You all know how much I love Colorado and try not to let a year pass without at least one visit. In 2015, when my backpacking trip was cut short by illness, I spent some time exploring new (to me) areas, like Buena Vista. On my way out to St Elmo ghost town, I had passed by Mt Princeton Hot Springs and knew I had to come back. As soon as I got home to a computer, I was checking calendars and availability – a year out, the fall weekends were almost booked up! I was lucky to snag a condo cabin for 3 nights in October.
I flew into Denver early on a Friday, grabbed a rental car and hit the road. Buena Vista is about 3 hours from the Denver airport. Taking the southern route, 285, is much more enjoyable than the craziness of the I-70 corridor. Technically, Mt Princeton Hot Springs is in Nathrop, about 10 minutes from Buena Vista. Buena Vista is where you’ll find a grocery store, gas stations and restaurants.
Friday night I was solo, thanks to a long-time friend (who I hadn’t seen in years), who stood me up because she “drank too much.” So I spent some time in the hot springs pool and used the evening to catch up on work – unfortunately, I was still doing two jobs at work, and this trip came at the end of quarter, so I had to lug a laptop along, which I almost never do!
Saturday morning, I took advantage of the free yoga class in the pool – I’ve never done water yoga before, and it was fantastic! It was 50 degrees outside, the pool is around 100 degrees…it made for a great start to the day! Later in the day, my friend Deborah arrived from Denver and we set out for a short hike at Cottonwood Pass. We couldn’t find the trail-head we were looking for, so ended up just parking at the pass and following the trail there for a bit. The view was pretty amazing, as we watched a storm roll over the next valley.
The aspens may have been a bit past peak, but they were still pretty spectacular! We made several photo stops along the road on the way back to our cabin.
When we got back to the cabin, my aunt Norie had arrived from Denver. We spent the evening cooking dinner in the cabin, and enjoying the hot springs. Before bed, I gave nighttime photography another shot, but I still need to work on it – nothing share-worthy on this trip (at least I was able to stay up past dark – thank you, shorter days!)
Sunday morning, we had a quick breakfast in the cabin and cruised the web for a suitable hike that would still allow the ladies to get back to Denver at a reasonable hour. We settled on the Poplar Gulch trail near St Elmo ghost town. We all had our SLR cameras out, so it was a leisurely stroll through the woods as we each snapped a ton of photos of the changing aspens.
Norie and I decided to have another soak before she hit the road, so we went to some of the other pools – we first went to the river, where stones are arrayed to form pools of varying temperatures. This was a cool feature, but I didn’t love sitting in sand and rocks, so we headed back up to some of the other pools.
After both Norie and Deborah had gone back to Denver, I was solo again, with a lot of work to catch up on. I decided to head into Buena Vista for dinner since the wifi at the resort wasn’t great. Quincy’s Steakhouse had free wifi and 1 menu choice: steak, haha! I was able to finish most of my work and enjoy another soak before bedtime.
I had booked the latest flight on Monday, so I had plenty of time to find my way back to Denver. I first went into Buena Vista to hire a new realtor for my property in nearby Twin Lakes. (For sale here!) Once that business was taken care of, I decided to drive up and see the property. I always love driving through Leadville and this time I got spritzed with snow while the nearby peaks got a dusting of white.
From there, I headed over to Breckenridge, another of my favorite mountain towns. I had lunch here and spent a few hours strolling main street, mostly window shopping. Then, it was time to begin the sad drive back to the airport. I get so sad every time I leave Colorado – so why do I keep leaving? When will I finally just stay?! Hopefully soon!
No amount of time in Colorado is ever enough, but this was a great little weekend getaway and I truly loved Mt Princeton Hot Springs resort. The wifi was bad, restaurant service spotty, but you just can’t beat the setting. I love that it’s not right in town, but close enough to run in for anything. The resort offers a ton of different lodging options – we had the downstairs half of a cabin (called a condo cabin.) There are also full cabins, Cliffside and Hillside hotel rooms, and rooms in the lodge. In the summer, there’s a kid-friendly pool with waterslide, and the main pool and spa area have a full roster of free fitness classes. Our cabin had a queen size bedroom, plus a pullout couch in the living room. We also had a small kitchen, which was convenient as the on-site restaurant was pricey and not a lot of variety.
This is definitely someplace I will return to someday and hopefully sooner rather than later! So…what other hot springs resorts do I need to check out?
For all of my Colorado pictures, click here!