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Dunton Hot Springs, Dunton, CO

Louise Speaks:  Since we are still trying to complete Patricia’s book “1000 Place To See Before You Die”, one last thing in to see in Colorado is the Dunton Hot Springs.  Just across the mountain from Telluride, the Dunton Hot Springs Resort is a romantic ghost town, set in an extraordinary alpine valley.  The resort offers a variety of day and overnight packages, and the entire town or ranch can be rented exclusively for corporate retreats, family reunions and weddings.   However, the cost is out of this world.  Let me add though, that this resort is inclusive including alcoholic beverages.


Before I tell you the cost, let me tell you about the resort.  Dunton Hot Springs is a small and exclusive resort nestled deep in the San Juan Mountains of the Colorado Rockies.  This perfectly restored ghost town thrives on contradictions; hand- hewn log cabins exquisitely furnished, a life-worn saloon serving food of startling quality, lung torturing trails followed by pampering massages, sensuous hot springs beneath shimmering snow banks.  Free of cell phones, this romantic old mining town still provides high speed wireless internet access in every cabin and video conferencing in the dance hall to the comforting sound of a tumbling waterfall.

All meals , the hot springs, screening room, etc. are included.  Transportation to this magical place as well as the local airports can be arranged.  Dunton’s chef serves local organic foods like lamb , tree-ripe fruit and plump vegetables from their own farm and vineyard.  They serve wines to match every meal.  Dunton Hot Springs is open all year.  The entire town can be reserved for private use for up to 44 people…wait till you hear what that costs.


The resort has a cabin that has been converted into a library.  Described as a sanctuary, a haven, or just a place to lose yourself, the Library is both a work of art in itself and a repository of lovely books.  This really is quite the place to relax, and the books were not the norm.



Dining is done family style in the old saloon.  Guest all eat at a long, antique table in the center of the Saloon.  This is a tradition from the big cattle outlaws that they choose to maintain.  If guests prefer however, they do have the option  to dine separately.  The open kitchen is the heart of the old Saloon for everyone to see and enjoy.  People love to watch and even help the Chef, as he makes the days meal.  You have the opportunity to ask the chef to prepare something special, just say the word.

Besides the tranquility of the resort, the most famous activity is the hot springs.  Now, if you read our other posts you will see that while touring the state of Colorado, we have visited many hot springs.  This resort has several options to enjoying the springs.  The original spring is still visible at the highest point in town.  To make more use of the water the miners dynamited the springs and directed its flow towards the bathhouse.  Once in the bathhouse, although beautiful, the water appeared very brown in color.  The reason we were told is because the springs are of the calcium bicarbonate type with a strong concentration of dissolved iron and manganese and a little dash of lithium.  Supposedly, springs with high mineral content are recommended for various therapeutic uses.  In addition to the value of the trace minerals found in most hot springs, and the stimulating benefits of highly mineralized waters, bathing in bicarbonate water assists opening peripheral blood vessels and helps to improve circulation to the body’s extremities and magnesium converts blood sugar to energy and promotes healthy skin.  This could be a reason the cost is so high.  There are six different hot springs on site, including a private hot spring in one of the cabins.  Temperatures range from 85 to 106 degrees Fahrenheit.

There are many activities on site such as private spa treatments, fly fishing, yoga and Pilates, a indoor gym and many other activities based on the season of the year.  We are here the end of October.  There is no snow yet, and we have just missed the turning of the leaves, but I can imagine what this place looked like a week ago.  However, in snow or sunshine, or fall color galore, I just can’t justify the cost to stay here.

Like I mentioned earlier, one cabin has it’s own private hot spring in the room.   The Well House Cabin is Dunton’s only cabin built around a small, on demand hot spring, along with beautiful views of the mountains and a fire place to boot!  The cabin includes a King size bed, the private hot spring and a cold plunge, a wood burning stove and a bathroom with shower.  During the summer season which is May 26 to October 31, the NIGHTLY rate for two people is $2,100…plus tax and service charge.  No I did not make a typo.  And they have a minimum night stay.

There is also a cabin that is actually a tent with canvas roof and walls.  It is actually pretty cool, but the cost not so much. Christy’s Tent is Dunton’s newest addition, and the only all-season tent is constructed of cotton canvas and reclaimed materials from the 1830’s.  The tent boasts a spacious floor plan with gas stove, and luxurious ammentities; while the over-sized, en-suite bath features a generous shower with striking views of the Wilson Mountain Range.  The shower really is a site to see.  The NIGHTLY rate during the summer for this tent is a bargain at $1,680 for two.

