Hot Springs a hot attraction

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The Strawberry Park Hot Springs is one of the Yampa Valley's staple attractions that draws visitors during all seasons.

While nothing beats a dip into the hot springs after a hard day of skiing, the natural hot springs also are a popular summer spot with hiking and biking trails, picnic areas and camping sites.

Tucked seven miles from downtown Steamboat, the Strawberry Park Hot Springs is a mixture of mineral springs and gardens.

The main attraction is the hot springs. Three pools are divided by stonewalls with five waterfalls flowing from one pool to the next. The temperature is controlled through rustic gates that regulate how much cool creek water comes into the hot springs.

The largest hot pool is kept at around 104 degrees. The next pool is slightly smaller and cooler. The cool or creek cell is larger than both of the other cells and is a comfortable contrast to the hot pools and visitors can find coveted warm spots.

The hot springs also houses a stone steam house, warm changing area and picnic areas.

Getting to the hot springs can be tricky in the winter and is illegal to drive without four-wheel drive or chains. But from May 1 to Nov. 1, the road is accessible by most vehicles and can be reached by hiking trails.

If driving to the hot springs, visitors can take Routt County Road 36. The last three miles of road are steep and winding gravel, but are maintained on a regular basis.

From Sunday through Thursday admittance to the hot springs is from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., with the pools closing at 10:30 p.m. On Friday and Saturday, admittance is from 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., with the pools closing at midnight.

The cost is $10 for adults, $5 for teenagers and $3 for children. No one under 18 is allowed in the hot springs after dark when clothing is optional. n

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