This update covers our visit to Juniper Hot Springs. We really didn’t know what to expect when we went to visit the springs. We had read about the “healing waters” of the springs, but we also read about problems in the area with vandalism etc. We went to see them and wished once we arrived that we had taken our swimsuits with us.
One of the pools is huge and much colder than the others. The owner was actually swimming in the second pool and told us which ones are hot and really hot and just cool. They also have a camping area for self contained campers for only $10 a night, the price to get into your choice of springs is $5 per person per day. The beautiful Yampa River is right across the street from the springs too. The area around the springs is mostly ranches, it is about 25 miles outside of Craig, it’s actually located in the tiny town of Lay, Colorado.
I am pasting information below I found online. We wish we had time for a repeat visit with our suits so we could go in the awesome water, but we are leaving in a couple of day and have a lot of packing to do. If you would like to know more please see the paste below:
By searching history we became aware of the unique fact that the waters, according to a U.S. Government analysis made in 1939, contains 24 minerals. Only two other similar springs exist and they are found in Europe. All of these minerals in Juniper Hot Springs have been found beneficial.
For centuries the Native Americans camped near Juniper Mountain to use the spring. Many relics, spearheads, corn grinders and other artifacts were found which showed at least 5 permanent camps were here. The natives called the spring 'Healing Waters.'
In he 1870's, a white man in passing by the camps found a pair of moccasins beside what looked like a large hole. This was a tunnel to the hot springs where the natives brought their sick.
Joseph F. Garner filed on the land in the spring of 1880, and then deeeded his interest to Major Daniel C. Oaks. Following the issue of the U.S. Patent, Major Oaks leased it ot Mr. Perkins, who being ill, had heard of the springs and was taken there on a mattress in the back of a wagon. within two weeks he was able to drive his team and decided to settle here. He then built a small bathhouse over the springs. This was the first building on the land.
Major Oaks died in 1897 and ownership passed by will to Minerva D Wing, who built a general store, U.S. Post Office, hotel, dining room, bathhouse, and livery stable. There was a cable trolley car across the Yampa River, and mail was brought from Lay three times per week. Supplies were brought from Craig by freight teams which forded the river or were freighted in from Rifle.
Juniper Health Spa
In 1908, Minnie McCausland Failing inherited part of the ownership. While trying to dig a well, all she found was hot water. This have her the idea of developing the small indoor pools. Other owners were involved during which time the Post Office was closed. In 1954 REA electricity was provided. The property was sold in 1962 to Stella Craig.
Since taking over the Springs, Stella along with her sister, Luella, in operating them has stated that, "It was most rewarding to see some people derive miraculous benefits from soaking in the pools." The two sisters ran the pools, operated a cafe' and sold some wonderful 'Juniper Burgers' and rented rooms in the hotel cabins. Approximately 12 years ago, Luella's health deteriorated and they closed the resort and moved to Craig. Juniper Hot Springs has been operated in many ways and has gone through many transitions.
Between physical obsolescence and vandalism, the decision was made to burn the buildings in order to clean up the property. At present time the remaining structures are the concrete building over the three indoor pools, the concrete on the large indoor pool, and the outside pool.
The mineral springs presently flows at the rate of approximately fifty gallons per minute and a temperature of an estimated 102 degrees F. Geological studies indicate that the water comes from the Dakota Formation and migrates up faults associated with Juniper Mountain to the west.
The Future of Juniper Hot Springs
The new owners are planning on completely renovating Juniper Hot Springs into a modern, full service, hotel, restaurant, day spa, and resort destination. In the meantime, you can still camp out and enjoy a great soak in the same hot springs people have been using for centuries.