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Durango Hot Springs draws record number of visitors in 2021

$10 million remodel paying off for new owners
The newly rebuilt Durango Hot Springs Resort and Spa north of Durango brought in about 168,000 visitors in 2021 after completing a $10 million remodel. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Durango Hot Springs Resort and Spa reported record-breaking visitor numbers in 2021.

Bryan Yearout, Dan Carter and Kurt Carter purchased the Trimble Hot Springs in August 2019 and renamed it Durango Hot Springs. Since then, they invested about $10 million into the resort, creating about 15 mineral pools, updating the massive swimming pool, adding a snack and drink bar, among other amenities. There are about 16½ miles of piping running underground to connect the many pools.

Customers have responded in kind.

Trimble Hot Springs reported 12,000 visitors in 2018, the last reported numbers. By comparison, Durango Hot Springs reported 168,000 visitors in 2021, according to the owners. .

And the owners aren’t done.

People lounge Feb. 26 in one of the about 15 pools at the Durango Hot Springs and Spa north of Durango. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Carter said people reach out on a daily basis asking about lodging.

“As the name suggests, it’s Durango Hot Springs Resort and Spa,” he said. “It’s our intention that we’re going to have a four-star resort here. We do want to have lodging in the future, but we aren’t sure where and what that lodging will be. Glamping to a hotel, and everything in between.”

More than just lodging, Carter said the hot springs hopes to offer things like mountain biking trails and horseback riding to create an all-around resort experience. Hot springs owners have about 65 acres of land in total, with most of the room for expansion to the south and to the west of the hot springs.

Carter said that the hot springs is committed to making sure rezoning and design for whatever lodging is developed is done right.

“So far, we’ve had tremendous support from our neighbors and our community, and we want to keep it that way. So we really want to take the time,” he said. “Everything is a process.”

Yearout said it may be between a year and a year and a half process to get the land-use permits it needs to do more development.

People lounge in the hot springs and play in the recreation pool Feb. 26 at the Durango Hot Springs Resort and Spa north of Durango. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

The owners expect the number of visitors to keep growing. Yearout said the hot springs have been averaging 750 visitors per day this year. He said that’s about the number of visitors the past owners brought in each month.

Yearout said when he and the Carters purchased the hot springs, much of the property was in disrepair.

“When we bought the property all of the hot pools and swimming pools had to be torn out because of the lack of maintenance and lack of investment on upgrades,” he said. “The deferred maintenance on the facility was incredible.”

Of the $10 million spent to modernize the facility, Yearout said about $6 million of that was spent hiring local contractors to develop the hot springs.

“We tried to use as many locals as we could.” he said. “The only contractor that (we) had to pull in from out of state was the swimming pool contractor.”

Colby Geer, left, sits in a 110-degree pool and Cameron Geer sits in the 56-degree pool on Feb. 26 at the Durango Hot Springs Resort and Spa north of Durango. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Before renovations, the owners said the springs were largely used by locals and weren’t a tourism draw, Yearout said.

“Our business model was significantly different from how the facility had been operated in the last many years,” he said. The hot springs was recently added to the Colorado Historic Hot Springs Loop, a 720-mile driving route that showcases some of the state’s premier geothermal destinations.

Since the new owners have taken over, staff has grown from about seven employees to about 50, with an annual payroll of about $1.5 million.

A foot therapy walk is lined with pebbles to stimulate the feet as hot water flows over the feature at the Durango Hot Springs Resort and Spa. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)
The newly rebuilt Durango Hot Springs Resort and Spa has about 15 pools, a large recreation pool and concessions. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Still under development is the Durango Hot Springs Club area that owners say will provide a more private, high-end experience for visitors who choose to pay for it.

Yearout said the club will feature individual Japanese soaking tubs. Towels and robes will be provided at the club.

There will be no membership associated with club access, only an additional fee to use those club facilities. The hot springs hopes to occasionally rent out the club space for private events.

“It’s for our guests that want just a little bit of an elevated experience for the day,” Yearout said. “It will have an on-site concierge-type service where there will be table service and other services.”

Regular pricing for a soak at the hot springs is $39 a person for 2½ hours. A reservation must be made in advance.

njohnson@durangoherald.com

The remodeled lobby of the Durango Hot Springs Resort and Spa. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)


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