Penny Hot Springs – A Roadside Hot Springs Ready To Soothe Away Your Travel Aches

Penny Hot Springs is a glorious set of man-made rock pools right on the Crystal River, surrounded by beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and with hot minerals flowing straight from the earth at some 133°F. Even better – it’s totally free to use and right next to the highway, making it the perfect rejuvenating experience to enjoy after a day of local recreation in nature.

What To Expect

Looking down on the hot springs from the parking area. Photo by Rebecca V.

About forty-five minutes from Aspen, just past Carbondale, Penny Hot Springs, named after Dan Penny (see Interesting History below), is a popular and naturally fed group of rock-lined pools boasting a refreshing hot mineral soak between the highway and the cool, fast-flowing 50°F Crystal River.

AddressHWY-133 (North of mile marker 55) Redstone, Colorado
LocationBetween Carbondale and Redstone, Colorado
ClothingOptional (officially required during daylight)
Road AccessEasy. All vehicles
Water Temperature97 – 131°F
The perfect sunrise and sunset spot to soak in. Photo by Rebecca V.

The slight smell of sulfur in the air and the sight of iron deposits on the rocks is all you need to be assured of the mineral goodness you’ll be getting in these 95 – 131°F, two-foot deep pools.

Feel free to move around to find your perfect temperature – the pools are formed with rocks that others before you have placed there, and moving these allows more or less river water to flow in. The closer to the hot springs source you go (essentially a natural trickle coming out of the river bank), the hotter it will be, but you can always cool off in the Crystal River if you feel yourself overheating (just be careful in the fast flow!). Also take care when walking around, as hot pockets of water can burn – always check the water before stepping in!

Upstream view at Penny Hot springs. Photo by Joshika

Able to accommodate 10-12 people total, these roadside hot springs are officially clothing required, but generally accepted as being clothing optional – naturists can get away with disrobing because the river is a steep walk down from the roadside parking, and so out of sight of passersby. Even so, we’d suggest you stick to some material coverage until after dark, and be prepared for some nudity regardless of your preferences, especially from the locals.

Standing in the parking area before descending to the hot springs. Photo by Joshika

Across the river, on the east bank of the Crystal River, you’ll see the stunning Filoha Meadows Nature Preserve. You’ll also have a great view of  Elephant Mountain and the “Hells Gate” granite cliffs.

Good To Know

Due largely to their accessibility, with a pull off on Highway 133, the Penny Hot Springs are popular, and can get crowded – try to get there early or on a weekday if you’re not a fan of lots of fellow bathers.

The slope between the parking area and the river bank, while short, is steep and rocky, and in wet weather it can get muddy – wear shoes that grip and take your time going down.

Penny Hot Springs is pet friendly, and you’ll see a lot of dog owners letting their fur babies run around, splashing and sniffing, despite the known etiquette being to keep dogs leashed and to keep them out of the hot springs. 

Penny Hot Springs can get flooded during spring snow melt, and so the best time to head there is late July through winter. Highway 133 is well maintained throughout the year, so snow won’t hold you back from a winter soak!

Beautiful colors, year-round. Photo by Harry E.

Take some water sandals for climbing on the rocks, and sun protection in summer as there is no shade.

There is a port-a-potty there, but no trash cans, so pack out what you pack in, leave the glass containers at home, and Leave No Trace to preserve the beauty and serenity of the location for future hot-springers.

Clean clear water. Photo by Joshika

If you get there and the parking area is full, why not visit another local hot springs near Glenwood Springs?

Interesting History

The Penny Hot Springs are named after Dan Penny who ran a small hotel and bathhouse on the railroad line upstream. Guests staying at his hotel were able to take the waters at the hot springs bathhouse. While the standard had always been to dress in bathing suits when soaking, and to bathe in gender-separated bathhouses, in the 1960s, hippie culture, naturism and taking mixed baths became a fashion there, and, in protest, local residents bulldozed the bathhouse, wanting to destroy the springs. In 1991, Pitkin County bought the property, restored the springs, and opened them to the public for free use.

