Yampah Hot Springs Vapor Caves and Spa

Useful Information

Location: Glenwood Springs. Interstate 70, exit Glenwood Springs.
Open: All year daily 9-21.
Fee: Adults USD 12.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: T=53 °C, Y=23,000 l/min, A=1,898 m asl.
Guided tours:
Bibliography: (1993): Yampah Spa: Centuries of Cleansing Vapors, Yampah Hot Springs, Inc., 1993
Address: Yampah Spa & Salon, The Hot Springs Vapor Caves, 709 E. Sixth St., Glenwood Springs, CO 81601, Tel: +1-970-945-0667.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1887 original Ute cave sealed over by the railroad.
1990 extensive renovation.


The Yampah Spa Vapor Caves are natural underground steam baths. Only a few meters downstream lies Glenwood Springs Hot Pool. The water was analyzed and 33 different minerals were found. The most important are barium (0.4 mg/l), sodium (6,600 mg/l), and chloride (9,000 mg/l), sulfate (1,800 mg/l), and zinc (0.044 mg/l). Originally there were about 50 hot springs on both sides of the river with a total yield of some 23,000 l/min and a temperature around 53 °C.

This place was called Yampah (Big Medicine) by the indigenous Ute Indians. The natives discovered the healing properties of the hot steam inside the cave long ago. Many battles were fought over the springs by the Utes, Arapahoes and Cheyennes. Whenever a big chief of one of the tribes fell ill, his tribe attempted to drive off the tribe occupying the site at the moment, so he could make use of the mineral water.

The native Americans taught early pioneers how to use the cave, which was located on the other side of the Colorado river, called Grand river at this time. The patients were lowered into the cave on a stretcher, then the opening was shut. This way the cave became a natural sauna. The Defiance Town and Land Company purchased the Glenwood townsite and built a second cave. It was accessible through a short tunnel, which was so low, the bathers had to crawl on their hands and knees to enter the cave. Inside it was large enough to stand. On two sides hot water was running down from which steam emerged. At this time genders were separated, men visited the cave in the morning, women in the afternoon. There was no light, every visitor took a candle with him.

The cave which is used today is the third cave, also built by the Defiance Town and Land Company in the 1880s. It had three different chambers and a stairway leading down 20 steps into the cave. It also had an enclosed entrance, electric lights and marble benches. Today it is surrounded by a modern spa and offers all kinds of treatment, like Spa packages, Vapor Cave packages, massage packages, facials, spa treatments and much more.