Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Steamboat and Strawberry Hot Springs

The third part of our loop took us from O.C. Mugrage Campground to Steamboat, Colorado. After the rain and light snow at the beginning of our trip, the weather had turned perfect.

The drive was only about two hours. We arrived at Steamboat in the late morning and decided to have breakfast at our favorite local restaurant, Freshies.

Freshies has gluten free pancakes with blueberries! We actually went to Freshies twice on this trip. We went the second time after leaving from our two nights at Strawberry Park Hot Springs. At the first meal Greg ordered eggs, hash browns and four pancakes. The cost of Greg's meal came out to 20 bucks!!!!  Karen ordered off a special weekday deal menu and her's cost $7. Greg got smart the second meal and ordered off the $7 menu and then added a side of two gluten free pancakes, much cheaper and it was still plenty of food. The pancakes are HUGE, HUGE and AMAZING, as Trump would say!!!! "You will love them - I promise! Believe me! Believe me!"

Strawberry Park has only one vehicle camping spot. You can get a tall van sized vehicle in there. I don't think you could get anything larger than a van in. I don't think they would allow anything bigger. (The website says NO RVs.) Certainly not a travel trailer or a C class. (You can always call them and check.) There is not much room to turn around. It is a very tight road up there. It takes a bit of doing to get the van in correctly.

We arrived at our check-in time of 3pm. The road up was extremely ruff. It's a potholed dirt road with some really steep and scary sections. In winter, you are required to have four wheel drive. (There is a 4x4 shuttle that will take you up from town for a fee.)

We had a great time soaking often during our two night stay. It is fantastic to see the sparkling clear night sky from the warmth of the pools.

You can hike to the hot springs from a hiker's parking lot near town. It's about a two and a half mile hike in. Greg took the hike down and back to get some exercise. It's a nice hike with a good bit of elevation gain.

If you want to go to Strawberry Park, there are some things you must know. They do not take credit cards!!!!!  Let me repeat: N O   C R E D I T    C A R D S.

We always have cash on hand ready to go when we arrive here. Don't bring alcohol, glass or pets. If you come for the day, you MUST leave by 10 pm, when an employee announces that day-use folks must head for their cars. The county requires Strawberry Park to have an empty parking lot after 10pm. The pools area is clothing optional (and no kids) after dark. You can't see a thing so it doesn't really matter what you wear. If you rent a spot overnight, you can soak until 12 pm. It's nice when the typically noisy day people are all gone!

Some folks refer to the Strawberry Park attendants as the "Spa Nazis." If you remember the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld, you will recall that you must follow the proper procedure to get your delicious soup.

It's like that here at Strawberry Park. If you pay correctly with cash and acknowledge (and follow) all the rules you will have a deliciously spectacular hot springs experience.

If you don't go with the program, you are likely to hear, "No Spa For You."  Not a few people have been brusquely expelled for ignoring the rules or for being difficult. The staff here do not suffer fools lightly.

We have never had an problems with the staff and have found them to be helpful. We read the rules ahead of time and are prepared. We ask few questions. We have always enjoyed our stays.

My theory on why the customer service at Strawberry Park is considered, by some, to be lacking is that they are trying to maintain a rustic springs atmosphere and not a resort atmosphere. They want to take your money and let you have a great experience without a lot of hand holding and interference. They have to deal with a lot of pain-in-the-ass people who don't come prepared, who think it's some sort of resort where they will be pampered. It's not.

Over time, I believe the staff has developed a bit of a thick skin and aren't willing to put up with stuff that other places might be more equipped to handle. There are very few staff at Strawberry and so prices are kept very reasonable ($15 for adults).

I like the attitude. I would hate to see it become a foofy type place like Ojo Caliente has become, in New Mexico. Ojo caters to people with a large staff and foofy facilities and so prices have gone sky high.

Read the rules before you go: Strawberry Park Hot Springs Website.

If you go, check out the bathrooms. They are incredible. They are made with different types of wood, stone, glass and metal.

The glass windows in the lower bathroom.

Amazing crystal rock work in the lower bathroom.
The outside of the lower bathroom. The guy that owns this place is really into rock work big time.
Strawberry Park Hot Springs. A heavenly spot.

You can also rent a couple cabins or these gypsy trailers to stay overnight. There are also a few walk-in  tent camping spots.

The table at our vehicle camping spot.

The view from our table.

The vehicle camping spot is on a big slope. It's kinda of a weird spot, but we enjoyed it. Technically, this is called a tent camping site where you can sleep in your vehicle. The website says: NO RVs.

Gluten Free Blueberry Pancakes at Freshies. This is what they serve in Heaven.

1 comment:

  1. Wow you two do get around. Looks like you've been having fun. Sorry we weren't able to get together this summer. :(


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