Juniper Hot Springs – Lay, CO

Nestled in the remote northwest region of Colorado lies Juniper Hot Springs, a hidden gem established back in 1880. This retreat boasts a few soaking pools, including a large pool with a concrete floor that is filled with water from four smaller pools. The smaller pools have a unique sandy, clay bottom that allows water to flow effortlessly.

Despite its rustic charm, a small daily fee is required to access the springs during daylight hours. Guests must also adhere to certain rules, including wearing bathing suits and refraining from consuming alcoholic beverages in the pool area. Additionally, visitors under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

For those seeking a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life, Juniper Hot Springs offers a serene environment to unwind and rejuvenate. The warm spring water, with temperatures ranging from around 80 to 100° Fahrenheit, provides a soothing experience that is sure to leave visitors feeling refreshed and renewed.

Juniper Hot Springs, Lay, Colorado
Juniper Hot Springs, Lay, Colorado

Located in the town of Lay to the West of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, Juniper Hot Spring boasts a mineral count of 24, making it one of the three highest mineral springs in the world and the top mineral spring in North America. Once home to a bathhouse, the site has since been demolished, leaving behind only the foundation and ruins that have been transformed into a colorful canvas, adorned with murals. The Healing Waters of the spring were highly regarded by Native Americans, who even built a tunnel leading to the spring to transport the sick to its therapeutic waters. Evidence of permanent campsites and relics, including spearheads, have been discovered here.

Juniper Hot Spring’s high mineral count makes it a sought after destination for those seeking natural healing remedies. The therapeutic benefits of soaking in mineral springs are well documented and highly regarded. The spring’s therapeutic properties are said to be effective in treating skin conditions, arthritis, and respiratory issues, just to name a few. In addition, immersing oneself in the warm, mineral-rich waters provides a relaxing and rejuvenating experience, perfect for those seeking to unwind and recharge.

While Juniper Hot Spring may be remote and off the beaten path, its location only adds to its allure. Surrounded by peaceful wilderness and the serene sounds of nature, it offers a truly immersive and tranquil experience. The ruins of the bathhouse and the colorful murals that now adorn it are a testament to the site’s rich history and the reverence it has held for centuries.

In short, Juniper Hot Spring is a natural wonder that offers not only physical healing benefits, but also a chance to connect with nature and immerse oneself in history. Its remote location, high mineral count, and serene surroundings make it a must-visit destination for anyone seeking a unique and rejuvenating experience.


Ruins of Juniper Hot Springs Resort. Photo: Flickr
Ruins of Juniper Hot Springs Resort. Photo: Flickr

Juniper Hot Springs boasts a rich and fascinating history that dates back centuries. Native American tribes utilized the springs for their medicinal properties, which were believed to have healing powers. For this reason, the springs were considered to be a sacred place and were known as “Healing Waters.”

In 1939, the U.S. Government conducted a study and discovered that the springs contained 24 minerals, making them a rare find. This mineral composition is only found in two other hot springs in Europe, making Juniper Hot Springs a truly unique and valuable resource. Despite the structures being burned down over time, the natural beauty of the springs remains intact and continues to attract visitors from all over the world.

Visitors to Juniper Hot Springs not only get to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of the water but also get a glimpse into the history of the region. The many relics found in the area provide a window into the lives of the people who used to inhabit this land. It is a testament to the enduring power of nature that the springs have remained a source of fascination and wonder for centuries. Whether you’re looking to unwind after a long day or explore the cultural significance of the springs, Juniper Hot Springs is the perfect destination. Come and experience the magic of Juniper Hot Springs for yourself and make memories that will last a lifetime.

Healing Power of the Hot Springs Pools

Located in the heart of nature, the Hot Springs Pools are a hidden gem with a lot to offer. These pools are famous for their healing properties, and it’s all thanks to the 24 beneficial minerals that the water contains. Interestingly, only two other springs in Europe contain this many minerals.

The pools are made up of five different types, each offering a unique experience. The largest pool is a lap pool that is fed by the other four pools. The other four pools are small and medium-sized, each with their own temperature that is said to be beneficial for the body.

One of the most exciting aspects of these pools is the healing power of the minerals. The minerals are known to offer various health benefits, such as improving blood circulation, reducing inflammation, and promoting relaxation. This is why the pools are a popular destination for those seeking relief from various physical conditions.

While the lap pool is usually colder than the other four, it’s still a great option for those looking for a more active experience. Swimmers can take advantage of the lap pool to get a good workout while enjoying the benefits of the mineral-rich water.

