The commercial hot springs throughout the Ouray area provide a safe, fun, and relaxing environment for their visitors. The more wild and natural hot springs, however, could pose some dangers.
Note: by natural hot springs, we mean the ones that are suitable for swimming, not the ones that are highly toxic, way too hot, or dangerous to touch.
The Pros of Hot Springs
- Therapeutic: Whether you’re soaking in a natural spring or a commercial one, hot springs are known to help swimmers relax and achieve better sleep simply because of the soothing temperature.
- Physical Healing: Due to the natural minerals and warm water, both natural and commercial hot springs have been known to ease pain and decrease inflammation for people with ailments like arthritis.
- Muscle Relaxation: Springs are also known to help aid in the relaxation of muscles and the healing of injuries related to sports.
- Entertainment: Safe spring locations are fun places for socialization and aquatic activities for swimmers of all ages.
The Cons of Hot Springs
- Heat Stress: Some hot springs are hotter than others. Both natural and commercial hot springs can lead to an excess of heat exposure that could be detrimental to your health. Be sure to limit your time in the hottest ones.
- Dehydration and Alcohol: Hot springs, natural or commercial, could cause dehydration. This is why it’s best to avoid consuming alcohol while soaking.
- Popularity: Popular hot springs could prevent the hoped-for relaxation simply because there are so many people. Overcrowded pools could lead to unwanted interactions.
- Hunters: This isn’t an issue with commercial hot springs like the Ouray Hot Springs here in town. However, some of the natural hot springs found in the wild are located close to hunters’ favorite hunting spots. Both legal and illegal hunting traps and hunters sitting up in tree stands could harm you and your fellow swimmers by mistake.
- Harmful Bacteria: Bodies of water near natural hot springs may also be heated, but not heated enough to kill any harmful bacteria. Some locations across the country may also contain dangerous amoeba. Use caution when swimming in these locations!