BUTCH CASSIDY DRANK HERE

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Sep 17, 2013 | By Fredric Hamber

Butch Cassidy carved his name into the bar, but that's not the only reason you might be interested in Dunton, Colorado. 

Because there’s also the thirteen restored cabins, local beer, organic foods, and man cave library complete with bearskin rug. And we're just getting started...

South of Telluride and ten miles up an unpaved road is an historic mirage. Dunton Hot Springs is what remains of a once thriving mining town, now turned into a secluded and private guest resort.

In its 1890s heyday there were two hotels, a dance hall and nine saloons to service the miners working the five silver and gold mines in the area. According to a history published in the Cortez Journal in 1957, the town, founded in 1879, was named after prospector Horatio Dunton.

Although much of the town was destroyed by fire in 1906, a collection of the original 19th Century miners' cabins remain. And, they’ve been painstakingly restored to now accommodate guests for luxury use.

The Hot Springs also includes cabins collected by owners Christoph and Katrin Henkel on a multi-year quest throughout the West. They hired log specialists (best job ever?) to deconstruct and number the logs, then transported them to the Dunton property, and carefully reassembled the cabins.

The original saloon and a dance hall still stand, and two buildings have been joined together to serve as a gathering spot for guests. Local-inspired, organic meals are created by chef Carrie Eagle (rabbit ragout with paparadelle; Idaho ruby trout with cous cous and grapefruit tarragon beurre blanc), and eaten communally around a long wood table.

If fly-fishing's your thing, you can reserve one of the eight fully furnished tents (below) at Dunton's Cresto Ranch situated on prime riverfront acreage—each tent is named after a species of local trout, or a particular Rocky mountain.

For some wild west lore, there’s the story of how Butch Cassidy once stopped here to change horses, and stayed long enough to carve his name on the bar (below). 

You can take the same stool, and enjoy a draft from local Steamworks of Durango or Ska Brewing Company, or a sip from Dunton’s own Sutcliffe Vineyards.

But the real liquid treat of Dunton Hot Springs is the waters which soothed miners' tired muscles. You climb down a short ladder below the earth's surface and sit for a few minutes in 108 degree thermal spring source water. There is no odd smell, sulphur-y or otherwise.

From the source, the waters are channeled into an indoor soaking pool, slightly less hot, as well as a natural outdoor hot tub with a view of the Rockies. Sitting in a hot spring, drinking a local brew, outside of a luxuriously restored cabin, we’re convinced this is less of a hotel and more like cabin-glamping. Which, we’re pretty confident to say, is totally awesome.

Images by Jack Richmond and Fredric Hamber.