Getting To The Radium Natural Hot Springs In Colorado - A Hidden Gem

This post was originally published on 27th April 2016 and updated on 14th April 2018.

radium hot spring colorado

A natural hot spring is one of my most favourite things EVER.

Relaxing in a hot spring, surrounded by nature whilst soaking in all those minerals is such an amazing and therapeutic feeling – for the body, mind and soul.

When we were living in Colorado, we discovered that we were pretty near to the Radium Hot Springs. Turns out, finding the hot spring is not as easy as you might think.

ABOUT RADIUM HOT SPRINGS IN COLORADO

Radium Hot Springs in Colorado is an authentic and primitive natural hot spring experience. This naturally fed hot spring sits right on the banks of the spectacular Colorado River.

Originally, I thought that it was discovered by river runners but since writing this post, a reader has commented that he and his buddies were the ones who discovered and built the spring! Check out the full story from Mike in the comments below. It’s a very cool story and we’re so stoked that he shared it with us.

The closest town to Radium Hot Spring is Kremmling which is slightly north. To the south are the towns of Silverthorne, Eagle and Edwards. It’s one of the few natural hot springs which is relatively near to Denver, which is about a 2 hour drive away.

Although the natural hot spring is small (approximately 20ft/6m), we loved the primitive feel of Radium Hot Springs - the fact that you were off the beaten track and the only thing surrounding you is nature. It hasn’t been commercialised in any way. And as I mentioned earlier, you have to have a rough idea of where you are going because there isn’t any signage or directions! 

There are only three ways of getting there:

  1. Raft or kayak
  2. 4x4 car (limited access)
  3. Hiking

We took the hiking route.

kayaking colorado river away from radium hot springs

BEST TIME OF YEAR TO GO

The best time of year to go is between summer and autumn. During spring, the river may be high due to snow melt which means that the overflow will go into the Radium Hot Springs pool. That means that the hot spring may be more of a lukewarm spring!

Having said that, we went in April and lucky for us it was a glorious sunny day. The water temperature in the spring wasn’t super hot, more like bath water temp, and still very enjoyable. As it was a sunny day, we were quite warm so I wonder if it we would have found it too hot if we went during summer?

The other great thing about going at that time of the year was that we had it all to ourselves. We’ve heard that it gets extremely busy from morning all the way into the evening, especially on weekends. When we arrived, there were a couple of kayakers who had paddled down the river and stopped for a dip. By the time we reached the spring, they were just leaving so we got to soak in the natural hot spring all by ourselves, which is great because it really isn’t that big!

mick and jen in radium hot spring

GETTING TO RADIUM HOT SPRINGS, COLORADO

 

If you are heading to the Radium Hot Spring from Kremmling:

  • Go south on Highway 9 for 2 miles/3.2km to Trough Road, also called Grand County Rd 1. Turn right.
  • Follow this for around 14 miles/22.5km until you reach Grand County Rd 11. You’ll also see a BLM sign at the corner. Turn right.
  • Follow this road for about a mile (1.6km) and you will see the Mugrage Campground on the left. This is the best spot to park for the Radium Hot Springs.

If you are coming from Silverthorne:

  • Exit the I-70 onto Blue River Parkway (CO-9) north at Silverthorne. Travel along CO-9 for approx. 35 miles/56.5km until you reach Trough Road/Grand County Rd. 1 - turn left here. Then continue as per above.

If you are coming from Eagle or Edwards:

  • Take the I-70 to US 131 at Wolcott. Turn north to Steamboat Springs on US 131.
  • Travel about 12 miles/19km to State Bridge Lodge and then turn right onto Eagle County Rd 11 (Trough Road).
  • Travel on Trough Road for about 10 miles/16km to Grand County Rd 11. You’ll see a BLM sign on the corner. Turn left. 
  • Follow this road for about a mile (1.6km) and you will see the Mugrage Campground on the left. This is the best spot to park for the Radium Hot Springs.

The hike to Radium Hot Spring is about a mile (1.6km) from the Mugrage Campground and will take around 20 minutes.

If you are looking at the restrooms, you will see a steep trail to the left and that is where you need to start (see picture below of the trail head which is in front of our car).

Once you climb that, the trail flattens out. You’ll walk across a mesa to a cliff above the Radium Hot Spring, where you will then need to climb down a rock face to the river. It’s around about a 60ft/18m drop.

This can be challenging for some so keep your ability in mind. Again the trail here isn’t signposted so we’ll try to illustrate our route as best as we can in the pictures below! Click on the pictures for a larger view.

THE BEGINNING OF THE TRAIL HEAD IS JUST IN FRONT OF OUR CAR.

THE INITIAL STEEP CLIMB ONTO THE TRAILHEAD LEADING TO RADIUM HOT SPRINGS. THIS PART CAN BE A BIT SLIPPERY BECAUSE OF THE LOOSE ROCK SO TAKE CARE.

MOST OF THE TRAIL LOOKS LIKE THIS. JUST FOLLOW THE PATH THAT LOOKS THE MOST USED.

THERE ARE SOME MARKERS ALONG THE WAY TO HELP GUIDE YOU.

WE ACTUALLY FOUND A PAPER NOTE UNDER A ROCK. IT HELPED US TO FIND THE RADIUM HOT SPRING!

THE VIEW FROM THE TOP. CONTINUE ALONG THIS MESA AND YOU WILL REACH THE TOP OF THE RADIUM HOT SPRING.

AND HERE WE ARE! THE VIEW OF RADIUM HOT SPRINGS FROM THE TOP.

THIS IS THE CLIMB DOWN. AS LONG AS YOU ARE COMFORTABLE WITH CLIMBING, YOU SHOULDN'T FIND IT TOO DIFFICULT.

AND JUST FOR A DIFFERENT VIEW POINT, THIS IS THE CLIMB BACK UP.

 
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TIPS & THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT RADIUM HOT SPRINGS

  • There aren’t any facilities once you get there. The carpark isn’t that far away but it is a bit of a climb so it’s best to have everything you need with you so you don’t have to go back. The restroom in the Mugrage Campground is a basic pit toilet. I recommend having tissues and hand sanitiser with you.
  • There aren’t any change rooms at the campground or at the natural hot springs so wear your swimming outfit there or you’ll have to get changed whilst people are kayaking past you!
  • We took a packed lunch and really enjoyed relaxing at the hot spring. There isn’t a lot of space so don’t attempt to have a big picnic there!
  • Make sure you have water and sunscreen. Sunburn and dehydration is never good!
  • The first part of the hike is steep with loose rock. Mick was fine getting up and down but I was sliding all over the place. I suggest wearing grippy footwear.

ACCOMMODATION

You can camp at the Mugrage Campground which is very basic or at Radium Recreation Site which has more facilities and is 1.5miles/2.4km further.

You can also camp along the trail heading towards the Radium Hot Spring and as long as you are ok without facilities, you are guaranteed to have a spectacular view.

Alternatively, there are accommodation options in the nearby town of Kremmling.

Booking.com

DIFFICULTY

At the beginning of the hike, there is a steep trail which flattens out and then to access Radium Hot Spring there is a climb down.

Although short, you have to be prepared for the climb down and the climb back up. If a little bit of climbing isn’t your thing, then maybe this is one natural hot spring to avoid!

COST

Free! And please be respectful of the area and leave zero trace. Places like these are beautiful and accessible to all of us so let’s keep it that way.

Have you been there? Do you have a favourite natural hot spring that we should visit? Let me know in the comments below!

Jen

Finding the Radium Hot Springs in Colorado

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