Getting To The Radium Natural Hot Springs In Colorado - A Hidden Gem
ABOUT RADIUM HOT SPRINGS IN COLORADO
Radium Hot Springs in Colorado is an authentic and primitive natural hot spring experience. The naturally fed hot spring sits right on the banks of the spectacular Colorado River. It was discovered by river runners some time ago, who placed boulders around the source, creating a riverside hot tub. Since then, its popularity has grown but still remains rustic.
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, taking about a 2 hour drive.
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 that surrounds you is nature. It hasn’t been commercialised in any way. Oh, and you have to know where you are going because there isn’t any signage or directions! You also have to work a little to get there (which we like), as there are only three ways of getting there, by raft/kayak, by 4x4 (limited access) or by hiking. We took the hiking route.
BEST TIME OF YEAR TO GO
The recommended time of year to go is between summer and autumn. You have to be careful during spring as the river may be too high due to snow melt which means that the overflow will go into the Radium Hot Springs pool bringing the temperature down. Having said that, we went in April and it was a glorious sunny day. The water temperature wasn’t super hot in the spring, more like bath water temp, and still very enjoyable. Because it was a sunny day, we were quite warm so I wonder if it would be too hot coming into the warmer weather?
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 at the natural hot springs 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!
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 is about a mile (1.6km) to the Radium Hot Spring 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.
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 but there isn’t a lot of space so don’t attempt to have a big picnic there!
Make sure you have water and sunscreen. You never want to get sunburnt or dehydrated!
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.
There is a steep trail which flattens out and then a climb down into the Radium Hot Spring. Although short, you have to be prepared for the climb down at the end 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!
Have you been there? Do you have a favourite natural hot spring that we should visit? Let me know in the comments below!
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