The Rocky Mountains of Colorado continue to impress with their beauty and abundant activities, but they are also full of Hot Springs! Near Steamboat Springs, CO, lies a hot springs park tucked away in Routt National Forest, called Strawberry Park Natural Hot Springs. At just over 15 minutes away from Steamboat Springs, this little getaway is a perfect addition to a road trip or long ski retreat.
Getting There: (From Steamboat)
- From Highway 40/Lincoln Avenue, turn Northeast onto 7th Street
- 7th Street turns into Missouri Avenue, follow this Left and onto North Park Road.
- Turn right onto Strawberry Park Road.
- Then Left onto Co Rd 36. After a couple miles, the road becomes unpaved for the last 2 miles before you reach the Hot Springs.
- Google Maps
- Here is information on shuttles that go to Strawberry Hot Springs. Shuttling can be a safer alternative when driving to the Hot Springs in the Winter months when the unpaved road can be dangerous. (Schedule)
NOTE: A 4-wheel Drive vehicle is recommended for the last two miles of unpaved road. While the road is maintained, it is winding, and conditions are ever-changing. From November 1st to May 1st, a 4-wheel drive vehicle with snow tires or any vehicle with chains is required. If the road is closed as you approach the Park, it is because the Park is at capacity.
The Hot Springs
Strawberry Park has done their best to keep these hot springs a natural area for all to enjoy. There is no outdoor lighting, and all facilities are off-grid. Entrance fee prices are very fair as well to give this Park ultimate accessibility. The day rate for adults is $15, $8 for youth ages 3-17, and children under 3 years are free.
During major holidays and holiday weekends, the rates go up by $2. If you are staying in the Park overnight, your payment for lodging includes your pool admission for the duration of your stay. The pool and lodging facilities do not supply towels for pool use, so come prepared with towels and bathing suits.
The pools range from a toasty 102-104 degrees Fahrenheit. Facilities surrounding the natural springs include a heated cabin for changing, picnic areas, restrooms, a tipi, and private areas for Watsu and Massage sessions. No food or alcohol is allowed outside of the picnic areas. For the sake of safety, no glass is allowed outside of the picnic areas.
All youth under 18 years of age are not allowed in the pools after dark and must be accompanied by a parent or guardian during their time in the Park. The Park is open during holidays and maintain the normal hours of operation. (Sunday – Thursday 10am – 10:30pm Friday – Saturday 10am – 12am)
Strawberry Hot Springs Park tailors to everyone’s needs. Whether you are looking for a snazzy cabin to stay in and get a massage in the lodge while visiting the hot springs, or are wanting to camp and enjoy being in the hot springs at night, or just want to hike into the park from Mad Creek Trailhead and take a nice soak.
Prices, accommodations, and maximum number of guests are all different among lodging options, so be sure to read all the details before booking on the site. No dogs are allowed in the park due to the sensitive nature of the Hot Springs water. The park will also not allow you to keep your dog in the car since there is no shade in the parking lot.
NOTE: The price for an overnight site does include tax and the pool admission!
While this facility offers lodging accommodations and some provisions, they are not responsible for your swimwear/towels for pool use and have limited concession food and beverages available for guests.
“Even if you are staying in a cabin, I suggest packing the same way you would pack if you were car-camping. Bring enough food, coffee, and whatever else you want for your stay to avoid having to make a trip into town or cutting your trip short.”
With their most popular lodging experience being a converted train caboose, the Park offers a great variety of deluxe and rustic cabin options. The Train Caboose is the most comfortable lodging experiences offered here. Complete with a bathroom/shower, kitchenette, gas fireplace, and solar lights, the Train Caboose is definitely the go-to if you’re booking for a special occasion.
The Small Rustic Cabin is a great option for a more low-key cabin experience compared to the Train Caboose. A one room cabin that houses 2 people. While bedding is not provided, lighting, heat and a gas grill is all included in this humble, but wonderfully cozy, abode.
