Summer road trip season is here, and with all the great areas to explore in Colorado, it’s worthwhile to mention Pagosa Springs as a front runner destination in it’s own right. Bursting with small town charm, breathtaking vistas, and delicious local beer, this tiny town at the base of Wolf Creek Pass is starting to establish itself as more than just Durango’s little brother.
True to it’s name, Pagosa Springs offers visitors the opportunity to experience the warm, mineral rich waters that have lured people to the area for years. Native Americans long believed the hot geothermal water of nearby springs held healing powers, with the Utes, in particular, coining the term “Pah gosah,” or “healing waters.” Recently, Guinness Book of World Records certified the “Mother Spring” as being the deepest geothermal hot spring in the world, which feeds the pools of the three hot spring resorts located in town. Healing Waters Resort and Spa, Overlook Mineral Springs Spa, and The Springs Resort and Spa all offer the opportunity to relax, and sample some of the sulfur water at different temperature pools along the banks of the San Juan River.
As with any quintessential Colorado town, Pagosa Springs is sprinkled with local breweries to satiate the palates of beer connoisseurs and recreational beer drinkers alike. Riff Raff Brewing, Wolfe Brewing Company, and Pagosa Brewing Company all call Pagosa Springs home, and can likely be found on tap around town along with more recognizable brands from down the road in Durango. The pressure from other local big names, like Ska, and the constant influx of tourist feedback has created a knowledgeable beer drinking community whose brews boast flavor, complexity, and confidence.
Pagosa Springs is surrounded by 3 million acres of national forest and wilderness area; needless to say, the town and surrounding space is rife with opportunities to pursue outdoor recreation for a vast array of interests and abilities. Firstly, Colorado’s little gem, Wolf Creek Resort, is located 25 miles up Wolf Creek Pass, and is known for being a small resort that gets buried with an absurdly massive amount of snow. On the bucket list for any Colorado snow sport enthusiast, Pagosa Springs is the jumping off point to pay homage. Hiking and camping off of Wolf Creek Pass in the summertime has a reputation in it’s own right as being some of the best in the state. Multiple trail heads and camping areas offer extensive access to both the San Juan National Forest and the Weminuche Wilderness, along with being a jumping on and off point for the Continental Divide Trail. The San Juan River runs through downtown Pagosa Springs, and Pagosa Outside and Pagosa Rafting Outfitters both offer opportunities to organize float trips. Pagosa Outside also has SUP boards for rent, if that’s your preferred method of heading downriver. Nearby Piedra River Canyon and V-Rock are great spots to check out the local climbing scene, as well as acclaimed Penitente Canyon being only an hour and a half away.
Mountain biking, fly fishing, trail running, four wheeling, the list goes on and on for the countless adventures an outdoor enthusiast can get lost on in this special place in the state. For a complete guide to discovering the Pagosa Springs area, visitpagosasprings.com is the ultimate resource for directories, advice on places to stay, and directions.