Hot Sulphur Springs is one of those tiny towns that’s barely a dot on the map. Historically this Colorado town was significant during stagecoach and railroad travel days. Don’t just drive through this town between Granby and Kremmling. Make a stop to learn a little history, eat some good grub and soak in therapeutic mineral springs. I was working on an article for AAA Colorado EnCompass magazine and spent a little exploring the area around the mineral springs the Ute Indians called “big medicine” or “magic waters.” Here are three reasons why you should stop in Hot Sulphur Springs.
Get a History Lesson
I actually make two stops in Hot Sulphur (as the locals call) during my 24 hours in Grand County. The Pioneer Village Museum was my first stop, partly because it’s closed on Mondays. I thought I would quickly breeze through it, but ended up spending about an hour late Sunday afternoon exploring the museum housed in the original Hot Sulphur Springs schoolhouse built in 1924. I started with learning about the people from Paleoindians to pioneers who settled in the area including William Byers was the first white man to discover Hot Sulphur Springs in 1840. The town’s transportation history as a stagecoach and railroad stop fascinated me. I knew it was important along Colorado’s notorious Moffat Road, but had no idea it played such a significant role in exploration of the American West. I was completely enthralled by the stories of the explorers, which I would call the travel bloggers of the 1860s, like John Wesley Powell. It was really interesting to learn about the expedition he led in the area in 1867. That was two years before he and nine other men would take their infamous journey on the Green and Grand (now Colorado) Rivers. As I was walking into the room dedicated to veterans, female pioneers and competitive skiing history, I learned there were 200 prisoners of war that arrived at a camp in Fraser during World War II. That was a piece of Colorado history I didn’t know. I loved learning about the pioneer personalities of ladies like Margaret Well and Mary Lyons Cairns and imagining their lives of balancing home life with ranching or owning businesses. You probably don’t know that Hot Sulphur Springs is where competitive skiing started in Colorado. The first Winter Sports Carnival west of the Mississippi in 1911 featuring a ski jumping competition.
Eats and Sips at Dean’s and Yaki’s
It was close to 4 p.m., closing time for the museum and I wanted to get over to where I was staying in Grand Lake before dark. Grand Lake is a beautiful drive lined with ranches about 30 minutes from Hot Sulphur Springs. Before hitting the road, I stopped in Dean’s Public House in Hot Sulphur Springs’ old Stagecoach Country Inn which was established in 1874. The building dates back to 1872. Checking out their menu they serve tapas style eats paired with creative mountain cocktails. I loved the long table in a public house style so you get to mingle with locals and other visitors. I was wishing I had more time to eat and drink at Dean’s.
The next day, after I had waited out the morning’s blowing snow in Grand Lake, I got back over to Hot Sulphur Springs around 1 p.m. It was a perfect time to grab a chai latte and late brunch at Yaki’s Place. The owner is from Venezuela and I ordered an arepas. They were out but Yaki fixed me an arepa without the corn cake. The eggs mixed with tomato and onion were served with a side of black beans and plantains. My brunch was phenomenal. I ate every single bite!
Soaking in Hot Springs
After brunch, I headed over to soak Hot Sulphur Springs Resort and Spa for a relaxing soak. The water filling the mineral-rich pools is heated by volcanic rock 35,000 feet below the earth’s surface. I soaked in three pools starting in the Courtyard Pool #2, but it’s 100-102°F water wasn’t warm enough for me so I didn’t stay in it very long. I walked up to the Rojo Pool. It’s 105-108°F and I found the pool to be the perfect temperature on a cold and windy day. For my last pool, I decided to try the hottest one. Lupe’s Pool is 109-112°F water. I didn’t last long it in, but the hottest pool does have the best view.
Author Jennifer Broome has explored Colorado extensively. She loves finding the gems in the small towns like Hot Sulphur Springs.