When outlaw Butch Cassidy robbed a bank in Telluride, he fled to the little mining town of Dunton Hot Springs to hide from the Law. Perfectly restored and furnished with historic detailing true to the era, this little ghost town high in the Rockies allows visitors to travel back in time. Each authentic log cabin is different from the others, but all promise a cozy retreat complete with historic furnishings. Perfect for fans of history, those looking to get away from it all, or couples wanting a wedding that is truly out of the ordinary.
Accommodation type: 5-star
No. of Rooms & Suites: the 13 log cabins can house up to 44 people
Pricing: starts at $655 to $2,000 depending on the season and the log cabin chosen
High season: May to October
Nearest airport: Telluride Regional Airpot (TEX)
Suitable for: couples, honeymooners, families, pet owners
- Conde Nast Traveler Gold List, 2014 and 2016
- Bon Appétit Magazine’s Best Hotel for Food Lovers in America, 2015
- Gayot’s Top 10 Remote Hotels, 2015
The springs sit in a historic mining town built on the banks of the Dolores River in 1885. Many of the cabins are from the original town, though some buildings were brought in from nearby locations and refurbished. The Well House Cabin has a king-sized bed, its own private hot spring and a wood stove. The town’s original store has been renovated with movie memorabilia and even has its own private outdoor hot spring for guests to lounge in. A replica Plains Indian teepee is right next door. Larger cabins, such as the Potter House, can sleep up to 10 people and have full kitchens.
Clothing designer Ralph Lauren has a ranch in the area, and many famous people have enjoyed the hospitality and charm of Dunton’s unique ghost town hotel.
- Saloon and Dance Hall – With original fixtures, including a bar that bears the carved names of historic outlaws Butch Cassidy and Sundance, the saloon serves up locally sourced cuisine. That includes lamb, Colorado wines, and mountain berries. Meals are often served buffet style, and dining is communal at one large table.
- Open-Air Chapel – With an impressive 40-foot waterfall for a backdrop, this post and beam chapel is open to the sky and the beautiful 360-degree views of the mountains. Surrounded by pine trees and a meadow, it’s the perfect place for a wedding or renewing vows.
- Bathhouse – An enormous rectangular stone enclosure surrounds the largest hot spring in the town. Soak in the warm mineral waters, and enjoy the mountain scenery through the large windows.
- Library – With a crackling fire and walls filled with books, the charm of the old library lures visitors in to read about the local area or just lose themselves in a good book.
The cost of a night’s stay includes all meals at the Saloon. You can use the facilities, including several hot springs both indoors and out, the library and other public buildings. Colorado is a perfect place for summer activities, but the Dunton Hot Springs makes it a peaceful and unique experience.
Meanwhile, in winter, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and ice skating without a guide are all complimentary.
SUV or van transfers handled by Dunton Hot Springs are available for those landing at Telluride Regional Airport, the main airport in the area. However, the same goes for other city airports in Durango, Cortez or Montrose. For those landing at Denver International Airport, a private charter flight can be arranged through Dunton.
Those driving by car from Denver should take I-70 West to Grand Junction, turning South on US-550, arriving in Dunton Hot Springs in around eight hours.
Main Attractions Around Dunton Hot Springs
Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde National Park represents one of the best preserved ancient Anasazi Indian sites in the Southwest. This fascinating remnant of a city built high on a cliff is a stunning testament to their architectural prowess. Built of neatly placed bricks, the square towers and round ceremonial pits, called kivas, are all that remain of these people. The Chapin Mesa Archaeological Museum, also in the park, offers insight into the daily lives of the area’s historic inhabitants. While many of the outdoor exhibits close during the winter months, primary sites stay open year-round.
A perfectly preserved Gold Rush-era Western town complete with saloons and quaint eateries that preserve the historic look. Known for its fantastic scenery and excellent skiing, visitors will find things to do throughout the year. That includes bluegrass and wine festivals in the summer and the full complement of winter activities. Wander down West Colorado Avenue and explore the little shops selling everything from ski gear to Southwestern art. Afterward, stop by one of the little hole-in-the-wall restaurants for a meal. In wintertime, the ski resort is the star attraction, although other fun activities like dog sledding are available.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument
It combines beautiful scenery and small rock formations with the remains of several ancient Anasazi pueblos or towns. This park offers another look at the original inhabitants of Colorado. The excellent Anasazi Heritage Center contains a wealth of artifacts and information not only about the Anasazi but also about the various plants, animals, and birds living in the area. Visitors can hike along trails to see the sites, although two pueblos, Escalante and Dominguez, are located conveniently close to the museum itself. There’s a picnic area for enjoying a packed lunch.
A visit to Dunton Hot Springs is like no other vacation destination. The summer months are perfect for fly fishing, hiking, mountain climbing, and biking. In the winter, snowmobiling, skiing, snowshoeing and sledding make the most of the deep snow. There’s a warm camaraderie that develops not only between resort staff and guests but among the guests themselves. In addition, the communal dinners and mountain isolation help to forge new friendships. Come celebrate a special event or simply to get back to the music of nature and the beauty of a starlit sky. Have you ever visited this unique little town? Let us know about the time you spent there in the comments below.