In The Spotlight
After hiking in the mountains, the chance to soak sore muscles in a warm or hot springs pool beckons us all -- especially as the weather cools.
Outdoors experts count more than 1,500 hot springs across the Western mountains. Here are a few lesser-known ones that SnoCountry found.
Sierra Hot Springs, Calif. North of Truckee about an hour's drive from Squaw Valley, this three-pool setup sits on edge of Tahoe National Forest. Membership and daily fee required, and clothing-optional pools open all night for overnight-ers.
Terwilliger (Cougar) Hot Springs, Oregon. Sitting in the Willamette National Forest with Hoodoo Ski Area nearby, six soaking pools with bedrock and gravel floors are clothing optional. Day use only, but camping nearby.
Kirkham Hot Springs, Idaho. Less than two hours north of Boise or Sun Valley, a set of 10 hot pools sit by the Payette River within view of the Sawtooth Mountains. Family-friendly with large natural and constructed pools, there's no charge and camping nearby.
Saratoga Hot Springs, Utah. Just off I-15 near Provo and Orem, this municipal-run large pool nestles in the wetlands on the shore of Utah Lake. A short paved trail leads to natural springs pool amidst the reeds with minimal amenities. Bird-watching close by, the Wasatch Range fills horizon and Sundance Resort isn't far.
Dunton Hot Springs, Colorado. A small, exclusive resort encompasses the 19th-century town of Dunton, located on a dirt Forest road a bit more than an hour from Telluride. The 14-teeners of the Wilson Range form the backdrop, and Colorado's only geyser is a short hike away.
Manby and Black Rock Hot Springs, New Mexico. Definitely rustic and uninhibited, these set of pools spring up hard along the Rio Grande – a half-hour dirt road drive from Taos, and easy hike down into the gorge. Clothing-optional, these pools sit among the ruins of an old river crossing. To the east are the mighty Sangre de Cristos and Taos Ski Valley.
As autumn arrives, the Northern Hemisphere tilts farther and farther away from the sun – a shortening of the day's light that curbs photosynthesis and produces the brilliant yellows and reds of aspen trees in the Mountain West.
One of the best ways to check out the fall colors is to take a drive up to ski and snowboard resort country that is mostly above 6,500 feet – the lower limit for aspens. The viewing season typically runs mid-September to mid-October, depending upon weather and elevation.
Most resorts in the West have aspen groves in the area, but here are a few resorts SnoCountry.com found where the aspens should be resplendent this fall.
Start out with the obvious: Aspen and surrounding Colorado high country live up to their name. A gondola ride up either Aspen Mountain or Snowmass gets you up in the groves. Or, head up toward Ashcroft and hike up under the Maroon Bells for spectacular colors.
A colorful companion in the autumn are the oaks, which are on full display in southwest Colorado around Durango and Purgatory Resort. Mix in plenty of aspens, and you can soak in a brilliant red-yellow palate while riding the chair or hiking around. Catch the Durango & Silverton tourist train at the right for a vast canvas of color along the Animas River.
Forest managers have set up a network of hiking and biking trails around Idaho's Sun Valley to take advantage of the large aspen forests there. Or, take a drive up toward Galena Pass to see autumn's splendor.
Squaw Valley's gondola gets you into the color country quickly. The Tahoe-area resort's mid-mountain High Camp has trailheads for hiking into through the aspen groves, especially toward Shirley Lake with waterfalls and rock formations along the way.
Another gondola, this one at Jackson Hole, delivers you to the resort's pinnacle for an expansive view of the colors on the skirt of the Grand Tetons. More red, purple and orange aspens here than most places in the West.
Vail Resorts, a ski industry behemoth that has been gobbling up local resorts in recent years, is not interested in Jay Peak. Other companies, however, have visited the Northeast Kingdom resort, a company official told a local town board during a recent meeting.
One of the could-be buyers that have toured Jay Peak is a rival of Vail in the resort consolidation business, Alterra Mountain Company, based in Denver, Colorado, which also owns Tremblant ski resort in Quebec and Stratton in Vermont.
Officials have been tight-lipped about the sale of Jay Peak since it hit the market earlier this year.read the full story at VTDigger.org
Powder chasers, brace yourself. Ski season is nearly a month away.
Arapahoe Basin is already gearing up for an early start of the 2019-20 ski season. The resort announced Thursday, they are breaking out the snow guns for some testing over the next couple of days. With the earliest ever opening date of October 9, ski season at Arapahoe Basin could be rolling in sooner than expected.