by Dick Butler
Photos by the author

It was a crisp clear late March day that added to our enjoyment of an afternoon soak in the hot spring pools of Strawberry Park.

After a strenuous day of skiing, our group of five joined dozens of other participants at this popular outdoor facility, part health spa, part local swimming hole, and part natural wonder, just a twenty-minute drive over a bumpy muddy road from the Steamboat Grand Hotel. The setting reminded me of a place left over from the sixties, with its rustic lean-tos and open air shelters of heavy timber, wood shakes and native stone, complete with several small pools, foot bridges, small waterfalls, and stone surfaced terraces. I wondered if it was owned, developed and operated by a hippie architect, whose dream business model had come true.

A full service health spa it is not. But for close contact with nature, this 40 acre wooded and hilly site sensitively improved by man, was much more than I expected. It was a striking relaxed contrast to the built-up, commercialized core of what now has become Steamboat Springs.

Two enclosed pools with hand-crafted stone walls set the warmest water [104 degrees] aside from the much much cooler Hot Springs Creek. The much cooler “creek pool”, provided a cold contrast for those most daring. A brief 30 seconds in the Creek and I was numb all over.

Massages, aromatherapy, and other therapeutic approaches are offered at the Park, along with overnight stays at tent sites and unique rustic cabins.

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