The Overview: Valley View Hot Springs located in central Colorado has a bit of everything for everyone. From heated pools and hot tubs to more remote locations with no man-made features, this rustic spot is especially quiet during the winter. There’s overnight camping either in your car or in a variety of cabins.
Where: Valley View HS is not on the beaten track to anywhere. The closest town is Salida/Monarch Mountain (about 45 minutes away). Head south on 285 to County Road GG and follow the signs to the Orient Land Trust. The road is fairly flat and very easy to get to the springs — no serious mountain driving.
Who Owns It: The springs are managed by the Orient Land Trust, an interesting non-profit land trust that’s dedicated to the preservation of natural and biological resources, agricultural lands, wildlife habitat, open space, and historic and geologic features of the northern San Luis Valle.
The Pools: Right at the parking lot is an 80 foot swimming pool and a hot tub. There’s also a sauna, showers, water fountains, and bathrooms located nearby. The “Soaking Pool” is a short walk up the from the swimming pool and one of the warmest at Valley Views. There are three more pools located on the grounds that require some hiking.
Hours: It’s open year round. Day visitors can access the pools from 9AM to 10PM. Overnight folks can go anytime.
The Rate: At $12 per person, it’s not exactly a budget soak. Go early in the day as the daily pass lasts from 9AM to 10PM. We had planned on staying overnight in our RV, but the price for two people ($53!) was just too steep.
Our Take: We headed straight for the “Top Pond”, the most remote of the pools. It was a fairly slippery hike during a cool February evening. Wear sturdy boots, bring a headlamp, and watch your step on the icy lower part of the trail. The people at the check-in desk can provide info on the trail conditions.
We’re partial to the pools that have the least amount of man-made features and the Top Pond didn’t disappoint. It was a quiet, enjoyable place to throw back a couple of beers under the gorgeous Colorado night sky. Then we soaked for a bit in the much warmer Waterfall Pool. A trip to the hot tub and the extremely comfortable sauna rounded out our three hour trip.
Go midweek and during the winter to avoid the crowds. We saw four people total in our evening adventure.
Oh yeah, the entire grounds are clothing optional.
More Info: Orient Land Trust