Colorado: Come and Live the Good Life

Penny Hot Springs

Alana Dylan                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The Paw Print

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing my favorite hot springs with you. They offer unique experiences that make visiting each of them a pleasure. Most will be within an easy driving distance from Alamosa. Penny Hot Springs is the furthest away but the fall foliage along the way justifies the drive.

The levels of natural minerals in the water vary by location. Each mineral affects the body differently. Lithium can help relieve depression. Iron is known for boosting the blood and the immune system. Arsenic is said to heal skin conditions. Calcium carbonate (soda) could help aid in digestion. Bathing in hot springs increases the blood flow in the body thereby bringing more vital nutrients to organs and tissues. Additionally, bathing in thermal waters increases metabolism and lowers blood pressure in many of the same ways as an aerobic workout and brings physical and mental relaxation, increases endorphins (neuropeptides inside the body that make you feel good), aids in sleep, improves joint function, and eliminates toxins. So relax and let these healing minerals give you an overall sense of well-being as they seep into your soul.

Penny Hot Springs:

Fall season is primetime for a visit to Penny Hot Springs and, while it is a four hour drive from Alamosa, it is well worth the excursion. The drive over Independence Pass is breathtaking now with Aspen trees in the throes of fall. As a long time Coloradan, I was shocked at the sheer number of trees on this pass. The drive alone is worth the visit but even more so knowing that Penny Hot Springs is on the other side.

Please be advised that Independence Pass is closed Memorial Day through November 1 depending on road conditions. Road conditions can change drastically and quickly so please visit their website for news and information before heading out.

Penny Hot Springs is a free, natural, hot springs that is located directly off Colorado Highway 133 at mile marker 55 on the banks of the Crystal River, outside of Carbondale. Situated at the base of the Narrows with towering sheets of granite overhead, Penny Hot Springs can’t be beat. Park near the mile marker sign and carefully make your way down one of the steep, rocky paths to the river. This is an undeveloped hot spring so there is no entry fee. $FREE

Even if there are no other visitors, the hot springs is easy to find. During my first visit, we arrived in seclusion. I took off my shoes and gingerly tested the waters to find the hot spot and I sure did. The spot I chose to stick my foot in is the exact same spot the blazing hot water shoots into the river! We found a cozy spot with hot water burbling from the silt underneath us and rearranged the small boulders to regulate the cool river water with the steamy water from the hot springs. Eventually, we were joined by a jovial bunch including dogs and children and adults of all ages. The dogs and children enjoyed cooling off in the creek waters and the conversation is always interesting here with a diverse mix of visitors. Clothing is mandatory.

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