Hot springs are magical – even very young children seem to understand. Visiting one of Colorado’s many hot springs is a perfect way to explore the state with your family. And what kid doesn’t like the idea of adorning a bathing suit, flip-flops, and a bathrobe in the cold of winter? How about catching snowflakes on their tongue while in a giant bathtub of warm water? Even us really big kids love that!
You thought hot springs were only a cool-weather activity? Each of the featured family-friendly Colorado hot springs has either cold pools or cooler hot spring pools too – for warmer days.
And if you couldn’t believe you read “kids” and “hot springs” in the same sentence, fear not. Sure, your family trip won’t be quite as relaxing as those days before you had little ones turning your world upside down. But you’ll still get to soak in some minerals. For kids full of summer energy, all the featured hot springs (except the last two) have at least one waterslide; and what those two non-slide hot spring lacks in manmade thrill, they make up for in natural adventure.
Disclaimer: Water poses an inherent danger to little humans – and even big humans. Rivers are especially dangerous because of the current. Always make sure your child is supervised and you have taken appropriate safety precautions. Consult with a physician about safe water temperatures for you and your child.
Top 6 Family-Friendly Colorado Hot Springs:
Glenwood Hot Springs Pool | Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Glenwood Springs is famous for its two very large hot springs pools. In fact, Glenwood Hot Springs has the largest hot springs pool in the world! Another interesting fact: nomadic Ute Indians were the first people to soak in the natural mineral water in Glenwood Springs.
From at least Memorial Day to Labor Day, your kids can bomb down the water slides or hang out in the kiddy pool. If you have a short danger mouse, they can still go down the slides with an adult.
Also in the area: Iron Mountain Hot Springs (minimum age requirement)
Hot Sulphur Springs Resort & Spa | Hot Sulphur Springs, Colorado
Although it sounds disappointing that only four of the 21 pools at Hot Sulphur Springs Resort & Spa are open to children under 12, your kids will be anything but upset. Two of the four are not very deep – and great for littler ones. ZB is tall, but she was able to stand in both pools by 2 years old. The Elk Pool is covered if you need to get out of the sun, wind, or winter weather for a little bit. If your kids can stand the heat, the hottest of the four lower pools has a waterfall (and lots of slimy moss to explore). Also, open in the summer, Hot Sulphur Springs has a large cold pool and waterslide.
Escape without the kids to the upper pools and you will discover some of the most unique hot springs pools in Colorado.
Old Town Hot Springs | Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Whether you have a toddler or older kids, they’ll love Old Town Hot Springs in Steamboat Springs. And you will too. Located in the heart of downtown Steamboat Springs, “the pool,” as the local kids called it when I was growing up, has two slides with 230 feet of twisters and an aquatic rock climbing wall. For babies and toddlers, there is a splash pad with smaller water features, as well.
Hopefully you and your partner can sneak away to enjoy one of Old Town Hot Springs’ eight natural mineral pools. If sneaking away is not an option and you really need some alone time, there is on-sight childcare!
Also in the area: Strawberry Park Hot Springs (no kids after dark)
Ouray Hot Springs Pool | Ouray, Colorado
Located in a gorgeous box canyon, the Ouray Hot Springs Pool has several options for the little kids and big kids alike. A gigantic shallow pool for toddlers and the younger kids dominates the grounds. At one end, bigger kids can descend the slide or race other kids (or you!) across a giant floating obstacle course. Oh and did I mention the aquatic rock climbing wall? After an afternoon at Ouray Hot Springs, you are pretty much guaranteed that your kids will go to sleep right away.
For the biggest kids of them all, there are a couple of relaxing hot springs on the far end of Ouray Hot Springs Pool. And even the gigantic shallow pool is hot-springs warm with tarps to protect against the relentless Colorado summer sun. But the best part is the view, as the hot springs are surrounded by an impressive skyline dominated by the San Juan Mountains.
Tip: While the gigantic shallow pool is beautifully designed, it can be difficult to find someone if your group gets separated. Make sure to designate a meeting place.
Also in the area: Orvis Hot Springs (naturist/clothing-optional)
The Springs Resort & Spa | Pagosa Springs, Colorado
Another hot springs located in southwestern Colorado’s San Juan Mountains is The Springs Resort and Spa. The Pagosa Springs hot springs offers a family-friendly atmosphere with the Blue Lagoon, a 3-foot shallow pool for younger children. There is also a smaller wading pool. With many different, unique pools – and temperatures ranging from 83-114°F – you’ll be able to find one that is perfect for your kiddos. And they’ll be able to brag to their friends that they swam at the hot springs that holds the Guinness Book of World Record’s title for the World’s Deepest Geothermal Hot Springs (1002 feet deep!).
Penny Hot Springs | Carbondale, Colorado
Penny Hot Springs is a natural hot springs – not to be confused with a naturist hot springs! 🙂 The (very) hot water bubbles to the surface along the Crystal River outside of Carbondale. People jump into or float down the river to cool off from Penny Hot Springs. Our little one loved playing in the sandy banks of the Crystal River while we enjoyed a pool just big enough for two (and a half…when the cold river got the best of her).
The best part about Penny Hot Springs? It’s free! Just park in the small lot along the highway and follow the footpath down the steep embankment to the hot springs along the Crystal River below.
Also in the area: Avalanche Ranch Hot Springs
General Parent Tips for Colorado’s High-Country:
Make sure you and your kids are well-protected from the sun. Pack high SPF sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, and even a long sleeved shirt if possible.
Drink plenty of water. Colorado’s high altitude and arid climate requires lots of water to stay hydrated.
For more information about Colorado’s sun and high altitude, check out our Colorado Guide.
Are your family’s favorite Colorado hot springs on Nomad Colorado’s Top Kids Hot Springs list? If not, please let us know which hot springs your kids love best in the comment section below!