The small pools offer a more intimate experience, with their warm but not-quite-hot temperatures. They’re perfect for couples, families, or groups of friends looking to relax and unwind. The medium-sized pool offers a more spacious experience, making it a great option for those who want a bit more room to move around.

Overall, the Hot Springs Pools offer a unique and exciting experience that is perfect for those looking to improve their physical and mental wellbeing. The pools are a great way to connect with nature, relax and rejuvenate.

What to Expect at Juniper Hot Springs

Located in a remote area, Juniper Hot Springs offers a serene and tranquil environment. The site is gated and well-maintained with a small donation post to the left of the gate. The parking lot has a spotless portapotty and a covered picnic area with patio chairs and tables, perfect for a day out in nature.

The site features five pools, three of which are hot while the other two are pretty cold. The smaller pools have plenty of moss growing in them, which can be scooped out with the strainers provided. However, be cautious of the slippery steps covered in moss. The pools are all gravel bottom, except for the lap pool, and digging into the gravel with your feet makes the hot water bubble up more.

Although the site is maintained, the spring water in the three small pools is held within old building ruins, which may diminish its quality. The concrete is eroding, and there is some flaking paint, which may not be visually appealing. Despite this, the site was clean, with no trash and some flower pots that added a touch of beauty to the surroundings.

Visitors should note that there is no dressing area, but there is a portapotty available. During our visit on a Saturday in January around noon, we encountered a few campers parked on site and two visitors who came by, felt the water, and left immediately. We had the place to ourselves, and although the water was warm at best, around 85 degrees Fahrenheit, any trace of heat was thoroughly pleasing.

In short, if you’re looking for a peaceful and secluded spot to soak in hot springs, Juniper Hot Springs is worth a visit. The site is well-maintained with basic amenities, and the hot pools offer a relaxing experience. However, be mindful of the slippery steps and the moss in the pools. Overall, Juniper Hot Springs is a gem that should not be missed.


Camping at Juniper Hot Springs.
Camping at Juniper Hot Springs.

Unleash your inner adventurer and get ready to experience nature at its finest by camping near Juniper Hot Springs in Colorado. While there are options available for RV camping with hookups, the gravel campsites offer a more authentic and immersive experience. However, it’s important to remember to pack in and pack out all your belongings to preserve the beauty of the environment.

Surrounded by breathtaking views of the mountains and serene forest, the campsites near Juniper Hot Springs provide a perfect retreat for those seeking to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of city life. The tranquil ambiance and fresh air will leave you feeling rejuvenated and invigorated.

As you sit by the campfire, relishing in the warmth and comfort it provides, you’ll realize that nature has a way of bringing people closer together. You’ll find yourself making new friends, sharing stories, and creating unforgettable memories.

But camping near Juniper Hot Springs isn’t just about relaxation and socializing. It’s also about exploring the rugged terrain and embarking on thrilling adventures. Whether it’s hiking along the nearby trails, soaking in the natural hot springs, or stargazing under the clear night sky, there’s something for everyone.

One of the great things about camping in this area is the opportunity to observe wildlife in their natural habitat. Keep your eyes peeled for deer, elk, and even black bears. But remember to keep a safe distance and never disturb the animals.

As night falls and the stars come out to play, you’ll be mesmerized by the beauty of the Milky Way. With no light pollution, the sky is illuminated with a plethora of stars, making it a stargazer’s paradise.

Find Your Way to Juniper Hot Springs

Are you ready to soak in the healing waters of Juniper Hot Springs? The first step is finding your way there. Follow Highway 40 and make a left on Highway 53. Cross the river and keep your eyes peeled for the springs on your left.

But wait, there’s more! Before you embark on your journey, make sure to pack plenty of water and snacks. The drive can be long and treacherous, so it’s important to stay hydrated and energized. And don’t forget your swimsuit and towel!

As you wind your way through the scenic route, keep an eye out for wildlife. You might spot a majestic elk or a playful otter. Just remember to keep a safe distance and admire from afar.

As you approach the hot springs, you’ll notice the air getting warmer and the scent of sulfur growing stronger. Once you arrive, take a moment to breathe in the fresh mountain air and soak in the natural beauty around you.

Now it’s time to slip into the soothing waters of Juniper Hot Springs. The mineral-rich water will work wonders on your skin and muscles, leaving you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. And the best part? You’ll be surrounded by stunning views of the Rocky Mountains.

As you soak, take a moment to reflect on the natural wonder of Juniper Hot Springs. This hidden gem is a testament to the power of Mother Nature and the importance of preserving our planet. So, sit back, relax, and soak in the magic of this one-of-a-kind destination.

