Juniper Hot Spring is located in a little town called Lay, located to the West of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The spring is said to hold 24 minerals, and is one of three spring with the highest mineral count in the world, the highest in North America. This site was once home to a bathhouse, however it has since been demolished. The foundation and ruins of the past structure still remains in some areas surrounding the springs, the walls now serve as a canvas and have thoughtfully been painted with colorful murals. This spring was referred to by the Native Americans as "Healing Waters", with that being said many years ago it was equipped with a tunnel leading to the spring so the sick may be transported to the waters. Relics and spearheads have been recovered here and evidence of a few permanent campsites are apparent.
There are 5 pools in total, three small pools, one large lap pool and one square medium sized pool. The lap pool is runoff from the other 4 pools which contain the source of the heated water filtering up from deep below. The water is said to contain 24 beneficial minerals. The lap and medium sized pools were pretty cold, the three small pools were warm but not quite hot.
The water is said to contain 24 beneficial minerals. The only other two springs in the world that are known to contain this many minerals are in Europe.
Bathing suits are required.
What to expect~
The site has a small donation post to the left of the gate and a portapotty in the parking lot that was spotless. There is a covered picnic area, a fire pit (no wood), clothing hooks, patio chairs and tables at the site which is gated. The three smaller pools were the only ones that were hot, the other two were pretty cold. There is plenty of moss growing in the smaller pools that you are able to scoop out with the strainers they have there. The steps are slippery with moss and such too so be cautious. This site is pretty remote yet maintained. It was clean with no trash, some flower pots to spritz it up, but the spring water in the three small pools being held within old building ruins seemed to diminish its quality a tad...some flaking paint and eroding concrete. All the pools are gravel bottom except the lap pool, and digging into the gravel with you feet made the hot water bubble up more. There were a few campers parked on site but not another soul in site except for 2 visitors who came by, felt the water and left immediately. So we had the place to ourselves on a Saturday in January around noon. The water was warm at best, maybe 85 degrees Fahrenheit, but any trace of heat and I am thoroughly pleased! Please advise that there is no dressing area here, but there is a portapotty.
Bring toilet paper (just in case) and/or wet wipes for the portapotty even though it was spotless when I went. Flip-flops or weather appropriate shoes for walking around, pack a lunch and plenty of water. Don't expect a super hot soak, but if you are a hot spring enthusiast, you will enjoy this unique soaking experience. You can pair this spring with a visit to nearby Steamboat Springs and visit Strawberry Park or other springs in the area.
What to bring~
Robe, towel, bathing suit, moisturizer/lotion, flip flops/slides, picnic, water, wet bag for wet items, wet wipes, cash for the fee, and consider bringing firewood if you are dead set on using the fire pit.
Open 7 days a week, $5 per person, check website below for cleaning closures.
Juniper Hot Springs 8090 Moffat County Road 53
My Personal Thoughts~
The history and mineral rich water at this spring were what drove me here. I liked the eclectic feel, the flower pots, moss scoops, fire pit, deck and chairs. It was very unique and you could tell that alot of love had gone into keeping this place inviting. I would imagine the summer time would be more lively, and manageable temperature-wise for the two larger pools. Totally worth the stop if in the area, the murals are colorful and vibrant and the richest mineral springs in North America. I loved visiting Juniper, the water temperature won't deter me from enjoyment. However, if you are looking for a steamy hot soak this probably isn't the place. Remember to never leave trash, there is a trash can at the entrance gate.