hot-springs-under-the-stars experience.
The Hot Springs Inn
The Hot Springs Inn is the best bet for proximity to Ouray’s public Hot Springs Pool. The pool is open year round, although best enjoyed in the cooler months of fall and winter. This soaking spot has been a fixture in Ouray since 1927, attracting travelers and remedy-seekers from all over. It’s worth planning a full afternoon and evening here – especially well-earned after a day of hiking and exploring the network of scenic trails around Ouray.
Inside the Hot Springs Pool, you’ll find a number of pools naturally heated to different temperatures, water slides for the kids, and a mountain panorama on all sides. The pool stays open until 9pm, so you can stay long enough to catch an alpine sunset before walking back to the Hot Springs Inn, just next door to the north.
More than just a neighbor to the Hot Springs Pool, the Hot Springs Inn is a complete alpine lodge experience. As well-established landmark on Ouray’s Main Street, the place glows with cozy local charm. Each room has a balcony overlooking the river with mountain views, and a fireplace. You’ll be welcomed by a friendly staff and treated to a continental breakfast in the morning.
Twin Peaks Lodge and Hot Springs
Not your average Best Western, the Twin Peaks Lodge has its own hot springs pools on site. Sign up for high romance at Twin Peaks, where you and your mate can explore Ouray’s outdoor wonderland by day and soak in the private hot springs pool and tubs by night. The resort-style ambience wows with the trademark mountainsides of Ouray surrounding it, a cozy fire pit, and a poolside tiki bar.
Twin Peaks Lodge will help you arrange jeep trips and point you toward all sorts of outdoor fun, but the place really specializes in activities after nightfall. The on-site MineShaft Pizzeria serves up piping hot mountain pies. Its pool and tubs are prime territory for sunset watching, drink sipping, star gazing, and just soaking it all in after dark. Get a luxurious night’s sleep on pillow-top mattresses, and wake up to a complimentary hot breakfast in the morning.
Box Canyon Lodge and Hot Springs
Box Canyon Lodge pumps its own geothermal water, with all its hot mineral goodness, from the ground, through its system, and into its four redwood tubs. Sink into waters of between 103 and 108 degrees, with 360 degrees of mountain views around you.
Mid-day or after dark, summer or winter, there’s never a bad time to bliss out in an atmosphere like this. Recommended, though, is a morning hike to the waterfall at nearby Box Canyon, then a late day soak in the tubs to catch the sunset and watch the stars come out until you lose count.
To ward off the chill of alpine nights, opt for a suite with a fireplace. And don’t be afraid to turn up the thermostat – Box Canyon Lodge uses its water’s thermal energy to heat the building, too. This has allowed the hotel to decrease its natural gas usage by 70% in the past four years.