Dunton Hot Springs

September 1, 2015
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Tucked deep in the Colorado Rockies is a meticulously restored 19th-century ghost town where you can live out your Butch Cassidy fantasies: drinking in an old-fashioned saloon, saddling rugged horses for high mountain rides, schussing through fresh snow and easing your weary bones in the restoring hot springs. Dunton Hot Springs is the most wildly luxurious Wild West experience out there. We’re talking glamping amid crystal chandeliers, buttery leather armchairs and a globetrotting collection of antiques.

Scattered across the valley are 13 guest quarters; some were originally on the site of the 1890s gold rush and mining town, while others were hauled in from nearby towns and carefully reassembled. The exteriors of the tin-roofed, hand-hewn log cabins may seem rustic, but if you venture inside you’ll find heated slate floors, sumptuous baths, smoked-glass showers and iPod docking stations. Each cabin is unique and decorated with carefully chosen antiques, including Chinese chairs, Turkish kilims, Moroccan rugs and African masks.

While some of the cabins have their own private hot springs, the heart of the town is a bathhouse that shelters one of the many mineral hot springs. Dining takes place at a communal fireside table or at the open-kitchen bar inside an inviting saloon, where you can watch the chef prepare the day’s meal. After exploring the area on foot, horse or bike, guests can indulge in yoga classes inside the converted pony express or spa treatments at the bathhouse. And there’s always the option of a glass of vino in the lavish library, a onetime barn from Durango that’s outfitted with cracked-leather armchairs, a bearskin rug and a crackling fireplace. Butch and Sundance never had it this good.

Set in a remote valley in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains, Dunton Hot Springs caters to active travelers, organizing outings with expert guides. In the winter, you can schuss down a total of 14,000 feet of snowy Aspen terrain on a heli-ski excursion, or venture on a quiet snowshoe tour through the San Jan Mountain range, right outside your cabin’s door. In the spring and summer, horseback ride through Anasazi ruins in the painted sand canyons, then take a tour and lunch at Sutcliffe Vineyards. Or fly-fish on nine miles of private water on the West Fork of the Dolores River. Dunton also offers photography and fine art classes.

 

What to know

  • Popular with couples and families
  • Cross-country ski in Dunton from late December to late March, hike from late May to early October
  • No cell phone coverage, but free WiFi and land-line calls (local and long distance)
  • Five hot springs that range in temperature from 85°F to 106°F
  • The entire town can be rented for a special occasion
  • Locally produced organic food paired with world-class wines

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