When it’s time to leave, don’t forget to take your trash with you. Let’s all do our part to keep this beautiful wilderness pristine for generations to come. And who knows? Maybe you’ll be back someday to bask in the healing waters of Juniper Hot Springs once again.

Tips for Exploring Juniper Hot Springs

Exploring hot springs can be a great adventure, but it’s important to be prepared before you go. Here are some tips to make the most out of your visit to Juniper Hot Springs:

– Bring toilet paper (just in case) and/or wet wipes for the portapotty even though it was spotless when I went.

– Wear flip-flops or weather-appropriate shoes for walking around.

– Pack a lunch and plenty of water to stay hydrated.

– Don’t expect a super hot soak, but if you’re a hot spring enthusiast, you’ll enjoy this unique soaking experience.

– Pair this spring with a visit to nearby Steamboat Springs and visit Strawberry Park or other springs in the area.

What to bring:

– Robe: A robe will come in handy when you’re ready to get out of the water and dry off.

– Towel: A towel is essential for drying off after your soak.

– Bathing suit: A bathing suit is required for soaking in the hot springs.

– Moisturizer/Lotion: The hot springs can be drying, so bring some moisturizer or lotion to keep your skin hydrated.

– Flip flops/slides: Flip flops or slides are a must-have for walking around the hot springs.

– Picnic: A picnic is a great way to enjoy the scenery and relax after your soak.

– Water: Bring plenty of water to stay hydrated during your visit.

– Wet bag for wet items: A wet bag is a great way to keep wet items separate from dry items in your bag.

– Wet wipes: Wet wipes are always handy to have, especially if you’re using a portapotty.

– Cash for the fee: There is a fee to visit Juniper Hot Springs, so be sure to bring cash.

– Firewood: If you’re dead set on using the fire pit, consider bringing your own firewood.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to enjoy your visit to Juniper Hot Springs to the fullest. So pack your bags, grab your swimsuit, and get ready for a relaxing and rejuvenating soak in nature.


Juniper Hot Springs has been attracting visitors for centuries, and it’s not hard to see why. The rich mineral waters and eclectic atmosphere create a unique and inviting experience that is hard to find elsewhere. Those who appreciate history and natural beauty will be drawn to this hidden gem.

The hot springs are surrounded by flower pots, moss scoops, and a fire pit, creating a cozy and inviting atmosphere. The deck and chairs are perfect for relaxing and taking in the scenery. While the two larger pools may be more lively in the summer, the water temperature is always enjoyable. Visitors can soak in the richest mineral springs in North America while surrounded by colorful and vibrant murals.

If you decide to visit Juniper Hot Springs, remember to leave no trace. There is a trash can at the entrance gate, so be sure to dispose of any waste properly. While the water temperature may not be steamy hot, the experience is still worth it. The history and natural beauty of the area make it a must-visit destination for anyone in the area.

In conclusion, Juniper Hot Springs is a hidden gem that offers a unique and inviting experience. The history and mineral-rich water make it a must-visit destination for anyone in the area. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing soak or simply want to take in the natural beauty, Juniper Hot Springs is the perfect destination.

Update: Juniper Hot Springs: Future Development Plans Uncertain After Vandalism

The future of Juniper Hot Springs, a popular attraction in the area, is uncertain following a series of recent vandalism incidents. In January, someone removed an overflow pipe that feeds warm water from smaller pools into the larger one, causing potential damage to the structure. Then, in February, vandals broke into the fee-collection box, causing damage to the mechanism. Thankfully, no money was stolen as the box was empty at the time.

The incidents have raised concerns about the safety and security of the area, as well as the potential impact on future development plans. Many visitors come to the hot springs to relax and unwind, but these recent events have left them feeling uneasy. The damage caused by the vandalism will require costly repairs, and it remains to be seen whether the area will be able to recover from these setbacks.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding the future of Juniper Hot Springs, there is hope that the area can be restored to its former glory. Local officials and community members are working together to find solutions to the ongoing issues, including increased security measures and more frequent maintenance checks. With the right resources and support, it is possible that the area can once again become a beloved destination for locals and tourists alike.

Local Information

Address: 8090 Moffat County Rd 53, Lay, CO 81625
GPS: 40.466909,-107.952578
Season: Year-round
Suits: Required




Anne loves to explore the world and share her experiences through her blog. She loves to travel to places that are off the beaten path and find unique experiences to share with her readers. She also loves to share tips on how to make the most of a trip, from budgeting to activities. She hopes that her blog will inspire others to explore the world and enjoy the beauty of nature.