Ouray’s Renovated Hot Springs Pool Prepares for Summer Season

[May 2019 | San Juan Silver Stage | By Samantha Tisdel Wright]

Hot Springs Pool in 1927.

The Ouray Hot Springs Pool has been luring visitors to swim and soak in its steamy therapeutic liquefaction ever since 1927, when town fathers mucked out a big hole in the ground on the south end of town and filled it up with geothermal water piped in from several nearby hot springs sources.

The nearly-million-gallon natural outdoor hot tub made a splash from the start. It was originally a privately run endeavor, but the City of Ouray took it over after the stock market crash in the 1930s, and has renovated it several times over the years.

The most recent renovation, which wrapped up in 2017, reconfigured the pool’s historic oval shape into several smaller discreet sections, and added new embellishments including an adults-only overlook pool with a small waterfall, a diving well and a climbing wall that rises right out of the deep section.

“It’s fun to look at the pictures of how the pool evolved from pond to what we have now,” said newly hired pool manager Kentee Pasek, a fourth-generation Ouray native whose great-great-uncle helped dig out the original pond. “It is amazing.”

Hot Springs Pool today.

The pool’s fresh new look has come its fair share of operational challenges. An overabundance of iron in the geothermal spring water recently clogged the pool’s new pre-filtration system, turning the sparkling blue pool water into something resembling English Breakfast tea. The pool closed for a few days in April while staff fixed the problem and spiffed up the bathhouse in preparation for the busy summer season.

“The facility is running well, now,” Pasek said. “We are still learning and fine-tuning as we fig-ure out the nature of this beast.”

Summer pool hours run from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. Popular masters lap swimming and water aerobics programs are offered to pass holders on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, and two sessions of swimming lessons are scheduled in June and July. For more information, visit https://ourayhotsprings.com/.

Photo Credits:

Top: Courtesy photo. Bottom: Laurie Casselberry.