Pagosa Springs falls under the radar when it comes to Colorado bike towns but there is plenty of singletrack here to explore. The biggest draw is the Turkey Springs area just north of town. This network of trails, which was officially sanctioned and renamed last year, offers the opportunity to ride many options—long rides, short rides, rides for the whole family, rides that make you puke. The closer loops run from 3.5 to 5 miles, longer options rack up to 15 miles, and of course you can keep riding and mixing the loops for new, longer rides.
Too lazy to stray too far from the hot springs and microbrews? There’s also riding right in town on Reservoir Hill. The highlight here is the Gravity Ride, this shot down a ravine used as a snowboarding fun park in the winter can give you a quick hit of fat-tire adrenaline. Further afield, there’s a plethora of singletrack in the surrounding San Juan National Forest. Highlights near town include rides like the burly Cade Mountain trail system 10 miles north of town, the 22-mile Jackson Mountain Loop that can be accessed via a road ride that starts in town, and even rides on the Continental Divide Trail.
Oh, but wait. It’s not just the mountain biking that’s sublime here. Road rides can take in everything from the big huff up Wolf Creek Pass to a variety of rides on Highways 160 and 151, all starting in town. A long list of local rides are mapped out at pagosatrails.net/home/road-bike-routes.
Want more info? The local Wolf Creek Wheel Club maintains information and maps on pretty much every ride in the region. In town, two bike shops serve up beta, supplies and repairs: Pagosa Pedal and Powder and The Hub Bike Shop.
Pagosa Springs is the best base for exploring the massive 488,210-acre Weminuche Wilderness, the largest protected roadless area in Colorado. The wilderness takes in the high peaks of the San Juans and harbors two major long-distance trails in the Colorado Trail and the Continental Divide Trail. But you don’t have to be a thru-hiker to take advantage of the location. Again, some of the best options start right in town, with Reservoir Hill being the easiest to access.
The 11.5-mile walk to the natural Rainbow Springs hot pots is probably the best-known and most popular hike here, but be warned of two things. First, the trail is closed due to fire as of late summer 2013 and, second, there’s a good chance you will not be alone up here. If you are looking for a walk with a lot of bang for your buck, head to Four Mile Falls. It’s a 6.6-mile round-trip that ends up at one of the biggest waterfalls in the state, a 300-foot drop that makes for an ideal spot for lunch on a leisurely fall leaf-peeping day.
If you are looking to combine a hike with a bit of fly fishing, head to the Piedra River Trail, an 11.2-mile jaunt along the stream in a canyon with rainbows and browns waiting in pools and riffles along the way. It’s another ideal spot for taking in the fall foliage and it one of the easiest to access trails in the region when the snow starts to fly. It’s also a good place to start a backpack trip into the deeper regions of the Weminuche.
DRINK IT IN
When it comes to relaxation, Pagosa combines old and new. With the deepest geothermal spring in the world, Pagosa Springs lives up to its namesake (Pagosa comes from a Ute word meaning “healing waters”) this is the place to soak and revive those old bones you wore out on the trail. The famed Springs Resort and Spa sits astride this hot spot and it’s the best luxury accommodation in town (or just stop in for a soak).
As for the new? Microbrews. Two outstanding breweries have taken up residence in town. The Pagosa Brewing Co. has been a locals favorite for a while now and serves lunch and dinner alongside standby beers and seasonals like a FallFest Bier for October and a wet hopped IPA. Just celebrating its grand opening in June, Riff Raff Brewing Co. is located in a newly renovated historic Victorian downtown, and features possibly the best deck and beer garden in Colorado.