by Anne Dimon
As I gaze out of my guestroom window at the Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge, I see the steamy waters of Glenwood Hot Springs rise to meet the snow-capped mountains. Located in the foothills of the Elk Range in the Southern Rockies of Colorado, Glenwood Springs, CO is on our “wellness travel map” thanks to these historic thermal waters.
The history of Glenwood Hot Springs takes us back to the Ute Indians who referred to the site of the steamy waters as Yampah. In the native language, the word means ‘big medicine,’ and this place is where those same Native Americans took their wounded soldiers.
The name changed to Glenwood Hot Springs close to 130 years ago, but the mineral waters still bubble out of the ground at 122 degrees, and at a rate of about 3.5 million gallons a day. That’s enough, I’m told by spokesperson Jeremy Gilley, to replenish these pools three times a day.
The waters remain flush with minerals – 15 different minerals, according to the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. Crossing the road from The Lodge to the hot spring pools, you can certainly smell the sulfate – think rotten eggs – but it’s not totally unpleasant, and the smell quickly fades as you make your way from the source to the nearby pools themselves.
There are two large pools – one kept at 104 degrees for those looking mainly for the water’s therapeutic benefits and the other, maintained at a slightly cooler 92 degrees, is the more family-friendly pool. It’s billed as the largest single swimming pool filled with thermal spring water in the world.
Jeremy tells me Glenwood Hot Springs has been positioned as a family fun destination for a hundred years. But he is quick to add that “you can find your tranquility in the spa and the club. By ‘the club’ he is referring to the onsite Athletic Club, available to hotel guests for $15 a day (a saving of $17 over regular admission).
Made up mostly of members from the local community, the Athletic Club, like the Spa, is an extension of the original building and has a vintage feel. It houses a gym, a racket ball court, studios for yoga, Pilates and spin classes, plus there’s an indoor Wet Lounge and an indoor/outdoor pool for water aerobics.
The complex also includes a casual onsite restaurant serving breakfast and lunch, a gift shop with the largest selection of swimwear in town and, of course, the lovely Spa of the Rockies at Glenwood Hot Springs And, for those of you looking for Colorado hot springs where clothing is optional. Enjoy!
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Anne Dimon is owner/editor of Travel to Wellness and the President/CEO of the Wellness Tourism Association