Learn more about the current USGS study on our mineral springs
Take a GOOGLE MAP Tour of the Mineral Springs
Summer guided Mineral Springs Tours
The Ute people of the Yampa Valley believed the local mineral springs were sacred waters. The first white settlers, the Crawford family, were drawn to this area in part for the 150 mineral springs, which later led to the naming of the town, Steamboat Springs. Early 20th-century leaders and developers valued the springs’ healing properties and the potential of creating a spa resort. This created more awareness of the springs and enhanced tourism to Steamboat Springs after the arrival of the railroad in 1909. For over 100 years, the local mineral springs have continued to spark interest and provide wellness benefits, including the thermal springs of the Old Town Hot Springs and Strawberry Park Hot Springs. In 2021, the Sulfur Cave & Spring was listed a National Historic Landmark for the worms discovered inside that exist nowhere else on earth. Local mineral springs continue to be a draw for visitors and scientists all over the world.
Little is known about how the springs function, their underground networks, and what activities might negatively impact them. Many of these springs are in public parks and have deferred maintenance needs related to infrastructure and access. There are concerns about possible negative impacts on these springs as some have previously been damaged, diminished, or destroyed through development such as the rerouting of Highway 40 and the building of the railroad.
The Tread of Pioneers Museum and other community partners helped create new mineral springs interpretive signs, and a Google Maps Interactive Tour, and co-present the summer weekly Mineral Springs Walking Tour. We are also engaging with the City to study, protect and preserve the mineral springs’ history and function and to assist with the springs’ protection and policies that will help guide land use management around these springs. These efforts resulted in a Mineral Springs Steering Committee under the City's Parks and Rec department with goals that coordination and collaboration must be improved to protect and enhance our treasured mineral springs’ health and function today and for future generations.
The purpose of the Steering Committee is to draw upon the range of expertise available among the members to maximize the long-term integrity, utility, and safety of park infrastructure and the mineral springs protection of the natural processes and features while maintaining public access. The Mineral Springs Steering Committee, the City of Steamboat Springs, and community partners will consider the various impacts on mineral springs' function and health in City policies, procedures, and decision-making to assist in achieving the protection of the valued mineral springs.