How To Get There

From Glenwood Springs it’s 33 minutes by car. Take the CO-82 E towards Aspen and just before Carbondale turn right onto the CO-133 S. After 14.1 miles, you’ll see Penny Hot Springs on the east side of Highway 133, a few hundred feet north of mile marker 55. It’s easy to spot as there is a large parking lot opposite a stone wall.

Frome Redstone, Penny Hot Springs is 3.2 miles north of the main (south) entrance to Redstone on HWY 133.

Can I Stay There?

Officially, no, you cannot stay there. You cannot camp in the parking area or beside the springs, but there are trails in the woods, such as the Avalanche Creek Trail, where you can enjoy some back-to-basics remote camping. Alternatively, head to a campground.

Redstone Campground. Source: compendium

Redstone Campground is just four minutes away and has water hookups, a flush toilet (as well as vault), hot and cold running water, and showers. Some sites have electrical hookups for an extra charge. Upper Prince Creek Campground is a free Bureau of Land Management site some 20 minutes north of Penny Hot Springs. It has a vault toilet, a mountain biking trail running through and great views, but there are a lot of cows around, so be warned!

If a hotel is more your thing, check out these comfortable choices in Glenwood Springs just 25 miles away, among them a Courtyard by Marriott and La Quinta by Wyndham.

What Else Can I Do In The Area?

Hayes Creek Falls. Photo by Carly W.

Go see Hayes Creek Falls, 5 miles south on the 133 from Penny Hot Springs (see the brown sign on the right opposite the red rock). If you can stand the cold, take a plunge in the 6-foot deep swimming hole at the bottom of the falls. Aspen Snowmass Ski Resort is less than an hour from the hot springs, one of the best ski resorts in Colorado.

We also recommend a visit to Hanging Lake in the White River National Forest, and some fun at the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.

Go rafting and kayaking on the Colorado River or hike, bike and climb in the stunning surrounding wilderness.

If you are interested in discovering more of Colorado’s hot spring gems, we recommend these free offerings, just as beautiful as Penny Hot Springs, and here a generous listing of the best commercial hot springs to head to in Colorado to treat yourself to a bit of luxury with your mineral soak! Enjoy!

The Takeaway

Penny Hot Springs is an easy-to-access, clothing optional roadside hot springs with stunning surrounding scenery that is best visited early morning on a weekday if you want to avoid the crowds. Tread carefully, especially near the 130°F source, and feel free to adjust the rocks and make use of the cold river water to keep your soaking temperature perfect.


While we at Traxplorio do our very best to give you the latest information about these hot springs sites, life happens, weather happens, and property owners happen. We always recommend you go to the official hot springs’ web page and/or the relevant state authority page to check conditions, times, and prices (where relevant) before you head out. Thanks for understanding, and enjoy your soak!

Related Articles

Glacier National Park Camping – Where To Grab Some Shut-Eye Between Exploring And Discovering

Glacier National Park is a beautiful destination to head to and explore, and if you are set on camping, there are more than 10 campgrounds in, and just outside, the ... Read more

Things To Do In Breckenridge, Colorado – Winter Fun And History In House-Sized Museums!

Breckenridge, spread across a basin of the Rocky Mountains’ Tenmile Range, is renowned for its ski resort, year-round alpine activities, and gold mining history. The Victorian core, in the Breckenridge ... Read more

Things To Do In Billings, Montana – Museums, Geology, History And More!

Billings is a city in southern Montana on the Yellowstone River. It’s best known for its being near Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, where Lieutenant Colonel Custer died, but there ... Read more

The Best 14+ Things To Do In Newport, Oregon

For over a century now, the small seaside town of Newport has brought visitors pouring to its shores with the promise of unique sights and stunning coastal scenery. Newport’s historic ... Read more

Things To Do In The Florida Keys – History, Water Fun, Eats & Amazing Sunsets!

One of America’s most unique car trips, the scenic 110-mile Overseas Highway promises not just great views of the surrounding ocean, but a string of islands to excite, inspire, feed ... Read more

Yosemite Camping – Our Top Picks For The Most Memorable Experiences

Breathtaking doesn’t even begin to describe Yosemite National Park. In reality it is simply an overload for the senses – lakes, rivers, meadows, soaring cliffs, mountains, glaciers, waterfalls, oak and ... Read more