Chilly days are here to stay, so there's no better time to check out Colorado's many hot springs, including the ones on our recent list of ten great hot springs. Iron Mountain Hot Springs is the newest spot on that list; though the earthy, warm water source is obviously not fresh on the scene, the mini-resort surrounding it is. Iron Mountain boasts sixteen pools for multi-temperature relaxing — not to mention an elevated whirlpool overlooking a larger, fresh-water pool. This is an entirely different place than Glenwood Spring's most famous, Olympic-size hot- water spot, another interesting option in the quaint mountain town.
Situated on the banks of the Colorado River, Iron Mountain Hot Springs offers an unparalleled view of its beautiful mountain surroundings. Just outside the locker rooms, a maze of pools zig-zag down the terraced landscape — this is the calmer area of the property, focusing on relaxation in waters that range from 99 degrees to 108 degrees. Not far off is the 90 degree family-friendly pool, supervised by a lifeguard and a perfect spot for kids to play. Next to it sits a whirlpool for parents who want to rest while still being able to keep an eye on little ones.
All pools feed off of two major geothermal springs — one coming out of the earth at 102 degrees and the other at 109 degrees — and a well, which pumps out 120 degree water. All the water is moved quickly to a central location, where it is mixed and fed into the pools at varying temperatures. The travel time for the water from natural spring to relaxing area is around three minutes, with fresh water turning over every ninety minutes to two hours in each pool. This means fresh water is exchanged roughly twelve to fifteen times a day. All of the water eventually drains off into the Colorado River — as it has for millions of years.
Just because Iron Mountain Hot Springs is new to the scene — it opened in July — doesn't mean the land isn't rich with history. "There was a beautiful Victorian three-story mansion on this property at one point: the Saturday Evening Post even rated it as one of the top destinations in the United States, back when it was known as the Iron Springs," shares Steve Beckley, one of the owners of Iron Mountain Hot Springs. This was back in the late 1800s, and though Iron Springs survived many more decades, it fell into disrepair in the 1960s and '70s until it was eventually torn down in the '90s, Victorian mansion and all.
Beckley and his business partners have had their eyes on the property for quite some time, as they also own the Glenwood Cavern Adventure Park, just up the mountain. For more than a dozen years they watched the hot springs pour from the ground and right into the river, unused. Then a few years ago, the group decided that adding a hot springs to their complex of an already buzzing amusement park, mountainous cavern and tramway that runs up the attractions just made sense. After purchasing the property, they went to work building out Iron Mountain Hot Springs. The result is a beautiful, relaxing, casual atmosphere for those wishing to soak or play.
Iron Mountain Hot Springs also has food and drink on site at its Sopris Café, offering pizza, sandwiches, frozen yogurt and more. There's a full bar with service directly to the pools on most evenings. The area offers plenty of places to relax when you're out of the water, with tables and patio recliners dotting the property. The best part, though, is the view of the mountains— from the warmer, secluded tubs to the big pool and covered patio, there's not a bad seat in the house. Winter or summer, Iron Mountain Hot Springs is a dreamy vacation spot just a few hours from Denver.
Iron Mountain Hot Springs is open year-round, closed only on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas; hours vary at the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, connecting tram and cave. For more information, prices, hours and additional amenities, visit the geothermal spring's website or the amusement park's online home.