South Canyon Springs is an interesting alternative to the commercial hot springs in the Glenwood Springs area. South Canyon Hot Springs consists of two small hippy pools located up on a hillside with great views of the surrounding mountains. We visited the springs in June of 2009 and found only one of the two pots worth soaking in (the other was too stagnant and mucky).
The conditions of the springs are known to vary – sometimes they are perfect and clear and other times shallow and muddy. The larger pool was relatively clean and hot (estimated to be around 112 degrees). There was a group at the springs before us but they found the pools too hot for soaking.
The pots are definitely secluded and many people who enjoy these undeveloped, natural hot springs tend to leave their clothing behind. If you plan on visiting one of these hot springs it is good to be aware of the fact that you might see some weird going-ons from hippy energy work to completely nude old peeps.
Camping doesn’t seem to be the best idea near the springs, although we did see some fire pits and primitive camp spots on the hillside above the springs. South Canyon is also home to the county dump so a steady flow of garbage trucks pass by and disrupt the tranquility of the springs. Like all natural hot spring areas, the police in the area tend to do some patrolling so campers might get harassed and we are not so sure about the laws in this area. There are some great camp spots in the nearby White River National Forest.
South Canyon Springs are located just off exit 111 on Interstate 70 in Western Colorado. The exit is located about five miles west of Glenwood Springs and about 80 miles east of Grand Junction. To find the springs, head south on South Canyon Creek Road which winds a bit around and then crosses the Colorado River. The parking area for the springs is located on the right hand side of the road a half a mile from where the road crosses the Colorado.
A well-worn path to the springs is found on the right side of the turnout and the short hike leads you down the hill, over a small stream, and up to the springs on the hillside. It would be pretty hard to miss the springs from the trail, but you can’t seem them from the road or the trail until you’re practically standing next to the pools.
For detailed information about the springs and the commercial hot springs resorts in the area see Touring Colorado Hot Springs.