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Exploring an underground vapor cave

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OURAY — Tucked away in an underground cave in Ouray is a place where you can relax and receive some health benefits.

Like plenty of spas across our state, the Historic Wiesbaden features natural hot springs. But it also features something else unique:

“The vapor cave!” explained DeLinda Austin, General Manager of the Historic Wiesbaden.

The vapor cave is underground. It’s a natural area, where three hot and one cool spring leak directly into the cave; unlike hot springs, where the hot water comes up from underground.

"Chief Ouray’s adobe is sitting, the remains of it, is sitting up on a hill right where this water comes from,” Austin pointed out.

People who visit the vapor cave enjoy it for many reasons, including its natural heat.

“The heat is intense, about 108 degrees,” Austin said. "It’s like going into a womb, I think. People say they go in because the folklore is that it was also a ceremonial cave”.

Austin said it’s a place where you can stop the chatter going on in your mind. It provides a meditative feeling.

When it comes to health benefits, there are several. After all, you’re lounging around in natural mineral water.

“Relaxation, obviously. Sore muscles. Respiratory, it would help,” Austin said.

People have been enjoying the Wiesbaden and its vapor cave since the 1880s.

“It’s magic,” Austin said.

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