Juniper Hot Springs History

By searching history we became aware of the unique fact that the waters, according to a U.S. Government analysis made in 1939, contains 24 minerals. Only two other similar springs exist and they are found in Europe. All of these minerals in Juniper Hot Springs have been found beneficial.

For centuries the Native Americans camped near Juniper Mountain to use the spring. Many relics, spearheads, corn grinders and other artifacts were found which showed at least 5 permanent camps were here. The natives called the spring ‘Healing Waters.’

In the 1870’s, a white man passing by the camps found a pair of moccasins beside what looked like a large hole. This was a tunnel to the hot springs where the natives brought their sick.

Joseph F. Garner filed on the land in the spring of 1880, and then deeded his interest to Major Daniel C. Oaks. Following the issue of the U.S. Patent, Major Oaks leased it to Mr. Perkins, who being ill, had heard of the springs and was taken there on a mattress in the back of a wagon. Within two weeks he was able to drive his team and decided to settle here. He then built a small bathhouse over the springs. This was the first building on the land.

Major Oaks died in 1897 and ownership passed by will to Minerva D Wing, who built a general store, U.S. Post Office, hotel, dining room, bathhouse, and livery stable. There was a cable trolley car across the Yampa River, and mail was brought from Lay three times per week. Supplies were brought from Craig by freight teams which forded the river or were freighted in from Rifle.

Juniper Health Spa

healthspaIn 1908, Minnie McCausland Failing inherited part of the ownership. While trying to dig a well, all she found was hot water. This have her the idea of developing the small indoor pools. Other owners were involved during which time the Post Office was closed. In 1954 REA electricity was provided. The property was sold in 1962 to Stella Craig.

After taking over the Springs, Stella along with her sister, Luella, has stated that, “It was most rewarding to see some people derive miraculous benefits from soaking in the pools.” The two sisters ran the pools, operated a cafe’ and sold some wonderful ‘Juniper Burgers’ and rented rooms in the hotel cabins. Approximately 12 years ago, Luella’s health deteriorated and they closed the resort and moved to Craig. Juniper Hot Springs has been operated in many ways and has gone through many transitions.

Current Description

presentdayBetween physical obsolescence and vandalism, the decision was made to burn the buildings in order to clean up the property. At present time there are no remaining structures.

The water that collects in the four Southern pools is derived from hundreds of feet below the surface. Geological studies indicate that the water comes from the Dakota Formation and migrates up faults associated with Juniper Mountain to the West. The sandy, clay bottom in these four pools allow the water to easily rise. The larger lap pool is filled solely from the overflow of the four smaller pools and has a concrete floor. The mineral springs presently flows at the rate of approximately fifty gallons per minute and a temperature of an estimated 102 degrees Fahrenheit.


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