Swimming is such a fantastic way to exercise, and soaking a great way to relax and unwind. The water temperature in the soaking pool averages 97-100 degrees, while the water temperature in the lap pool averages 84-86 degrees. We offer exercise classes, including Aquacize, Arthritis Therapy, and Cardio Splash. There is lap swimming almost every day of the week. Please check here for days and times of classes and lap swimming. We offer swim lessons for all abilities and ages, plus stroke clinics for those wanting to perfect their strokes.
Salida Recreation is a small department consisting of the Recreation Supervisor and the Event Coordinator. We have big dreams to expand our recreational opportunities, providing more classes and events, and improving our existing programs and facilities. We are making strides with some of our most popular programs including Pickleball, Friday Enrichment programming and swim lessons. Our summer programs include ropes course and ziplining field trips, rock climbing field trips, river safety clinics, volleyball and basketball camps and preschool programming during the weekly farmer’s market.
Some of the biggest events we coordinate and run are the land races during the annual FIBArk festival and Salida BikeFest! We are always looking for volunteers for these big events. If interested please contact our Event Coordinator.
We want to hear from you about whatever may be on your mind regarding our programs and operations. We have tried to make thoughtful changes and upgrades to the Aquatic Center and the Recreation Department. If you have a comment or question, we invite you call Theresa or Lanette at 539-6738 or use the contact form.
There is also a comment box in the lobby of the Aquatic Center. Comments will be reviewed, and someone will get back to you if requested.
Over the years, the Salida Recreation Department has developed many valued community partners including Go-To Guide, Heart of the Rockies Radio, High Country Bank, Guidestone Colorado, Articipate, Greater Arkansas River Nature Association, The Maverick Potter, The Mountain Mail, Boys and Girls Club of Chaffee County, Chaffee County Family and Youth Initiatives, Salida Regional Library, Salida Mountain Trails, Salida Parks, Trails, and Open Space (SPOT), Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area, Wilderness Expeditions, Monarch Ski Area and others. We could not provide many popular programs without these exceptional partners. We thank them for their years of assistance and participation.
We continue to look for further partnerships, as well as seek additional funding from grants and donations to help bolster our programming and keep participation costs low.
Salida Hot Springs Aquatic Center Facility
The Salida Hot Springs Pool public facilities consist of a large 25 meter, 6 lane pool, and a smaller, hotter soaking and play pool. The large pool dominates a large portion of the building, and at approximately 84° – 86°, this pool is delightful for swimming, diving and recreational play. Two lap lanes are usually available, with mornings set aside for several lanes of lap swimming in addition to fitness classes.
The smaller pool has a zero-depth entry as well as a stair-entry, making it easily accessible. The depth gradually increases to four feet, and the temperature ranges from approximately 97° – 100°. These qualities makes this pool ideal for aqua-therapy, soaking, and young children.
Additionally, there is an ADA compliant lift that allows for easy access into either pool. Each pool features a stepped entry with handrails to further ease entry.
About the Salida Hot Springs Public Pools
We get a lot of questions from adults and kids alike about the pool – “Is it really a hot spring?”, “Why do the temperatures fluctuate?”, “How many gallons of water are in the pools?”, and many others. This is a quick two-minute history and science lesson to answer some of those questions and to hopefully give you some additional information to astound your friends and family.
The Salida Hot Springs Aquatic Center was built in 1937 as a Work Projects Administration (WPA) project. This project consisted of the original collection system, pipeline and the original facility in Salida. Since then the building, warm pool, and pipeline have gone through some facelifts, however a good portion of the facility is still the same as it was in 1937. Even though the Salida Hot Springs Aquatic Center has used this sparkling clear, odorless, hot spring water for the past 80 years it was used long before by the Ute Indians who first inhabited the area. Another fun fact of the Aquatic Center is that it is the largest indoor hot springs facility in the country.
The Salida Hot Springs Aquatic Center receives its natural hot spring water from a site owned by the City of Salida located in Poncha Springs. The site is 185 acres and is on the east side of US Highway 285. All of the springs together are flowing around 145 gallons of sparkling clear odorless water per minute. That means in one hour the springs are flowing 8,700 gallons, and in one day the springs produce 208,800 gallons – that is a lot of water. These numbers might be a little hard to imagine, but to put it into perspective all of that water would fill the leisure pool (about 37,000 gallons) AND the lap pool (about 181,000 gallons) in a little over 24 hours. The natural hot springs rise in two groups, called the north and south springs, at an elevation of 7,900 to 8,000 feet. Once the water leaves the ground, hovering around 145 degrees, it flows into a collection system that funnels into one pipe and is delivered to the Aquatic Center in Centennial Park six miles away by gravity alone.
After the long journey the water finally enters the Aquatic Center building falling into two holding pits. These two pits hold around 500 gallons of water and range from 110-120 degrees, depending on the time of year. Both of the pits operate the same way; however, they constantly feed water to only one pool each. In the bottom of each pit there is a pipe that is sucking water from the pool and mixing in fresh hot spring water from the pit. All adjustments that control temperatures in the pools are performed manually in the pit by a Certified Pool Operator. The adjustments are made possible using an open-ended ball valve that is connected to the return line from the pool. This valve restricts flows allowing adjustments for the desired temperature in the pool. For example, if the desired temperature needs to be warmer the valve would need to be opened more allowing for more fresh water to enter. If the temperature needs to be colder the valve will need to be closed allowing less fresh water to enter. These adjustments are very small, however they create big changes in the pools.
“Why is the lap pool so cold?” Believe it or not, the Aquatic Center has an estimated 46 different user groups. We have people that come to the pool to play, some to take advantage of the warm waters for soaking and others that come to swim miles at a time. With the desired temperature of each group being so different we have to make a compromise with the idea of safety in mind for all user groups. If the lap pool was at a temperature of 90 degrees the lap swimmers would have safety concerns such as overheating. If the lap pool was at 80 degrees (ideal for competitive swimming) many other user groups might stop coming for comfort reasons. Therefore, we compromise and hold the temperature at 84.5 degrees plus or minus one degree. “Could the leisure pool be warmer?” Yes, however, as with the lap pool, there are different needs for different user groups. We compromise and hold the temperature of the leisure pool at 98.5 degrees plus or minus one degree. Any warmer than that it would be dangerous for infants, pregnant women, and exercise classes.
We are so lucky to have such an amazing hot spring source in our community that is open to all users. If you come to swim laps, use the leisure pool for therapeutic reasons, take swimming lessons, use the private soaking pools, or have diving competitions with your friends, please respect and enjoy the water, the process, the facility and the pleasure it brings you.
What Our Customers Are Saying About Us
“I love the water classes with great instructors and an awesome workout or relaxation.” -Bonnie K.
“Nothing better that going for a lap swim.”
“Great place to come every time for a relaxing soak in healing waters.” – Kurt K.
“I want to express my sincere gratitude for lifeguard, Pam. She encouraged my daughter and with positive reinforcement she passed the swim test and earned her green band.”
“As an old high school and college swim team member and lifelong (have averaged 3-4 times a week as a lap swimmer for much of 45+ years), as well as an above average world traveler, I have been to more pools in my life than the average person would ever see so I have a fairly good basis from which to evaluate a public swimming pool.
While hot springs fed pools are not normal for most pools, I have been to many of those too and I must say I have never been to one as beautifully designed and as nice as this.
To have and be able to maintain a facility of this type in a town with such a small population size is remarkable.” -Jeff Myers
“I really enjoyed all of the levels of water fun for all ages!” -Dorothy Costello