The Hillside Cottages makes a perfect hub for launching your own Tour de Hot Springs of Southern Colorado. Here’s what should be on your list:
Mount Princeton Hot Springs: Just an hour away from Hillside is the famous Mount Princeton Hot Springs. As the largest and most commercial hot springs in the region, you’ll have just about every amenity you could want at the Mount Princeton Hot Springs—from spa services to fine dining to fitness classes and even a 400-foot water slide. For adults, the basic day pass is $20 through the week and $25 on the weekend.
Salida Hot Springs Aquatic Center: Yes, the Salida Hot Springs Aquatic Center truly is fed by a natural hot spring—but the enclosed swimming pool has a very different vibe than other hot springs in the region. This can make it a great destination for families or people looking for a quick soak just 45 minutes away from Hillside. The day pass is also a reasonable $10, although there are even better discounts for certain times like Family Night and Parent/Tot Swim.
Dakota Hot Springs: Located in Penrose, one hour away from Hillside, is the Dakota Hot Springs Pool Club, which is based around one large bathing pool. It is technically family friendly, but the most important thing to note is this is a naturist hot spring—meaning bathing suits are optional every day but Tuesdays. The day rate is $10 for women and $15 for men.
Desert Reef Hot Springs: Located in Florence, nearby Penrose and just about an hour from Hillside, is the Desert Reef Hot Springs, another clothing-optional facility based around a single pool fed by an artesian well. The day rate is an even $20 for men and women—although non-member males must be accompanied by a member or significant other.
Valley View Hot Springs: An hour and a half from Hillside, the Valley View Hot Springs is a haven for people seeking to soak amidst nature. Operated by the Orient Land Trust, admission is limited—call ahead so you don’t drive there to be turned away. But for the $15 rate, you’ll have access to a number of diverse pools. Again, this is a naturist facility. If that’s a concern, though, the pools are small enough that you may be able to find one for yourself.
Joyful Journey Hot Springs: Also an hour and a half from Hillside, near the town of Moffat, is the Joyful Journey Hot Springs. With amenities including a spa, multiple geothermal pools, and even weekly camel tours, it’s really quite the destination. Here, bathing suits are required at all times—except Wednesday nights in the hot pool. The daily rates are $15 for adults.