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Happy Water: Cottonwood Hot Springs Inn & Spa


Happy Water: Cottonwood Hot Springs Inn & Spa

Cottonwood Hot Springs boasts of both a mineral composition that’s exceptional and a location that’s intentionally designed to get you zeroed in on nature and mindfulness. Located in Buena Vista, CO, not far from Mt. Princeton should you want to explore the region.

Turn Back Time

But first, let’s talk about history. Cottonwood Hot Springs was originally a hotel and then a sanitorium. Cottonwood Hot Springs was
originally a hotel and then a sanitorium. The original structure was located a bit to the east of the current lodge so, no, you won’t come across any ‘stranger things’ from the sanitorium.

The original main structure housed the reception room, office, library and parlor, private rooms of the medical attendant, bridal chamber, dining hall and kitchen. The two outside wings were for sleeping apartments and bathing purposes. The water from the lower springs flowed hot and was used in the treatment of inflammation of the mucous membrane, as well as for drinking purposes.

In the current day they’re used simply for recreation and relaxation; we’re so lucky.

The water from the upper springs was originally conveyed to the house by pipes; and was used for bathing purposes and in the treatment of rheumatism and dyspepsia. The water was said to be between 132 and 150 degrees. We love it hot, especially on snowy nights.

The Reverend and Mrs. J. A.D. Adams, M.D. built the original hotel in 1878 before there was any rail access in the county, when all materials and furniture had to be brought in by freight teams from Colorado Springs.

In 1911 a fire destroyed the Cottonwood Hot Springs Hotel. The owner at that time, Gabe Durst, did not rebuild. Don’t worry, the current lodge is stable and ready for you to kick back and relax— after a long soak in the hot, happy water.

Present Day Cottonwood

Beyond their rustic lodging, they also offer cozy creek-side cabins, tent-sites, and dormitories. On the east side of the building, they’ve just converted a classroom into a new women only dormitory, which assures more privacy and is located on the first floor for easy access to the (girls just wanna have fun).

The rooms are intentionally stripped of WiFi and TVs, creating more incentive for you to enjoy nature’s company.

“I think what sets us apart is it’s all natural,” said one employee. “The water is not chlorinated and it’s used for healing and restoring oneself.”

The gravity-fed mineral spas and curative waters at Cottonwood are known for their therapeutic value. Over the centuries, before manifest destiny, the Ute Indians visited these springs as a spiritual gathering place. You can complete your getaway with today’s healing spa services, including reiki, acupressure, and Swedish massage.

“This is the most wonderful hot spring I’ve ever visited, with natural pools of varying heat levels ranging from very, very hot (105 or
more) to pleasantly warm,” said Lily G on Trip Advisor. “The lodging is rustic but in a great way. It is a truly relaxing, restful place of great beauty and wonderful quietude. An excellent choice!”

105 degrees or more? That’s for us. If we can’t see the steam emanate from our skin after a dip in the pools, it’s not hot enough for us.

Local Winter Sports

Tucked away a couple miles from town in the Arkansas Valley, there are tons of hiking trails to explore before you soak. Check out the Cottonwood Pass Trail along the Continental Divide. Or, hit the slopes at Monarch, Cooper, or Copper mountains and then take a drive to these springs to soothe your muscles with breathtaking views of the mountains you just tumbled down.

Cottonwood Hot Springs
18999 • County Road 306 • Buena Vista, CO
Boulder: 2h, 38m. 136 miles.
Denver: 2h, 19m. 124 miles.

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