Rocky Mountain National Park is surrounded by several national forests - of which the two main ones are Roosevelt National Forest (to the north and east sides of the park) and Arapaho National Forest (on the west and south sides of the park).
In the national forests, unlike in RMNP, you are allowed to hunt, as well as take your dog on walks, go ATVing or motorcycling, and in the winter, go snowmobiling. Snowmobiling is only allowed on the groomed trails in Arapaho National Forest, many of which can be found near the Grand Lake area to the west side of RMNP. For more specific information and maps, check out the US Forest Service site.
The closest natural hot springs to Rocky Mountain National Park are at Hot Sulphur Springs, CO, located outside of the park about 20 miles to the west of the Kawuneeche Visitor Center on Hwy 40.
*One of the 24 pools in Hot Sulphur Springs, CO
Hot Sulphur Springs has been in operation since 1864. Imagine soaking in the springs where the Ute Indians once bathed. There are over 200,000 gallons of totally natural, fresh hot mineral spring water flowing through the pools daily with no chemicals or filtering.
Every day of the year from 8:00 a.m. to 9:45 p.m. you can access the 24 pools. Pets are not allowed on the property. Kids who are under 12 can only go into four of the pools, leaving the other 20 pools open for Adults Only for a quiet and relaxing experience. Fees charged for entrance.
*Pictures of a few of the other pools at Hot Sulphur Springs
All of the minerals found in the hot springs water are good for hair & skin: sodium, sulfates, chloride, magnesium, potassium, calcium, floride, lithium & zinc. You will leave after your soak feeling very relaxed and refreshed.
*Old Town Hot Springs in the downtown area of Steamboat Springs, CO
Another option for hot springs near RMNP, if you're looking for a longer day trip, is to head northwest from RMNP to Steamboat Springs, CO with its two different hot springs: Strawberry Park Hot Springs and Old Town Hot Springs.
- Strawberry Park Hot Springs is located up in the mountains above Steamboat and is much more natural in feeling. In addition to their hot spring pools, they also offer areas for Watsu therapy and table massages for the total relaxation experience.
- Old Town Hot Springs is perfect for those looking for a nice soak closer to town with waterslides (open seasonally) and a workout facility as well.