Manitou Springs, Colorado City of Mineral Springs  
Manitou Springs is an eclectic mix of modern and Victorian buildings nestled at the foot of Pike's Peak in western Colorado.  It is also home to ten wonderfully restored mineral springs. 

The springs rise from aquifers fed by rainwater and snowmelt from Pikes Peak and on its thousand year journey from deep underground the water absorbs high concentrations of minerals as it passes through the limestone and dolomite caverns deep in the rock. The flavour of the water is different at each spring depending on the intensity of the iron, sulphur or soda in the water. 

Manitou was a sacred place for the Ute Indians of the mountains and the various other tribes who moved in and out of the area including Cheyenne, Sioux, Arapahoe, Comanche, Kiowa and Algonquin. 

‘Manitou’ is an Algonquin name for the Great Spirit who was believed to have given the gift of the healing waters.  It was thought that many of the nature spirits lived beneath the springs and, as at holy waters everywhere, offerings of beads, pottery, weapons and talismans were left for them. 

Although Manitou started as a mining town in the goldrushes of the 1860s and 70s (it was incorporated in 1876) it soon decided it was better off as a health resort.  The original mineral springs beloved of the Indians were added to with several more being drilled between 1880 and 1936.  Spas for water therapy, simple bathhouses and bottling works mushroomed and were joined by hotels, casinos, restaurants and theatres.  Invalids and holidaymakers alike came to breathe the clean mountain air and drink the health giving waters which were believed to cure everything from headaches to tuberculosis to cancer. By the 
end of the nineteenth century Manitou was one of the most popular vacation destinations in the west. 

A tourist information booklet published in the 1920s describes 14 mineral springs within the city limits but only names 10 of them: Creighton, Manitou, Navajo, Cheyenne, Shoshone, Ute Chief, Ouray, Little Chief, Ute Iron and Soda Lithia.  The names of the 10 springs in the town today are: Ute Chief, Stratton, Twin (or Twin Link),Wheeler, Navajo, Shoshone, Cheyenne, Iron Geyser, Seven Minute and Soda. 

According to the excellent Everytourist Guide to the Springs (by Becky Marr, published by Aldendale Studio) there are 28 mineral springs in the area. 

In September 2000 there were eight carefully and imaginatively restored springs and two more (Soda and Shoshone) being renovated. 

Guide to the mineral springs of Manitou

Map showing the locations of the springs

The Mineral Springs Foundation

The Holy Wells Web

Pagosah hot mineral springs, Colorado

The other Manitou Springs

This site is a thank you to Jim who drove me all the way
from Denver to Manitou in September and found the springs for me.
And then drove me back again the next day after I ruined a roll of film.

Thank you 

~.~ Looking west along Manitou Avenue ~.~


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The Indian Waterpot & email icons are from Poison's Icons by Sonny Del Castillo.

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