Mt. Princeton Hot Springs
The Paw Print
Mt. Princeton Hot Springs:
Mt. Princeton Hot Springs is an hour and a half north of Alamosa on Highway 285 and just 15 minutes south of Buena Vista. This extensive resort has a plethora of amenities and accommodations. They can easily house large weddings and family reunions. The entire resort was recently remodeled and offers the nicest accommodations in both lodging and hot springs. Day passes range from $18 and up.
The upper parking lot houses a gas station and a convenience store as well as the lobby for the lodge. Park here and find the signs and stairway that leads you down to the springs. The stairway is made of stone, is well lit, and heated in the winter. This stairway leads you down to the bath house. Check in and purchase a pass here.
The Spa and Club side is adults only and offers a club house with snacks and beverages along with cascading Jacuzzi tubs and a large relaxation pool. The hot water is pumped into the tubs and pool. Though this is adequate, there is no connection with nature on this side.
The Upper Pool and water slide are only open in the summer months, Memorial Day to Labor Day and are an additional charge.
The Historic Bathhouse is what I prefer during my visits. There are two large pools with pumped-in hot mineral water. There is a unisex steam room in between the pools. Below these pools is Chalk Creek. The hot water bubbles up through the sand and chalk filled creek bed. It is also pumped in along the edge of the creek. Each pool is a natural formation of rocks that can be moved to regulate the temperature of the incoming creek with the hot mineral water bursting from the bed below. It is enjoyable to play in the rocks and sand, finding the sweet spot.
My most memorable visit to Mt. Princeton Hot Springs was in February. We arrived in the late afternoon as the sun was beginning its descent below the rugged Collegiate Peaks. The sunset light show was amazing. The temperatures dropped and we rearranged the rocks to make our pool warmer and deeper. It began to drizzle as we sunk lower in the water, just our eyes and noses protruding. Soon the drizzle turned to snow and we stayed for the icy show, sipping our coffees in the dark. To our surprise the snow soon dissipated, the clouds broke and the stars rained peaks of light through the navy night.
If you are feeling brave, join the polar bear club (in winter) and take a dip in the rushing waters of Chalk Creek!
Please check the website for details before your visit. http://www.mtprinceton.comBuena Vista:
Overnight stays in Buena Vista are highly recommended as the town is unique and has many delicious restaurants, breweries, museums, and a plethora of recreational opportunities. Stay tuned to the Paw Print in the weeks to come for more information on B.V.
Cottonwood Hot Springs:
Cottonwood Hot Springs is five and a half miles west of Buena Vista, and only one hour and forty minutes north of Alamosa. Cottonwood Hot Springs sits just above Cottonwood Creek in the majestic Collegiate Peaks area. Brand new lodge rooms, cabins, dormitory rooms, and tent sites are available for longer visits. A day pass to the hot springs is $15.
My best visit to date at Cottonwood Hot Springs was a mild spring day. The parking lot was empty and the lodge was still under construction. The lobby, located inside the lodge, is fresh and clean and decorated with moose curtains and lodge pole pine furniture. The front desk attendant was knowledgeable and friendly. I made my way down the stone path, past the massage rooms, to the bath house. The bath house has plenty of benches and hooks for clothing and I have always felt comfortable leaving my belongings unattended (lockers are not available). The bath house is well-heated in every season which is a thoughtful gesture from management. The mood here is serene, regardless of the number of guests sharing the experience with you. The pools come in every temperature and size and are made of natural stone. In the summer and early fall, the pools are covered with sun shades. My favorite is the elbow pool. The trees dissipate the sunlight as the wind chimes sprinkle notes from all around, and the gurgle of Cottonwood Creek is just below. Sitting in this pool, I have watched the sun set behind the peaks—a majestic close to the day.
Please check their website for news and information before your visit: http://www.cottonwood-hot-springs.com/colorado/