Tent sites are fairly close to the Hot Springs Creek at 100 to 300 yards away from the pools. Each site can have a maximum of 4 people and these are only available during the Summer months. No campfires are allowed due to high fire risk during the dryer summers this alpine region sees. You are welcome to bring a camp stove or JetBoil device to prepare food. The site does provide a propane grill and picnic table.
There is no parking availability for RV’s and no RV hookups.
In the National Forest land surrounding the Park, dispersed and established campground camping is permitted. There are a lot of trails that can connect your potential Forest land campsite to Strawberry Hot Springs Park, including Mad Creek Trail.
The Best of Both Worlds – The Covered Wagons:
These humble sites can house 2 for a night with a double mattress. These wagons are only available during the Summer months as they are exposed to the elements. Be prepared to bring gear you would bring for camping and appropriate seasonal attire (nights can be pretty chilly year-round). No bedding, heat source, or lighting is provided for these Wagons, so be sure to pack accordingly!
Spending a day or two at this hot springs location will not disappoint. With access to Routt National Forest trails from the property and the Steamboat Springs Ski Resort nearby, hiking, snowshoeing, and mountain biking are all great activities to accompany relaxing in these warm waters.
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Want to Hike in?
From the Mad Creek Trailhead, you can hike into Strawberry Park Hot Springs. The Hot Springs Trail is a 6.2 mile out and back trail that utilizes an old Forest Service Trail. The 3.1 miles into Strawberry Park are well worth the moderately difficult hike, and the water will feel even better after the hard work. Hiking in can be a good way to avoid the limited parking at the Hot Springs main lot.
Getting There: From Steamboat
- From Highway 40/Lincoln Avenue, head Northeast onto County Road 129/Elk River Road
- Stay on this until you see a large sign for the Mad Creek Trailhead on your right.
- After parking, walk back South along the road until you see a footpath and a post with the numbers 44320. Turn left here from the road and follow the signs to Strawberry Hot Springs.
- To return, you can either hike back on this trail to complete the out and back 6.2 miles, or you can make a loop by returning on the Mad Creek Trail that you can access from the Strawberry Hot Springs Park. The Mad Creek Trail is a bit longer, but features old mining cabins, deep canyons, meadows, a river, and wondrous aspen groves.
This trail can be used for hiking, snowshoeing, and mountain biking. So, the amount of adventure is up to you when finding this Hot Springs Park in the middle of the woods. Since no dogs are allowed into Strawberry Hot Springs, you should avoid bringing your dog on the trail as well. This trail is also mostly inaccessible in the snowy Winter months. The prime season for this hike is between April and September.
The trail can be very quiet since many people choose to drive directly to the Hot Springs. So, be prepared to encounter a lot more people once you reach the main Park area. The trail itself is beautiful and runs along Mad Creek under shady trees for a while. After the first 1.5 miles, the incline evens out and the trail opens up to a large meadow surrounded by mountains.
Additional Activities in Steamboat Springs
Whether you are planning on staying at the Hot Springs Park, camping on National Forest Land, or just come into Steamboat Springs to enjoy the Hot Springs, I highly recommend spending some time in town. Steamboat Springs is a wonderful Euro ski town. Medicine Bow and Routt National Forest right off the highway and are filled with all the long, short, out-and-back, and loop trails you could imagine.
The Steamboat Springs Ski Resort offers world-class mountain biking trails in the Summer, and some more world-class ski terrain in the Winter. The Resort has access to several other activities such as horseback riding, tubing, cross-country skiing, and fun activities and events for the kids.
If you are looking to take another dip in the water but want some more family oriented fun, check out Old Town Hot Springs with it’s water slides and climbing walls.
Give yourself plenty of time to explore this wonderful mountain town and have fun!
Related content: THE 7 BEST Summer Outdoor Activities in Steamboat Springs
Daniell is a certified outdoor climbing guide with professional experience climbing throughout Colorado’s Western Slope region. She is based out of Fort Collins, CO and enjoys trail running, desert climbing and overnight canoe trips.
Are you able to park over night at the trail head? We’re thinking including this in a backpacking trip we are planning in August.