Orvis Hot Springs Banner
Home Rates Soaking Lodging Camping Massage Policies Maps Links FAQ
Visit our Hot Pools!

Where Does the Hot Water Come From?
And what minerals are in it?


There are several sources of water here at Orvis Hot Springs. Each has a different mineral content, which is why the water can look and feel different from the last time you were here. You'll be happy to know the pond is one of our hot water sources. The water naturally flows through underwater veins and into the pond. While walking in the pond, try digging your toes into the pebble bottom. You will find several "hot spots." This is hot water naturally filling the pond.

There is a rock bench under the water, next to the Plunge (cool in summer, hot in winter). Under the bench is a cave. The cave is the biggest outlet from the underground vein, giving the pond the most volume of water. Rising water tables will increase the flow of this water, which will maintain a hotter pond temperature.

You may notice the wooden pipe, known as the Flume, shooting water into the pond. The Flume does not give a sufficient amount of water to keep the pond full. Instead, its purpose is to manipulate the pond temperature, and give a great back massage. Water from the flume can come from any of our sources, depending on the weather and time of year.

Most people want the pond to be 103-104 degrees. A combination of hot and cold water coming out of the flume is our only way to work with Mother Nature in an attempt to provide that ideal temperature. Natural occurrences such as rain, snow, wind, sunlight, high water tables and more affect the temperature greatly. We do what we can, but we are not as powerful as nature, so…the temperatures here will vary. We hope you will enjoy nature as much as we do!


This water comes out of the ground at about 127 degrees. It is much too hot to soak in, but that doesn't mean it is useless. Quite the contrary, we use the crater water to heat the entire Orvis building, pre-heat the showers, and add heat to the pond during the very cold months. The Crater source is located on the highest point of the property (across the county road, near the chimneys), making it easy to gravity feed anything we have. Future plans for the Crater water include heated walkways to soaking areas, more soaking areas, heated tent pads and hot waterfalls!


We have tapped into the vein, located near the blue and white camper in the campground, which feeds the pond. The tap is called the well pit. With a pump, we pipe some of the water from the well pit and run it through valves to desired areas. Different valve positioning fills the indoor pool, the private tubs, and the "lobster pot" at various temperatures. Because these areas have less surface area than the pond and are more sheltered, they will maintain a more consistent temperature.

What's in the Water?
A Mineral Analysis

  The Tabagueche Indians, led by Chief Ouray, soaked in the hot springs of the Uncompaghre river valley for its calming affects as well as medical healing for such ailments as rheumatoid arthritis. Today the soothing waters of Orvis Hot Springs are still sacred to our guests.


From the latin word for lime, "calz". Calcium is needed for bones, cartilage and nerve and muscle functioning. Calcium is the fifth most abundant element in the earth's crust. It is never found free in nature since it forms compounds by reacting with water and oxygen. Calcium is also used to make toothpaste and stomach antacids. 280 - 305 mg/l (milligrams per liter)


From the Latin and French words for flow, fluere. Fluorine is added to many municipal water sources to help prevent tooth decay, but is naturally occurring in the hot springs water at Orvis. 4.20 to 4.44 mg/l


From the Greek work for Stone, lithos. Lithium is probably the most famous element in Orvis's water. Many of Orvis's guests, both past and present believe the small quantities of lithium in the water enhance a mood of tranquility. Lithium carbonate is used as a drug to treat manic depression. Lithium was also used to make the glass for the Mt. Palomar's 200 inch telescope mirror. 1.67 - 1.71 mg/l


For Magnesia a district in the region of Thessaly, Greece. Magnesium is the eighth most abundant element in the universe. Mostly found in sea water (12 billion pounds per cubic mile), it is never found free in nature. Magnesium is needed to utilize carbohydrates properly, to make our own protein from amino acids and to maintain muscles and hormones. It also produces Epson salt and Milk of Magnesia. When bonded with aluminum, it can be used to make airplanes, cameras, horseshoes and snowshoes. 19.4 - 21mg/l


From the Latin word for magnet, magnes. Most important for females during their reproductive years, at which times manganese can be depleted. This element is most often used to increase the strength in steel. It is also responsible for the color of amethyst gemstones. .010 - .147 mg/l


From the English word potash. Potassium can be found in minerals most often associated with ancient lakes and sea beds. Potassium aids with hydration and nerve and internal organ functions. Various forms of the element are used for soaps, salt substitutes and matches. 34.1- 36.3 mg/l


From the Sanskrit word sulvere and the Latin word sulphurium. Sulfur is the 10th most abundant element in the Universe. However, as your nose will tell you, the water at Orvis has a very low sulfur content. Various forms of Sulfur are used mainly in fertilizers and insecticides. Sulfur is essential in ridding poisons from the body, and is important in the health of the fluids in joints and vertebra discs. Even the Greek poet Homer mentioned the "pest averting sulphur" nearly 2800 years ago. 1130 - 1200 mg/l