Mount Princeton Hot Springs in Nathrop, Colorado is one of the most beautiful hot springs I have ever come across as it is one of the most naturally well preserved. The drive from Denver to Mount Princeton takes you along Highway 285, a two lane scenic highway that reaffirms all of Colorado's charms.
You will go through Conifer, Bailey, Fairplay and the famed South Park. As you enter the valley near Fairplay, and leave the curving hills behind, the landscape opens up into to one of the most breathtaking views Colorado has to offer. As you exit the heavy forest, you are suddenly exposed to flatlands, mountains, clouds and open skies all at once.
By the time you reach Mount Princeton Hot Springs, the calming powers of the Colorado outdoors have already begun to take hold.Once you arrive, head to the lodge and check into your hotel, cabin or condo. Rooms in the lodge start at $125 on weeknights and $135 on weekend nights. There are several different types of accommodations, the most expensive being a cabin. The cabins can sleep between 8 and 10 people. Entry into the hot springs comes along with a room at the Mount Princeton Resort. The lodge has a restaurant and bar inside of it and there is a general store just across the driveway, so you have no need to worry about food and drink for a short stay.
For those of you not planning to stay the night, head right down the long wooden staircase and into the locker rooms. Pool entry costs an adult $12 on Sunday through Thursday and $15 on Friday and Saturday. As you leave the locker rooms and go out onto the pool deck one of the first things you will notice is the odorless air. Many hot springs have the stink of sulfur, but Mount Princeton is clean. Here you can enjoy the hot water and the cool mountain air all at once.
There are a few different pools at Mount Princeton with different temperatures and different purposes. The soaking pool sits right outside the locker rooms. This pool is around 105 degrees Fahrenheit and is a good first stop. The initial cold air to hot water shock is an incredible experience. After you have marinated a bit in the soaking pool, head to the cooler, 90 degree, exercise pool and do a few laps. Finally, once you’re done burning those calories through physical exertion, head into the relaxation pool (only for overnight, adult guests) or down to the banks of Chalk Creek.
The pockets of hot water along Chalk Creek are the highlight of the Mount Princeton experience. Be careful when climbing down the rocks to the river bed as there is no real path carved out. This makes it all the better once you arrive at the bottom. There are numerous small pools all along both sides of the cold river. Each has its own character and offers a different depth and heat. Do a little pool hopping until you find the right spot for the perfect soak. Rest your head and neck on the outer ring of rocks and dig your hands and feet into the gravel on the bottom of the pool. The hot water comes up from the earth and feeling this natural phenomenon in an undisturbed atmosphere makes the trip to Mount Princeton much more than just worth it. You can even find certain pools where the cool river water is seeping into the hot water, creating the perfect mixture of sensory delights.
When you are ready to head back to the pool deck in the cold air, one more dip in the soaking pool to experience a final temperature change is highly recommended. After spending some time at Mount Princeton Hot Springs, you’d be hard pressed to find a better way to rest and relax.
Mount Princeton Hot Springs | 15870 County Road 162, Nathrop, CO 81236, 719.395.2447, www.MtPrinceton.com