Now you want to have a family reunion?  A small wedding?  This is the spot.  You can rent the entire resort, or the town as they call it, for your event.  The resort can accommodate up to 44 people and remember it does include all meals and beverages.  Should you decide to do this during the summer you may for the NIGHTLY rate of $29,000.00 a night, with a two night minimum.

As strange as these rates may be, while we were on our tour, the end of October, the resort only had a few cabins available, which means people actually stay here and pay these rates.  Hard to believe, but I saw it with my own eyes.  They didn’t offer to comp us a room even though we told them we were bloggers and would be blogging about their resort.  They did offer us free beverages.

This was a wonderful resort.  Seems very peaceful and the staff was remarkable.  The grounds were beautiful, the scenery was post card perfect, and it was definitely in the middle of nowhere.  However, I don’t feel the rates match the amenities.  I’ll give the resort a B rating for where it is, and the beauty it provides, it’s up to you if you want to stay here.

On a side note, while leaving the resort and driving to the main highway, we spotted the most unusual site.  From the resort you are on a dirt road for a good 10 miles before reaching pavement.  Then probably another 5 miles before you reach the highway.  While on the dirt road, and like I said in the middle of nowhere, we spot this.  Not sure if it was functional as we had no change, but it was still a site to see and is now going into our Quirky Sites to see.

AM…Page 707



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Dinosaur National Monument, Dinosaur, CO

Louise Speaks:  While trying to complete the state of Colorado, we discovered that we missed going to the Dinosaur National Monument.  The area actually crosses state lines and is also in Utah.  We are seeing them both but I’ll blog about the Utah part separately.  I love coming this way in October because both Colorado and Utah have incredible fall colors at this time of the year.  October is a great time to as the weather is at its best.

Driving to the National Monument on the Colorado side, you literally have to go back and forth between Colorado and Utah at least 3 times, so we kept crossing the state line every couple of hours.  The drive however was just beautiful.  By the time we got to the Monument I was a bit disappointed.  There was nothing there.  The visitor center had been closed for the winter but we did find a map for the dinosaur loop.  We took the map and back in the car we went.  However, after 10 miles and three pull out points we looked at each other and said…”what are we looking at?”  This by far is and was a waste of time.  I would not recommend this destination to anyone.  However, as we left the monument and went thru the town of Dinosaur,CO there are many metal dinosaurs throughout town.  If we had kids with us, these could have been fun stops, but for us it was just a photo op.  The National Monument in Colorado gets a D rating.  Even if the Visitor Center would have been open, this would not be worth a stop.

We were told the Dinosaur National Monument on the Utah side is much more detailed and more worthy of visiting.  So off we went as that was our next stop.

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The Drive From Hell, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Colorado

Louise Speaks:  Day 41:  Well if you read yesterdays blog it should give you an idea of the driving we have done.  Visiting the tri states we didn’t know if we were in Nebraska, Wyoming or Colorado.  Each farm-house we visited was in a different state.  When we were at the Bison Ranch, she said our mailing address is Colorado but our horses live in Wyoming…how weird is that.  Anyway after not seeing the Tri-State marker it was off to get gas and find a place to spend the night.

Our original plan was to stay in Wyoming.  However, we are finally getting tired, and Thelma has to be to work in less than 72 hours.  So we have decided to re route our trip and skip Wyoming and most of Utah, cut through Colorado and head home.  We should have no stops in Colorado since we did the entire state last summer. 

Once we got gas we were in Wyoming and were planning on getting a hotel.  Well just so  happens the Cheyenne Frontier Days opens tonight…yep you guessed it, not a hotel room to be found.  So we thought, well we’ll go a bit out-of-town, we should be able to get one there.  100 miles later and still not chance of a hotel.

By now we are in Colorado, driving south.  We stop at every major city.  Fort Collins, Longmont, and even Denver, and still not a room.  We had even stopped looking at rates, by this time any room would have done.  Now it’s after midnight, and we have no place to sleep.

We keep driving.  Silverhorn, Georgetown, Vale NO ROOMS.  It’s now about 2:00 a.m.  I’m ready to say find a Wal-Mart and lets sleep in the car.  We pull into Avon and called for a room.  Yep once again they said no room, BUT he said, I know someone who does.  So we call.  It was a time share, a bit more expensive but hey it’s 2:30 in the morning so we take it.

We get there and what a mess.  Nothing like the time shares we have seen or stayed in.  Even though we checked in at 2:30 a.m. we were told we had to check out by 11:00 a.m. and there was no breakfast.  So at least we found a room, at least we had a bed, and it even had air conditioning, although we had to use a fan. 

Today was a long day.  In total we drove 641 miles….that makes for a very LONG day.  Today has got to be better…hell it’s already today, and we were just getting to bed.

Thelma Speaks: