Pagosa Springs, Colorado........"the healing waters"

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Click to see more pictures of Pagosa Springs on Interactive Map of Southern Colorado

Places to See See details

  • Hot Springs Resort
  • Navajo Lake State Park
  • Chimney Rock Archaeological Area
  • Fred Harman Museum
  • Rocky Mountain Wildlife Park
  • San Juan Historical Museum

Summer Activities
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River Sports
Mountain Biking

Winter Activities
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Alpine Skiing
Cross Country Skiing
Ice Skating
Sleigh rides

The Springs

The Great Pagosa Spring, a geothermal pool known to be one of the largest and hottest in the world, drops in depth below 1,500 feet.  The spring is 144 degrees F so it must be mixed with cooler water to be right for soaking.

Across the bridge from U.S. 160 and Hot Springs Boulevard, you will find the Greek and Italian architectured bathhouse with various sized tubs stretching from the entrance down to the San Juan River.

Various tubs range in temperatures from 90 degrees to 110 degrees.

Stay near the Springs

  • Spa Motel
  • Spring Inn Motel

The first public bathhouse was built in 1881 by Thomas Blair.  Later, title to the springs and 40 adjacent acres was given to the Pagosa Springs Company which ran the bathhouse from 1888.

The town has a geothermal heating system and many of the downtown buildings are warmed from privately owned geothermal wells.


This spot was discovered by a U.S. Government surveyor in 1859 who called the hot springs the most beautiful in the world.

 It has been important to other cultures such as the Ute and the Navajo who fought many times over control of the spring.  A truce set the boundary between the two nations as the San Juan River.

The last battle was fought sometime after the Civil War.  Each side chose one combatant to fight for them.   The Utes picked Col. Albert Pfeiffer, an Indian agent, adopted member of the Ute tribe, and friend of Kit Carson.  The Utes won and claimed for themselves the Great Pagosa Hot Spring.
A memorial to this battle is found along U.S. 160, four miles west of the town.

Places to Visit

Navajo State Park

One of southwest Colorado's finest recreational waters, Navajo Lake provides boating, water skiing, and fishing experiences.   A 20 mile drive down Colo. 151 off U.S. 160 west of Pagosa Springs takes you to the lake by winding though tall ponderosa to the town of Arboles.  (Arboles has a boat repair shop, gas station, motel, grocery store, RV parks and restaurants.)  To find this turn off, go west out of Pagosa Springs on U.S. 160 for 17 miles.   When you see Chimney Rock, go south on Colo. 151.

Along Colo. 151 you can visit the "Watchable Wildlife" observation deck where programs are presented each week at the amphitheater.

For the fisherman, there abounds brown trout, rainbow trout, and kokanee salmon in the cold lake waters.  In addition bass can be found in the warm surface waters.

You will need a valid Colorado State Parks Pass to enter the park.  A daily permit costs $5.00 per vehicle.  An overnight camping permit costs an additional $12.00 per site or $16.00 for sites with electric hookups.

Lodging nearby...   [Ignatio] [Durango] [Pagosa Springs]

More Places to Fish & Boat

Chimney Rock

The Chimney Rock area marked by two sandstone rock towers visible from the Pagosa Springs area, contains a 4,100 acre archaeological site.  The ancient pueblo people inhabited this mesa and the Piedra Valley are about 1,000 years ago and farmed here.

You can tour the area from May 15 through Sept. 30.  Guided tours are offered 7 days a week and 4 times per day - 9:30 AM, 10:30 AM, 1:00 PM, and 2:00 PM weather permitting.

The tours last 2-1/2 hours and take visitors on a mile walk at the 7,600 elevation, partly on a paved, gentle trail and partly on a rougher incline up to the top of the mesa   On the tour will see the impressive Great House pueblo.

Cost is $8.00 (over 12 years) and $2.00 for ages 5 to 12.

From Pagosa Springs take U.S. 160 west for 17 miles.  Take Colo. 151 south for three miles to the entrance.

Fred Harman Art Museum

Fred Harman was an artist, cartoonist, and cowboy who grew up on his father's homestead.  He was the writer of the Red Ryder and Little Beaver comic strips which were widely distributed from 1938 to 1964.

The museum is in his home and displays his paintings and memorabilia collections from his diverse, eventful life.  It is found 2 miles west of downtown Pagosa on U.S. 160.

Rocky Mountain Wildlife Park

The park is home to many varieties of wildlife typical of the area such as black bears, mountain lions, wolves, coyote, a grizzly bear, bobcats, elk and deer.

To find the park, start east of Pagosa Springs on U.S. 84 and head southeast for about 3 miles.  You will pass Echo Lake and a few miles further you will see the sign.

