How A Colorado Hot Springs Destination Recreates The Blue Lagoon And Other Famous Soaks

Colorado has no shortage of mineral hot springs. Heated by the Earth’s core, Mother Nature’s hot tubs bubble throughout the state with a couple dozen resorts connected by a Hot Springs Loop.

But one of the most unique hot springs destinations in the state is in Glenwood Springs, which is about an hour northwest of Aspen and home to Iron Mountain Hot Springs. The hot springs is adding a 21-and-up section this summer with special pools that mimic famous soaking waters from around the world.

Currently, Iron Mountain, which hangs over the Colorado River, boasts a large family pool plus 17 small pools that are connected by heated walkways and that range in size and temps that fluctuate between about 98 to 108 degrees Fahrenheit.

But one pool has emerged as a guest favorite since it was added last year: The “Experience Pool,” which has smooth stones on the bottom that add foot reflexology to the experience plus a mineral mix that changes to replicate other hot springs around the world. One month, the cosmopolitan pool might draw inspiration from the silica-rich, milky blue waters of Iceland’s Blue Lagoon; another, guests can slink into soaking waters reminiscent of Kinosaki, Japan that contain calcium, bicarbonate and sodium.

Since 2022, the team at Iron Mountain has drawn up several mineral recipes for its sole Experience Pool and now they’re planning to include some of them in the mix of new pools that are coming to the 21-and-up “Up River” section this summer. Contenders include the carbonic salts of Vichy, France, relaxing magnesium waters like those in Bath, England, potassium-rich waters like the ones you’d soak in at Calistoga Hot Springs in California and bicarbonate like what’s found in the thermal waters of Kırşehir, Turkey. The team also experimented with a salt-rich pool with the Dead Sea as a muse, but it was too hard on the pumps.

The springs that supply Iron Mountain are unique, too. Roughly 14 minerals are found in the water, with iron, sulfate, chloride, sodium and calcium the most abundant.

The new section will include eight new riverside pools, a cold plunge and a larger experience pool. Plus, there will be a cafe dishing out sushi and poke bowls, and delivering alcoholic beverages to those who don’t want to get out of the water.

Iron Mountain’s existing section has an on-site Sopris Cafe that serves flatbread pizzas, charcuterie, alcoholic beverages and more.

Where to Stay:

Slumber at the Hotel Colorado, a historic hotel that’s within walking distance of Glenwood’s downtown and also next to another hot spring in town, Glenwood Hot Springs Resort Pool, which bills itself as the world’s largest hot spring pool.

Notable guests of the hotel have included Teddy Roosevelt, William Taft and the “Unsinkable” Molly Brown. The lobby has roaring fireplaces, and the hotel has an on-site coffee shop and a restaurant and bar. Recently renovated, rooms have colorful patterned headboards juxtaposed with brick walls. In summer months, the hotel’s courtyard is filled with flowers and is a popular spot to sip on spritzes.

Tips for Visiting Iron Mountain Hot Springs:

  • Reservations are required and Iron Mountain Hot Springs offers three-hour soak times with a limited number of all-day passes. The hot springs are open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
  • Guests doing three-hour soaks receive one free towel. The second towel can be rented for $2.50 a piece, but you can also bring your own towels and robes.
  • Visiting in the winter? In addition to packing a robe, bring some sandals you can wear when hopping between pools and a winter hat.

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