Steamboat Springs, CO: Strawberry Park Hot Springs

This will be the most dramatic story of my whole trip! Even more dramatic than the robbery! But I’ll start with the hot spring!

We love hot springs, so we always go to as many as possible. This trip we clocked in three which is a new record for us. We went to this one in Colorado, which was beautiful. Here’s the link. I didn’t need any convincing other than “hot water”, but the website made it sound like it was the best ever (it was), and also it was clothing optional after dark. Which is interesting, even if I’m not super interested in swimming naked (or seeing naked people, for that matter).

I didn’t take a ton of pictures since we got there late, and believe it or not, undressed people don’t really like to be photographed! But I did get some, and their website has a ton more!

While we were there, people were really friendly. And you kind of got the feeling that you were included in all of the conversations happening even if you weren’t talking, so it was a nice “people watching” experience.

We DID have to go up a really steep, bumpy, ridiculous dirt road. And I had doubts even in my 4×4, but when we got there there were some regular cars there. But I would NOT recommend that in the winter. Especially because it’s narrow and there are not any lights, anywhere.

Basically, there were 3 pools which all ran from one part and then ran into each other. There was the really hot pool, the warm pool, and then the freeze-your-ass-off pool. We stayed mostly in the hot one, but we did get in the warm one some. And there was also a place where you could see the hot water flowing out of the spring, as well as two “private hot tub” sized warm pools.

In the picture below you can see the hot one at the top which is boiling for the first few steps, but fine once you’re in, the warm one below, and then the cold one kind of wrapping around on the bottom.

And it did have a natural bottom, but it was very clean and there were no fish. (Unlike this pool and this pool.) It was kind of weird on my feet at first, but then it was completely fine! The pools were about 4(?) feet deep, like high waist for me (I’m 5’3 on a good day).

It was also great for star gazing, since there are no city lights to pollute the night sky. We ended up leaving before all of the stars came out, but I got to see more than I EVER see at home. And it’s a good place to look if you don’t want to be confronted with boobs at every turn!

We didn’t take advantage of them, but they do offer massage, and they have highly coveted lodging available! So we may look into that next time we go.

Oh! And I will also mention that in a lot of reviews online, they mention a grumpy guy at the gate, but we did not have this experience at all! They do ~kind of~ check your bags for glass, but that’s about it. And the young guy working was friendly.

So! We were staying in Steamboat Springs, and when we got back to our hotel the parking lot was full, so we circled around a couple of times and then found a spot.

I got out of the car and casually glanced over at the dumpster, and saw something poking out. My flight portion of my brain went “AHH! OH MY GOD! BEAR! RUN!”, and I pointed it out to Joel and took off. Still in a towel from the hot spring. He came rushing after me and we basically fell on top of each other into the hotel lobby.

So I was like “Should we tell the guy?!” and Joel said yes. So we went over to him and Joel said (and, by the way, I still think this is funny) “I think you have a dumpster diver”, and me and the guy at the counter were like (at the same time), “No! That’s a bear!”. Apparently Joel saw this: Mildly Graphic Image. So yeah, I would have run too. Well, I DID run. But whatever.

And then some other guy (who is this guy?!) came into the lobby and was like “No, yeah, duudddeeee, that’s a beeaaarrrr.” Which was followed by the guy at the counter telling us that it didn’t mind people and was a regular. But that meant it was more dangerous since if it wasn’t scared of people it would attack someone.

It was like 11 pm, so I had to research what types of bears they have in CO and concluded it had to have been a black bear. It had big ears. I don’t know how big it was, but in my head it was HUGE. I was assured though that calling wildlife officials would only result in them trying to “scare” it back to the mountain and would effectively be useless, but still.

Exciting night!


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