There is a variety of mineral hot springs in the San Luis Valley. Guests at the Crestone Mountain Zen Center can reach these destinations by car within 30-50 minutes to the north and south. The hot springs are part of a geological fault system that created the dramatic visual appearance of the precipitous and linear Sangre de Cristo mountain range.Located at the northern gateway to the San Luis Valley is Joyful Journey Hot Springs, about 35 minutes from Crestone Mountain Zen Center. There are three outdoor tiled geothermal soaking pools with different temperatures, surrounded by decks and magnificent panoramic views of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range.
The facilities include a sauna, and you can schedule a massage while visiting. This should be your pick if you like hot (!) water and a quiet atmosphere for soaking.
Just a little further to the north (50 minutes from our Center), tucked against the mountains, is Valley View Hot Springs operated by the Orient Land Trust, an organization dedicated to natural resource preservation. We affectionately call Valley View the “warm springs,” because some of the pools are just above body temperature. The setting is most beautiful! Some of the natural hot water pools are right in the river itself. Valley View also offers a chlorine free swimming pool, hot tub, and sauna. The entire grounds are clothing optional. If you visit Valley View in the afternoon, you can combine it with a hike to the Orient Mine, which is home to a colony of 250,000 migratory bats. It is a spectacle when the bats in what seems like an endless stream of fluttering bodies swarm out of the mine at dusk to go hunting for insects in the valley.
The Sand Dunes Swimming Pool is located near the small town of Hooper, about 40 minutes away from the Center. This is a great destination if you want to do some swimming in a bigger warm pool (98-102 degrees depending on the season). There is also a soaking pool at 118 degrees and a 24-person therapy pool at 108 degrees. Adjoining is an adults-only Greenhouse with a variety of hot pools in between the plants. They serve beer and and wine there!