Dunton Hot Springs is what you might call an ultra-luxury resort – meaning it is expensive. We found the resort as it is owned by the same group (Canyon Equity) as Amangiri from our previous trip to Utah. However, it is not part of the Aman resorts but a separate property.
Dunton was at one time an abandoned ghost town. Around the year 2000, the owners began to convert it into a luxury resort where guests stay in cabins or even a converted tent within the small town. There are only a few cabins or houses and the resort is very popular for weddings so it is best to book early.
If this resort is out of your budget as it may be for a lot of travelers, you can still visit the resort by staying in nearby Telluride. There you can book a snowmobiling tour with Telluride Outside which travels over the mountain range and includes lunch at the resort and time to swim in the three hot springs. The resort also offers combination packages with their town house in Telluride for those who want to ski for several days and then spend a few days relaxing.
Given the uniqueness of this resort, we planned to arrive early grabbing a snack at the hotel for breakfast so we could have lunch in Dunton and spend a full day relaxing. It is a three hour drive from Moab and the last few miles are a gravel road leading to the small valley. Upon arrival, the staff gave a quick tour of the facilities while unloading the bags; highlighting the history of the resort from a mining ghost town to a biker hide out to the restored bar where Butch Cassidy carved his name in the bar – supposedly after robbing a bank in Telluride and then making his way to the Dunton to hide.
The resort includes all food and drinks and in keeping with the history of the town, all dining is communal at a large table. The food was excellent and the conversation varied based upon the guests each night including a family revisiting the resort where they were married; artistic locals and guests ranging from California to South Carolina.
Dunton Hot Springs goal is relaxation and enjoying your time so they offer sledding, outdoor ping pong tables on the wood deck, checkers, chess and, of course, the hot springs. After sledding for a few hours, we visited the indoor hot springs. There are three hot springs including an outdoor pool for relaxing as the sun sets; a more primal pool with metal walls descending into the hottest natural springs and then the indoor pool. The indoor pool includes a radio for listening to music along with a fire place, hammock, sofa bed and a wall of windows looking out over the mountains. You can easily spend several hours relaxing in the warm springs.
After dinner and conversations with the other guests, we picked out movies from the extensive DVD library and had arranged for popcorn and candy in the cabin to watch a movie with our kids. Please note, not all of the cabins have TV’s or DVD players – which you may or may not want on your trip.
The next day you can arrange for any number of summer or winter activities. We selected snowmobiling and the resort arranged to have us picked up right at the entrance the next morning. After climbing the nearby mountain pass, you will arrive in the meadows where you will be able to drive around through tree-lined trails or up the snowy embankments. Or you can even race each other in the flats reaching speeds up to 50 mph.
In the afternoon, it is a great opportunity to relax in the hot springs (again) but also play some chess/checkers or ping pong on the beautiful sunny days. And a sight not to be missed is the onsite library where there is a bottle of George Dickel Whisky always on hand. According to the staff, the whisky was found during renovations hidden under the floor boards – presumably forgotten during the prohibition.
One more sunset and dinner with a fire in the cabin and it was time to leave for our drive to Albuquerque the next day.
And for more details on surrounding areas see our full itinerary for Moab and Dunton Hot Springs or Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce or destination notes for Arches, Canyonlands, Albuquerque, Zion/Bryce Canyon, and Amangiri/Lake Powell.