Date: 05/13/2015 – 05/15/2015
Who: Michelle and myself
Weather: about 60 degrees, mostly cloudy
Michelle and I relaxed for three days at the Ojo Caliente spa in New Mexico. Colorado has its hot springs too, but we enjoy this spa for several reasons: It is quiet. They ask visitors to keep voices down, and cell phones are not allowed in the pool area. They have a nice variety of pools and waters. The waters have no sulphur odor. The restaurant serves good food. The drive from Colorado Springs is about 4 hours.
I spent two mornings riding my mountain bike and hiking on the nearby trails, using the Ojo spa trail map as a guide. The highlight was a combination bike/hike to the top of nearby Cerro Colorado. It is about 3 miles and 1,600′ elevation gain from the spa to the summit. There is no hiking trail from the road to the summit. I found my own route using general orienteering skills, and paying close attention to landmarks for the return trip. Abundant cacti of various sizes were the main concern while hiking. The small “toe and ankle biters” were the most annoying.
I had no real problems on the hike. But, on the return bike ride I unfortunately mis-read the map for the “orange” trail and ended up decending the wrong arroyo, further north than intended. I was late for my appointed time to meet Michelle for lunch. I had to cross Rio Ojo Caliente by foot. Then, got caught in a rainstorm with a bit of hail. The incorrect route I took (not recommended) is marked on the map in black.
Some tips for a stay at Ojo Caliente: It’s ok use the pools before and after checkout from lodging. Bring a combination lock if you want one for the lockers. Oil-free suntan lotion is required; the gift shop sells some for a reasonable price. When the sun goes down, they sometimes build a campfire in the front courtyard; it’s nice to sit by the fire. Just outside the Artesian Restaurant is the Wine Bar. The Wine Bar serves the same menu as the restaurant, and the decor is a little more updated than the restaurant.
On the way home on 5/15, we stopped for dinner at Oscar’s in Alamosa–recommended!
The BLUE line was mountain biking. The RED line was hiking. The BLACK line was the WRONG route (NOT recommended):
View Colorado Chris Hikes in a larger map