HOT SPRINGS LOOP – COLORADO OVERLANDER EDITION
Every hot spring on the Historic Hot Springs Loop offers natural mineral waters with a gorgeous view of scenery. Sometimes you’ll look up from the steaming waters to see aspen groves, or sheering cliffs, or quaint downtowns. The pools vary in size from the intimate setting of Strawberry Hotsprings, to the world’s largest natural hot spring in Glenwood Springs. All pools are open year-round, and have a family-friendly section. This means that you could take your Colorado Overlander vehicle on a tour of high country wildflowers, fall colors or ski vacation while ending each day with a relaxing soak. In Chaffee County, along the Arkansas River, there are three or four destination hot springs to choose from, all with a view of the towering, 14,000 feet peaks of the Collegiate Peaks. Pagosa Hotsprings puts you in a funky downtown with multiple National Forest Campgrounds less than an hour away. In Ouray, the towering cliffs of the San Juans surround the town. Watch rock climbers in warmer weather and ice climbers in the winter, all while enjoying the comfort of warm waters, and the guarantee of a comfortable campsite that night in your roof-top tent. The hot springs all have kid-friendly areas, and if you and the family don’t feel like visiting all seven destinations, mixing and matching two or three is a great way to keep the trip accessible.
At approximately 720 miles, the full Historic Hot Springs loop is a grand adventure. Even linking just two or three is a multi-day experience which brings through some of the most stunning terrain in the Colorado Rockies.The distance between these towns is what makes an overlanding vehicle the absolute best way to experience them. As County Roads wind up and over public lands and National Forests, you and all your gear travel at your own pace, stopping for every view you like, and camping wherever you are that evening. When covering all the miles of the Historic Hot Springs Loop in Colorado, there is so much to see around every curve that having a ‘must-make’ town or destination can be limiting and even stressful.
Take, for example, the drive from Steamboat Springs to Glenwood Springs. Between those two mountain towns, there are hundreds of miles of National Forest to explore. The 4×4 capability of a Colorado Overlander allows you travel dirt roads without stressing too much about road conditions. Maybe your plan is to cover the whole distance in one, long, backroads day, but when you find yourself up in the beautiful Clintetops area of White River National Forest you discover that there are several pristine cutthroat trout fishing streams. Why not stay beside a mountain stream for just one night? Camping is permitted on National Forest lands within local restrictions, and primitive sites are easily accessible, scattered throughout the area.
With the roof top tent and stability of the Toyota trucks, even the most rugged spots can become a great place to overnight.
OTHER BENEFITS OF OVERLANDING THE HOT SPRINGS LOOP
Renting an overlanding vehicle from Colorado Overlander means that you never have to worry about booked-up hotels, astronomical ‘on-season’ prices, or full campgrounds. The towns on the Historic Hot Springs Loop are popular destinations year-round, and knowing that you have everything you need to ‘rough it’ wherever you end up is not only cost-effective, but offers peace of mind.
Another benefit of an overlanding vehicle over, say, towing a trailer is that instead of looking for a pull-through spot in a town which was originally laid out with mud streets for miners in the 1880s, you can just find a spot in the parking lot and hop out, towel in hand, and relationship with your co-pilot intact.
Park, soak, then drive a short way up to your planned campground, or try a spicy new off-road experience.
The Toyota Tundra, Tacoma and 4Runner are all great on-highway vehicles, too. If you want to cover some distance as fast as possible, say from Ouray to Pagosa Springs, stick to the highway and enjoy the pick-em-up horsepower of your Colorado Overlander truck as you climb the mountain pass highways.
Planning a trip on the scale of a full Historic Hot Springs Loop can be a little intimidating, even for those with a lot of travel experience. By renting with Colorado Overlander, however, you not only get dependable vehicles, but knowledgeable and friendly in-person support as well.
The staff at Colorado Overlander know and love the backroads of Colorado and Eastern Utah. As avid outdoorsfolk, they have real experience and wisdom which they are happy to share.
Not sure which mountain pass to take from Ouray to Pagosa Springs? Want to know how to plan a quick grab-and-go breakfast for a primitive campground morning? How about some suggestions for on-the-drive family fun to keep the kids happy? Bring all those questions and more to the Colorado Overlander staff, and they will help you not only plan, but style your Colorado Historic Hot Springs Loop overlanding adventure!
With an overlanding vehicle rental from Colorado Overlander, you can bring your doorstep to all the adventure that the Colorado Hot Springs Loop has to offer.