You can view the animals during the summer months from 8:30 AM to 6:00 PM.  The animals are fed each day at 4:00 PM

San Juan Historical Society Museum

Housed in the old waterworks buiding which was constructed from WPA funds in 1938, the museum features keepsakes from the early life in Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County.

You will find items from the town's early fire department, lumber mill, and one-room school house as well as quilts, and a one-horse sleigh.

Special exhibits feature a country school room, a general store, a dentist's office, and ranching displays

There is a gift shop where you can purchase books published by the San Juan Historical Society in a series called "Remembrances", as well as many other items.

You can walk to the museum from downtown Pagosa Springs.  It is located on U.S. 160 and 1st Street.

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Summer Activities around Pagosa Springs



Hike through the San Juan National Forest on trails covering a variety of terrain and ability levels.   All begin at altitudes of above 8,000 feet and some continue to 12,000 feet.   Pick up a hiking trail map from the    Chamber of Commerce.

Treasure Falls

  • Location - 14 miles NE on U.S. 160 to base of Wolf Creek Pass.
  • Length - 1/4 mile interpretive trail to base of falls.
  • An easy trail which is also accessible in winter.

Continental Divide Trail North

  • Location - from Pagosa Springs, drive to Continental Divide summit on Wolf Creek Pass and turn left on dirt road just past it.  Drive 1.5 miles to the Lobo Overlook parking area.
  • An easy to moderate trail where you feel on top of the world.

Ice Cave Ridge Trail

  • Location - Piedra River Trail parking area.
  • Start on the Piedra River Trail and then follow the old road bed to the right.
  • An easy, short trail up the Ice Cave Ridge.  Beautiful views of the Piedra Valley.

Treasure Mountain Trail

  • Location - drive 8 miles NE on U.S. 160 and turn right on East Fork Road.  Drive 7 miles to the trailhead.
  • This is a moderate to more difficult trail with spectacular views as you hike to Windy Pass.

More Places to Hike

River Sports

There are locations for all levels of ability.

  • You can float through the town of Pagosa Springs on the San Juan River for a gentle float.  (Beginners)
  • The Piedra River which is 23 miles west of the town provides class III and IV rapids.  The trip takes you through beautiful box canyons.
  • The Chama River runs south of Pagosa Springs and provides many scenic stretches as it flows into New Mexico.
  • Many Pagosa Springs companies rent equipment and provide guides.  The season runs from March through June.


Here are some favorite spots near town.

  • Within the city limits of Pagosa Springs, you can fish the San Juan River or the stocked ponds behind the River Center at the east end of town.

  • Ten miles NE of town on U.S. 160, fish the East Fork of the San Juan for rainbow and brown trout.

  • Four miles south of town on U.S. 84, fish Echo Lake for rainbow trout, largemouth bass,channel catfish, and yellow perch.

  • Seventeen miles west on U.S. 160 and 23 miles south on Colorado 151, fish the Navajo Reservoir.
    About Navajo State Park

More Places to Fish & Boat

Mountain Biking

Trails in Pagosa Springs

  • San Juan Riverwalk (two trails, one starting from the Chamber of Commerce and the other from River Center Park - 2.8 miles - beginner
  • Reservoir Hill Mountain Park - beginner to advanced - 1.4 to 4 miles on dirt track.  Trailheads are above the Spa Motel on Hot Springs Boulevard and behind the San Juan Motel on U.S. 160.

Trails near the town

  • Eight Mile Mesa - intermediate - 23 miles.  Use San Juan National Forest, Serviceberry Mountain Quad.   Begin in town from the bridge and Light Plant Road.   You will pass Echo Lake on this ride.
  • Snowball Road - Jackson Mountain Loop - beginners to intermediate - 22 miles.  Use San Juan National Forest, Jackson Mountain Quad.  Check with Chamber of Commerce for route of this trail.

The Lakes Area trails

  • Stevens Canyon - beginner to intermediate with some steep climbs.  A favorite of locals.  See map in Pagosa Springs Mountain Bike Trails by Terri Smith for description of trail route.  Starts in town at either San Jose Court, North Pagosa Boulevard, or Aspenglow Boulevard.

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Winter Activities

Wolf Creek Ski Area

The Wolf Creek Ski Area is reputed to have "the most snow in Colorado" with an average of over 38 feet of snowfall in a year.  A family oriented ski area, it welcomes skiers and snowboarders to its slopes.  Beginners, intermediate, and advanced skiers will find runs to fit their skill.  Five chairlifts and a rolling conveyor give skiers access to the slopes.

Wolf Creek Ski Area is located on Wolf Creek Pass along U.S. 160 northeast out of Pagosa Springs.

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