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Colorado's Hot Springs Are Worth the Plunge

(NewsUSA) - The Ute Indians called Colorado's hot springs "big medicine," often bathing themselves and their horses in the steaming waters after battles. Whether for healing or just heavenly relaxation, Colorado's hot springs continue to have magical appeal for visitors today.

Colorado boasts some 50 hot mineral springs. The natural springs are created when underground water is superheated by molten rock and rises to the surface through cracks and fissures in the rock layers. Minerals that melt into the water as it rises are believed by many to cure a variety of ailments, aches, weary muscles and lagging spirits.

The thermal waters range in temperature from a meek 68 F to a searing 181 F. Not all of Colorado's hot springs are accessible to the public, but at least 15 spectacular natural sites beckon year-round visitors with indoor and outdoor thermal pools, private baths, children's areas and a range of spa services.

Prices can start as low as $11 per person for a day pass to the hot pools. For prolonged pampering, lodging and spa specials are offered throughout the year.

Hot Sulphur Springs Resort, on the Colorado River near the Winter Park ski area, has been drawing visitors to its therapeutic waters for the past 140 years. Glenwood Springs, a three-hour drive west of Denver, boasts the world's largest geothermal outdoor pool and a toxin-purging vapor cave. Famous former soakers include Marilyn Monroe and Teddy Roosevelt.

Less than an hour from scenic Telluride, in southern Colorado, pure mineral water bubbles from beneath the San Juan Mountains. Area resorts and lodges offer pools with appeal for all ages, from diving corners and children's areas to secluded outdoor hot spring tubs on redwood decks along the mountainside.

Steamboat Springs, in northwest Colorado, takes its name from now-expired springs whose gushing waters sounded like a chugging steamboat to early settlers. Invigorating vapors, views and enticing treatments, such as water massages, await visitors to Strawberry Park Natural Hot Springs. This pristine 40-acre site, surrounded by national forest, is just a short drive from downtown Steamboat Springs. For a truly natural experience, clothing is optional after dark.

From massages and mud baths to a solitary soak at the foot of towering mountain peaks, visitors will find Colorado's "hot spots" among the high points of their trip.

For complete Colorado vacation information, or to order a free state vacation guide, log on to www.colorado.com or call 1-800-COLORADO.

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