When I wrote my friend Barry from Steamboat Springs on Saturday night, he wrote right back.
“Steamboat is beautiful,” he replied. “Are you going to Strawberry Park Hot Springs? Clothing optional at night! That’s my favorite outdoor hot springs.”
I told him that I had intended to go that night, but I was too tired after hosting our diabetes support group that morning and driving 270 miles from Boulder that afternoon.
But I woke up refreshed in a nice Steamboat Springs suite and decided to soak my bones at the hot springs a few miles from that classy resort town on Sunday morning. Even though I prefer soaking without a bathing suit, I’m glad that I waited for daylight, because it let me photograph this lovely natural setting:
I counted at least six pools. The pool temperature ranges from about 50 degrees to 104 degrees. Most people soaked in the two hottest pools, which is where I stayed most of the time. But the coolest pool is great for cooling off.
Strawberry Hot Springs is the best combination of natural and developed I’ve ever seen, and I pride myself on being something of a connoisseur of hot springs. With constantly fresh flowing water and no chlorine, I didn’t need a shower afterwards. The bottoms of the pools are clean sand, and steps with railings got me in and out safely.
Soaking in these hot springs was one of the main reasons why I took this route through northwest Colorado rather than the faster but boring route through Wyoming that I had intended to drive until a couple of days before I left. I am en route to California where I plan on a two-week hike through the high Sierras with a small Sierra Club group. Aside from the location, a big attraction of that hike is that we will have mules to carry our loads except what we will need on the trail each day.