Colorado’s newest hot springs features 16 thermal mineral water soaking pools and a freshwater family pool with a whirlpool spa on the bank of the Colorado River in Glenwood Springs.
The much-anticipated opening of the Iron Mountain Hot Springs is almost here. Glenwood Springs’ newest geothermal attraction will open on the bank of the Colorado River on Saturday, July 18. A grand opening celebration will be held later this summer. Catering to all who appreciate relaxing with a warm soak surrounded by mountain views, the Iron Mountain Hot Springs offers 16 mineral hot springs soaking pools and a freshwater family pool with a jetted spa.
The family pool is filled with 86,000 gallons of fresh water that’s heated to a comfortable 90 degrees Fahrenheit by the geothermal exchange. A smaller, elevated whirlpool spa offers a perfect soaking temperature of just over 92°F, where parents can enjoy the warmer water while supervising their children below. A waterfall provides calming sounds as water cascades from the upper to the lower section.
Sixteen smaller, naturally shaped pools are filled with thermal mineral waters that range from 98 to 108°F. To provide a soothing environment where guests can relax, restore and rejuvenate in the soaking pools, there is a quiet zone surrounding the area; children ages 5 to 14 must be accompanied by an adult and those younger than 5 are not allowed. The views, which vary from pool to pool, include the Colorado River as it winds through the valley, Iron Mountain, Red Mountain, the Flat Tops and the twin peaks of majestic Mt. Sopris to the south.
“We have really focused on the guests’ experience,” explained co-owner Mogli Cooper. “The location, shape and features of each of the pools, the materials and colors we used and the team we’ve built — it’s all been about providing a world-class hot springs destination where people can enjoy the therapeutic, natural mineral waters.”
Several springs emerge onto the Iron Mountain Hot Springs property with average water temperatures ranging from 105 to 108°F. There are at least 14 minerals found in the analysis of the water; the five most abundant are iron, sulfate, chloride, sodium and calcium. Iron and sulfate are known for their relaxing qualities. Thermal heat from the springs is also used to warm the pools and to heat the walkways and buildings.
“The past nine months have been a whirlwind,” co-owner Steve Beckley said. “Building the bathhouse, restaurant and 18 pools takes an enormous amount of coordination and an impressive number of people. In addition to the structures and pools you can see, the infrastructure beneath the ground took just as much work. We have to get the water from three different mineral water sources into our facility and routed to the pools. The water in the smaller mineral pools continually flows through the pools and completes a total changeover every two hours.”
Richard Nash, of Nash Construction, was the general contractor for the project. Care was taken to use local sources throughout the process, including approximately 50 contractors, vendors and suppliers from the Western Slope.
Making sure that the therapeutic waters at the Iron Mountain Hot Springs are accessible to all was also a priority during planning and construction. A gently curving ramp with a handrail provides a gradual entrance into the family pool for those in wheelchairs or anyone who prefers to avoid steps. Two of the soaking pools have transfer walls and grab bars that allow a person to leave a mobility device and transfer onto the wall and then into the water. An aquatic wheelchair is available, and the family changing rooms are accessible as well.
“Accessibility was very important to all of us,” Cooper said. “The healing nature of the warm mineral waters can work wonders with everyday aches and pain. Imagine how significant that can be to those facing long-term healthcare issues and challenges. We want everyone to feel welcome.”
A lodge-style bathhouse greets guests upon arrival. Inside, they can buy passes, shop and prepare for their soak in well-appointed locker rooms. Separate changing rooms for families are available to make visits with the kids easier. If guests have forgotten something or would like to pick up a gift or souvenir, the retail shop offers swimwear, sunscreen and pool accessories; lotions, body wash and other personal care items; specialty soaps and candles; shirts; hats; ornaments and candies. Many of the items are made right here in Colorado.
When it’s time for a break, the on-site Sopris Café located next to the family pool is just the spot. The menu includes breakfast pastries and croissants, snacks, salads, wraps, sandwiches, pizza, hot dogs, frozen yogurt, soft-serve ice cream, smoothies, specialty coffees, soft drinks, beer, wine and mixed drinks. Free water and bottle-filling stations are available near the family changing rooms in the bathhouse to help guests stay hydrated.
The Iron Mountain Hot Springs will be open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. through Labor Day weekend, and then off-season hours will begin. Admission is $25 per adult, $15 for kids 3 to 12, and free for children younger than 3. An evening soak from 8 to 10 p.m. is available for $15 for adults and $9 for kids. Discounts are available for guests ages 65 and better, AAA members and military. Re-entry is not included with admission. To ensure a relaxing atmosphere, capacity will be maintained to make sure that the pools do not become overcrowded. Guests can check availability at www.IronMountainHotSprings.com. A pop-up screen will notify visitors when capacity has been reached, and they can check back regularly from mobile devices and tablets to find out when space has become available.
Soaking in the iron-rich waters while taking in the views from this spot is not a new idea. The history of the Iron Mountain Hot Springs property dates back to 1896, when the West Glenwood Health Spa opened. Over the next 100 years, it changed hands multiple times and also operated as the Wash Allen Bathhouse, the Gamba Mineral Springs, the Glenwood Health Spa, the Fort Defiance Bathhouse and the Iron Springs Spa. It was razed in 1996 to make way for a water park project that never came to fruition and sat vacant until construction of the Iron Mountain Hot Springs started in late 2014. A viewing tower reminiscent of one located on the site in the early 1900s is planned to reflect the site’s rich history.