Natural Hot Springs in Ouray

Natural Hot Springs

Each of our four redwood tubs offer a spectacular 360-degree view of the surrounding mountains. Guests of the hotel enjoy soaking in the evenings under a blanket of stars or during the daytime when the breathtaking scenery of the San Juan Mountains and of Ouray shines.

Colorado Hot Springs Vacation Destinations > Ouray Colorado > Box Canyon Lodge and Hot Springs

Although the Ute Indians were the first ones to enjoy the hot springs on the property, the geothermal waters were first tapped for commercial use in 1925 for a healing sanitarium.  Our hot springs in Ouray have been used ever since for the relaxing enjoyment of people for decades.

Today, the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs occupies a portion of that sanitarium and now offers outdoor mineral hot springs tubs terraced on the mountainside immediately behind the lodge. Each of four redwood tubs offer a spectacular 360-degree view of the surrounding mountains. Revitalizing in these hot springs in this scenic setting is popular year-round.

The temperatures in the hot tubs range between 103 and 108 degrees. Since the hot springs water is constantly flowing in and out, replacing itself every 24 hours, there is no need to use chemicals in our hot springs. Since children are usually present at the lodge, bathing suits are required when using the hot tubs.

The hot springs water is used throughout the motel for heating during the winter months. Although we don’t circulate the hot springs water for domestic use, we use it to heat our domestic water through the use of custom-built heat exchangers.

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes the water hot?

As a local geologist has explained, as ground water from rain or melting snow seeps down into the earth’s crust, it is heated and rises through the fault structure to the earth’s surface.

Why doesn’t the water have a sulfur odor?

Unlike many other hot springs you find elsewhere, the hot springs in Ouray do not contain sulfur and, therefore, do not have an unpleasant odor. The composition of the water shows that it is unusually high in sodium, manganese, iron, and sulfates.

What is the temperature of the water?

The temperature of the water as it comes out of the ground is around 140 degrees Fahrenheit, remaining at a fairly constant temperature throughout the year. The temperature of the water in the tubs is maintained between 103 and 108 degrees by limiting the flow of hot springs water into each tub. Neither cold water nor chemicals are used in the tubs.

Where does the water come out of the ground?

Although there are several springs which surface on our property, the one which supplies the water for the hot tubs is visible from the redwood walkway above the two lower tubs. On cool days, and especially in the winter, you can see steam rising from the spring. The reddish deposits on the hillside below the spring have resulted from the many minerals contained in the water.

Does the flow of the spring vary?

The flow varies only slightly throughout the year. The spring generally flows at about 15 gallons per minute, although the flow is slightly greater in July and August.

Does everyone in Ouray have hot springs water?

Besides the Box Canyon Lodge, only two motels and one or two individuals have rights to geothermal water. The City of Ouray owns all remaining hot water rights and is the most extensive user in the area, operating the million-gallon hot springs public pool at the north end of Ouray.

Do we use the hot water for other purposes?

The hot springs water is used throughout the lodge for heating during the winter months. Although we do not circulate the hot springs water for domestic use, we use it to heat our domestic water through the use of custom-built heat exchangers.

View from the natural hot springs terraced on the mountainside

Is the hot springs water safe for drinking?

No, but this is not because of dangerous chemicals or minerals. It is not advisable to drink the water just as it is not a good idea to drink water from a flowing mountain stream. A complete chemical analysis of the Box Canyon Lodge hot springs water follows on the next page. A copy of this is available in the office for anyone who is interested.

winter hot springs in Ouray

Are the hot tubs kept open during the winter?

Definitely! Winter at the Box Canyon Lodge is a special time, and soaking in the tubs as snow quietly blankets the city is truly a memorable experience.

When are the hot tubs available for use?

The hot springs are available for guest use every day from 8:00am until 10:00pm. We do not allow people to use our hot springs unless they stay with us.

Does soaking in the hot springs water actually have therapeutic benefits?

Certainly the lady who visited the Cogar Sanitarium in the early 1900′s thought so and many of our guests would agree. Most definitely there’s no better way to revitalize after a full day of skiing, hiking, four-wheeling, or snowmobiling.  Our chemical analysis of the water was checked a number of years ago.

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