Salida has many hot springs to choose from that range from one minute from town to 1 hour and all are different. Here is a snippet about all 6 of them.
Starting farthest away is "Dakota Hot Springs", affectionately known as "The Well" by locals. it is 1 hour from Salida, heading east on HWY 50. It is out of town about 3 miles on the south side of the road. The well is one big pool that ranges from about 3 feet to 5 feet. In the middle is the cannibal pot (really hot water) and a fountain/shower head that is glorious. Because of the shower head, the place is full of steam and quite magical. Clothing is optional except Tuesdays when it is mandatory. We go at night and you really cannot see much with the steam.
Next is Valley View Hot Springs. Valley view is the most rustic, private and out of the way. It is a series of pools with views over the valley and towards the Sangre de Cristo. They have natural rock ponds you can hike to, a pool and a sauna. The top pond is a about a 20 minute hike, which guarantees you more privacy. The views are incredible. This pool is clothing optional.
Next closest is Joyful Journey. Head south from Salida about 40 miles on HWY 285. When you see HWY 117, turn south. It is about a mile down the road. Joyful Journey has 3 pools, warm, medium and hot. The photo on is from the hot pool looking out over the Sangre de Cristo mountains. This is generally a quiet crowd which creates an almost a meditative experience. We spend our time moving from pool to pool to adjust our body temperature.
Next is Cottonwood Springs Hot Springs. Cottonwood is outside of Buena Vista, about 28 miles north of Salida. Since they are in the national forest, they are prohibited from upgrading their facility but it still is a great place to soak. They have natural stone hot pools and a couple of private soaking pools. Children under 16 must vacate the pool after 6 which gives families access during the day and adults access at night.
Mount Princeton Hot Springs is next, about 25 miles north of town near Nathrop, Colorado. Mount Princeton hot springs runs along Chalk creek which has hot water all along the bank. Guests can meander down by the creek, creating their own pools by adjusting the rocks to get the water just right, which is what we love to do. There are two very large public pool, one of which is cool enough for lap swimming. In addition, there are many private pools for guests staying at Mount Princeton. Of all, the facilities, here are the best. They have a great restaurant, conference facilities, and lots of rooms, all of which have been recently rennovated. It is a classy place to soak and yet still affordable for locals.
Salida Hot Springs Aquatic Center. Home sweet home. Salida Hot Springs and Pool are right here in town. This is where we go when we want a quick hot water fix. Lots of folks in town do season memberships to the Salida Pool. The pool is used by the local swim team, exercise groups, kayak classes and more so it it often lively. They have a separate public soaking pool and a couple of nice private tubs. All are indoor. Outdoor soaking pools are in the plans so stay tuned!