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Hot Sulphur Springs, Colorado

Coordinates: 40°04′30″N 106°06′11″W / 40.07500°N 106.10306°W / 40.07500; -106.10306
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Hot Sulphur Springs, Colorado
Town Hall on Aspen Street
Town Hall on Aspen Street
Location of Hot Sulphur Springs in Grand County, Colorado.
Location of Hot Sulphur Springs in Grand County, Colorado.
Coordinates: 40°04′30″N 106°06′11″W / 40.07500°N 106.10306°W / 40.07500; -106.10306
Country United States
State State of Colorado
CountyGrand County Seat[1]
Incorporated (town)April 1, 1903[2]
 • TypeStatutory Town[1]
 • Total0.77 sq mi (1.99 km2)
 • Land0.77 sq mi (1.99 km2)
 • Water0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
Elevation7,697 ft (2,346 m)
 • Total687
 • Density890/sq mi (350/km2)
Time zoneUTC-7 (MST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-6 (MDT)
ZIP code[6]
80451 (PO Box)
Area code970
FIPS code08-37600
GNIS feature ID2412770[4]

Hot Sulphur Springs is a statutory town and the county seat of Grand County, Colorado, United States.[7] The town is located near Byers Canyon between Granby and Kremmling, 95 miles (153 km) northwest of Denver and 30 miles (48 km) northwest of Winter Park. The town population was 687 at the 2020 census.[5] Its elevation is 7,680 feet (2,340 m).


Hot Sulphur Springs was originally a winter campground for Native Americans who came to use the hot springs for medicinal purposes. In 1840 William Newton Byers, founder of the Rocky Mountain News, was the first European American to document the springs. The town was established in 1860, making it the oldest town in the county, originally named "Saratoga West" and sometimes called "Warm Springs".

In 1863 the town site was bought by Byers in a backroom deal with a Minnesota Sioux woman[citation needed] despite a treaty naming the Ute tribe as the lawful owners[citation needed], who unsuccessfully sued Byers, while Byers and territorial governors William Gilpin and John Evans launched a "The Utes Must Go" campaign with the help of the U.S. Cavalry[citation needed]. Wishing to create a world-famous spa and resort ("the American Switzerland"), Byers changed the name and surveyed, platted, and named the streets, attracting famous visitors including Zane Grey and John Wesley Powell.[8] The first pool house was built ca. 1900.

When Grand County was formed, Hot Sulphur Springs was the first county seat from 1874 to 1882, after which it moved to Grand Lake. The county seat returned in 1888 and has been there ever since.

Byers died on March 25, 1903. The town was incorporated on April 1, 1903.[2] His original family cabin is located at 204 Byers Avenue along what is now Highway 40. The building is currently the county's only mortuary.

The first winter carnival in Hot Sulphur Springs was held on December 31, 1911. The success of this event led to a three-day carnival which took place on February 10–12, 1912. The following winter, a second annual winter carnival was planned in conjunction with the first Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Carnival. This series of events led to the creation of Howelsen Hill Ski Area in Steamboat Springs, and is credited with playing a large role in the birth of the Colorado ski industry.[9]

The big plans of Byers were prevented by the slow arrival of the railroad in 1928 (after the construction of the Moffat Tunnel), and eventually the railroad quit stopping there, although the town is still a resort attracting many visitors. The first lodging rooms opened in 1926.

In 1997 the resort was extensively renovated, and the Ute tribal spiritual leader blessed the waters at the opening ceremony, attended by almost 1,000, which welcomed the Utes to use the springs once again.

Payday was always the last day of the month and was considered a dangerous day because of the many gunfights that occurred. Because Halloween is October 31, the last day of the month, the people of the town celebrated Halloween on the 30th to keep children safe, which continues to the present day.

The Pioneer Village Museum is also located in Hot Sulphur Springs.


Hot Sulphur Springs is located in central Grand County, along the Colorado River, just east (upstream) of where the river enters Byers Canyon. U.S. Route 40 passes through the center of town as Byers Avenue; it leads 10 miles (16 km) east to Granby, the largest town in the county, and 17 miles (27 km) west to Kremmling. The Byers Canyon Shooting Range west of town is part of the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Hot Sulphur Springs State Wildlife Area providing a winter foraging area for big game animals.[10]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.77 square miles (2.0 km2), all of it land.[11]


This climate type is dominated by the winter season, a long, cold period with short, clear days, relatively little precipitation mostly in the form of snow, and low humidity. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Hot Sulphur Springs has a continental subarctic climate, abbreviated "Dfb" on climate maps.[12]

Climate data for Hot Sulphur Springs, Colorado
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Mean daily maximum °F (°C) 39
Mean daily minimum °F (°C) 14
Average precipitation inches (mm) 0.5
Source: Weatherbase [13]


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census

Hot springs[edit]

The natural thermal springs at Hot Sulphur Springs are located in just outside the town limits on the west side of the Colorado River. The natural hot springs are heated from geothermal activity. Historically, the indigenous Ute people used the springs, but as more European settlers, and American soldiers arrived in the area they were pushed out although the court system declared the Utes the rightful owners. In more recent years a resort has been built at the hot springs that offers several soaking pools and tubs with temperatures ranging from 98 °F to 112 °F.[14]

Water profile[edit]

The hot mineral water emerges from the source at 125 °F / 52 °C at a rate of 200,000 gallons per day. The mineral content of the water consists of calcium (15ppm), chloride (145ppm), fluoride (11ppm), lithium (1.3ppm), magnesium (3.2ppm), potassium (24ppm), sodium (435ppm), sulfate (145ppm). Trace minerals include arsenic, iron, manganese and zinc.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Active Colorado Municipalities". State of Colorado, Department of Local Affairs. Archived from the original on December 12, 2009. Retrieved September 1, 2007.
  2. ^ a b "Colorado Municipal Incorporations". State of Colorado, Department of Personnel & Administration, Colorado State Archives. December 1, 2004. Retrieved September 2, 2007.
  3. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 1, 2020.
  4. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Hot Sulphur Springs, Colorado
  5. ^ a b United States Census Bureau. "Hot Sulphur Springs town; Colorado". Retrieved April 23, 2023.
  6. ^ "ZIP Code Lookup". United States Postal Service. Archived from the original (JavaScript/HTML) on November 4, 2010. Retrieved October 6, 2007.
  7. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  8. ^ Deborah Frazier George, Colorado's Hot Springs, 2nd edition, 2000, pp. 18-19.
  9. ^ "Colorado Ski History Timeline".
  10. ^ "Hot Sulphur Springs SWA - Byers Canyon Rifle Range". Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Retrieved November 2, 2023.
  11. ^ "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Hot Sulphur Springs town, Colorado". American Factfinder. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved November 18, 2016.[dead link]
  12. ^ Climate Summary for Hot Sulpher Springs, Colorado
  13. ^ "Weatherbase.com". Weatherbase. 2013. Retrieved on October 3, 2013.
  14. ^ a b Lund, John W. (September 2006). "Hot Sulphur Springs, Colorado" (PDF). GHC Bulletin, Oregon Tech: 13–14. Retrieved July 7, 2022.

External links[edit]