Steamboat’s Heart Spring is an incredibly unique natural phenomenon that has served as a medicinal gathering place for centuries. This natural hot spring produces 220 gallons of 103-degree water all day every day, filling the Heart Spring soaking pool at Old Town Hot Springs and, eventually, the rest of the pools on-site. The soothing spring water naturally contains beneficial minerals that enhance the relaxation experience; however, luckily, there is no odor associated with the Heart Spring water.
“From the Native Americans’ original discovery and use of the hot springs until now, people have been enjoying the thermal waters,” said Mark vonSchondorf, Aquatics Director at Old Town Hot Springs. “As Steamboat’s oldest nonprofit, Old Town Hot Springs has been protecting the Heart Spring since 1935.”
This gathering place has held significance for more than a hundred years. The Native American Ute Indians who first settled in the area knew them as “medicine” springs and frequented them for sacred physical and spiritual healing. Later the pools were a gathering and bathing place for the first homesteaders.
“Today, the Heart Spring is still a social and cultural melting pot that encourages deep conversation with acquaintances,” vonSchondorf said. In addition to deep relaxation and rejuvenation, the Heart Spring offers a variety of health benefits applicable to year-round residents and visitors.
Minerals, Including Lithium
The Heart Spring water naturally contains a variety of minerals, including lithium, that can be beneficial for soaks. Lithium in prescription quantities is a mood stabilizer, so soaking in the lithium-rich water can aid in the experience of relaxation and increasing calm. While the waters are mineral-rich, they, fortunately, do not have a noticeable odor from this particular spring.
Hot Water Stimulates Blood Circulation
Soaking in the 103 degree water also helps stimulate healthy blood circulation, which results in increased blood oxygenation. Maintaining healthy oxygen levels is particularly important at altitude, allowing your lungs and heart to operate efficiently. This increased circulation is also beneficial for cold feet and joints on some of Steamboat’s harsh winter days. Visitors should consider soaking after a long ski day to help revitalize muscle tissues.
Reduce Muscle Tightness and Improve Range of Motion
Imagine that soaking in the Heart Spring has similar health benefits as hot yoga. The warm water helps reduce muscle tightness and improve range of motion. This is why you’ll see so many locals soaking in the Heart Spring after their gym workouts.
Increased Heart Rate Stimulates Metabolism
One unexpected health benefit of soaking in the Heart Springs is increasing your heart rate and stimulating your metabolic rate. “Being in the hot springs burns about 100 calories per hour,” vonSchondorf said. “Soaking also stimulates your natural thirst, encouraging you to be more hydrated.”
Advice for Enjoying the Benefits of the Heart Spring
Does all of this sound too good to be true? Indeed you won’t soon forget your experience soaking in the natural hot springs in Steamboat Springs. To best enjoy the benefits of the Heart Springs, please consider that the Heart Spring pool is only open to individuals 15 years of age and older. Please also be prepared to stay adequately hydrated while soaking in the pool. Often, visitors don’t realize that they are actually sweating and losing hydration while they soak in the hot water. Be prepared to stay hydrated while enjoying the Heart Spring and other hot pools at Old Town Hot Springs.