Monday, April 03, 2017
Those with a very good memory may remember that I went to Steamboat Springs about the same time last year. One of the side activities then was a trip to Strawberry Park Hot Springs. Most of the same friends were on this year's trip, but not all of them had made it to to the hot springs last year. We decided to cross that off the list early this time. And since last year, we'd stumbled around in the dark not able to actually see the place, we decided to go during the day.
It turns out that not being able to see anything was probably for the best; the imagination filled in a better experience perhaps than Strawberry Park Hot Springs actually offers. When they say there are six different pools there of varying temperatures, that claim should really come with an asterisk. There are really more like three, with the tiniest walled-off sections nearby (that would hold no more than two or three people at a time) counting for the rest. Indeed, the place felt like little more than a stinky hot tub you had to share with many times the normal number of people.
The hot springs weren't a total loss. We did get to find everything we'd missed before, and did get in a nice muscle-relaxing soak. (Though since this happened before any ski days, we didn't really need it as badly.) But the main takeaway was an appreciation for the hot tub right there in the condo where we were staying. Much closer, much less crowded, and at no extra charge. That was how we'd wrap up every ski day for the rest of the trip.
So let me revise my earlier recommendation of Strawberry Park Hot Springs. If you find yourself in Steamboat and want to check it out, go at night. Pick a cloud-free night where you can gaze up at the stars, or a gently snowing night where you can enjoy the extremes between the warm water and the air outside. Don't go for the scenery; Colorado offers up enough amazing scenery around every turn.