• Denver to Moffat, Colorado via Mt. Princeton: Joyful Hot Springs Journey

      189 miles, 4 hours 20 minutes

      Joyful journeys await you on Colorado's southern Hot Mineral Springs Trail! Itís a scenery-rich drive through kaleidoscope landscapes, from soaring Front Range Mountains to breathtaking valley basins. Within a few shorts steps of your car you can be diving into some water action at a family vacation retreat with swimming pools fed by hot mineral springs. Or try riding the rapids on the Arkansas River and deep-soaking at hot springs in the San Luis Valley.

      Here are a few highlights to look out for along the way:

      Denver, Colorado (Starting point)
      The mile-high city with 300 sunshine days a year, vibrant Denver has plenty to see and do. It is the gateway to some of Coloradoís pristine natural hot mineral springs nestled beside mountains, along rivers, in forests and deep in a spiritual valley.

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      Evergreen, Colorado (mile 30)
      Former 1880s saw-mill hub and summer getaway, small, artsy Evergreen, in the Denver Mountains Park, is surrounded by acres of green land with a country club and lake houses. Meander downtownís two-block Art Gallery Row, sample Colorado wine and stroll a replica of Franceís famed 13th century Chartes Cathedral labyrinth.

      Fairplay, Colorado (mile 71)
      The 75-mile drive from Conifer to Antero Junction opens onto breathtaking panoramas of mountains, forests, rivers, grasslands, valleys and occasional isolated towns. The views stretch to the horizon. Outside Fairplay, a 10,000-foot viewpoint overlooks expansive South Park, namesake of the animated TV series.

      Nathrop, Colorado (mile 136)
      You could laze for days at Mt Princeton Hot Springs Resort, an ideal family getaway with a wonderful geothermal swimming pool. Tucked below Chalk Cliff inside quiet San Isabel National Forest, the resortís allure rests in outdoor activities under sun, moon and stars. The surrounding area is rich in mining and railroad history.

      Salida, Colorado (mile 156)
      Located on the feisty Arkansas River, rustic Salida is a cool river-runnersí paradise. It's indoor swimming pool, fed by natural hot mineral springs, is Coloradoís largest and open to the public. Downtown houses a clutter of century-old redbrick buildings, cafes and artsy shops, plus riverside patio dining, award-winning Colorado wine and goat cheese tasting.

      Moffat, Colorado (mile 189)
      Past Poncho Pass, the Sangre del Cristo Mountain Range rises beside you, leading into Coloradoís spiritual San Luis Valley. Up ahead are oudoor geothermal soaking pools with picture-perfect valley and mountain views. You can also enjoy the views from a furnished eco-lodge yurt, or stay in a tipi or hotel room. Donít miss a visit to the geodesic dome greenhouse. Sublime.

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      Mt. Princeton's hot-mineral-springs swimming pool
      in Colorado offers a hidden single-family-style retreat
      tucked inside a national forest.
      Photo Credit: Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort

      Click here for more photos of this route by Kathryn Brockman

      Comments 1 Comment
      1. Mark Sedenquist's Avatar
        Mark Sedenquist -
        I've been to Mt. Princeton's hot pool in the winter and it's very cool to be floating around in that water when it's snowing!