Pagosa Springs is a small community full of lush mountainous and green views located in Southwest Colorado. Surrounded by the San Juan National Forest and Southern Ute Indian lands, Pagosa Springs is known for its hot springs, also referred to as “healing waters.” While its remote location doesn’t make it as easily accessible: it’s four hours north of Albuquerque and five hours south of Denver, there are plenty of things to do in Pagosa Springs to make the trip more than worth it.
Since this charming town is located in Colorado, the community gets the full effects of each season. Snow-covered mountains and trees in the winter and the blazing sun on your skin in the summer. But there are plenty of activities in Pagosa Springs all year round. Here’s a list of our favorite things about this small Colorado, and some of the most popular tourist attractions. There’s a wide variety of things to do!
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Things to Do in Pagosa Springs in the Summer
With the warm weather of summer averaging around the 80s comes beautiful blue skies and a shining sun. The summer months allow you to check out anything and everything in Pagosa Springs and the surrounding area. Local weather stations can keep you up to date on all things weather to ensure you get the most out of your trip.
Hiking, Fishing, and Camping
Located right in the dense wilderness of the San Juan Mountains, there are endless opportunities for hiking, camping, and fishing in the Great Outdoors. With campgrounds in all directions, the more popular campground, Williams Creek Reservoir, is just north of downtown Pagosa Springs. There are also plenty of camping spots right near the heart of Pagosa Springs, such as Pagosa Springs RV Park and Pagosa Riverside Campground.
Pagosa Springs is on the edge of some of Colorado’s most extraordinary hiking trails. The trails range from leisure nature walks to intense high-elevation treks that are a great workout. There are incredible views at the top of Pagosa Peak, or you can check out the Fourmile Trail, which features a fantastic waterfall. The Piedra River Trail is another great trail to check out: if you prefer more solitude, the latter parts of the 11.2-mile trail are much less busy. If you don’t want to walk, mountain biking trails are just as plentiful.
Fishing is one of the easiest and most entertaining activities in Pagosa Springs during the summer. The San Juan River runs right through the downtown area, allowing you to cast a line almost anywhere you want. There are plenty of reservoirs and lakes to fish right outside the town, including the Williams Creek Reservoir.
Cruise Down The San Juan River
As the San Juan River runs right through downtown, some fun activities in Pagosa Springs involve kayaking, tubing, and even whitewater rafting. From May to mid-June, you’re able to kayak right on the river through downtown, and the rest of the summer, you can tube on the river. The town offers shuttle services for those who want to get down the river as many times as possible.
All visitors, including families, can check out the beaches and swimming holes all along the river. Flowing through Mesa Canyon, those rafting down the San Juan River can experience the beautiful cliffs of the canyon and the class III rapids flowing in the summer.
Things to Do in Pagosa Springs in the Winter
As winter comes rolling in, a fresh layer of snow will sit right on the town of Pagosa Springs. The temperatures begin to drop, the lakes start to freeze over, but the warm waters of the hot springs only start to steam and feel even hotter. With the snow comes a whole new list of activities in Pagosa Springs to do that are fun and exciting.
The Pagosa Springs area has the most snow in Colorado. The highest snowfall falls near the Wolf Creek Ski Area, which says about 430 inches fall every year.
Winter events range from dog-sledding to ice fishing, and there is no shortage of activities in Pagosa Springs. You can get pulled by a team of Alaskan Malamute sled dogs right on the outskirts of town. You even get the opportunity to meet and greet the pups before they take you through the wintery trails of the San Juan National Forest.
You can go sledding yourself without the dogs pulling you, as there are plenty of hills in the surrounding area. You’re also able to head down one of the four lanes at High Country Tubing Park. Or take a sleigh ride through the meadows and forests covered in a blanket of white snow.
There is a 50km trail that is free where you can strap on some snowshoes or go cross-country skiing. The trails are kept and dog-friendly and offer a beautiful view of the Colorado wilderness covered in snow. Certain reservoirs in the Pagosa Springs area are fit for some of the best ice fishing in the southern part of the state. Grab your fishing license and head out to catch some of the brook’s native kokanee salmon or trout.
Pagosa Springs is also close to many skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling locations, such as Wolf Creek Ski Resort. Other great ski areas are not too far away, either. Resorts all around offer ski trails as well as rentals for those who need them. Snowmobiling through the San Juan National Forest is a whole new way to take in the scenery.
Things to Do in Pagosa Springs Year Round
Check out the Historic Sites
From the San Juan Historical Museum to the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, you can soak in all the rich history that encompasses Pagosa Springs. The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad gives riders beautiful scenery that can only be seen from the railroad. The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad is a National Historic Landmark and is also open for visitors to check out.
Pagosa Junction is considered a Colorado ghost town but is rich with history. The junction used to be where the San Juan branch of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad used to stop. While the town is abandoned now, there’s plenty to see as you imagine what it was like during the peak railroad period in the 1800s.
Visit the mineral-rich hot springs
Pagosa Springs is known for its hot springs, so it’s a must-do whenever you decide to visit. Waters rich with minerals that offer various benefits, these natural geothermal springs are located right downtown. The spring located in the town was named the Deepest Geothermal Hot Spring by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2011.
The Springs Resort, located in the heart of the community, has more than twenty pools to soak in. You can also do some mineral-rich soaking at Overlook Hot Springs Spa or Healing Waters Resort & Spa. Water temperatures vary from the low 80s to over 100 degrees, so there’s a pool for everybody’s temperature preferences.
Have you visited Pagosa Springs before? Share your tips on the fun things to do there. We’d love to hear about them!