|In the Ute language, “Pah gosa” meant “healing waters” and it is that healing property that has attracted visitors for more than a century. Overwhelmed by the breakneck pace of city life and underwhelmed by the pocketbook-busting glitz of chi-chi resort towns, visitors find the relaxed pace, stunning scenery and small-town friendliness to be a perfect salve for the stressed-out soul.
Surrounded by majestic mountains and lush forests, Pagosa Springs truly is a “town inside a park” contained as it is within the San Juan National Forest. Greeted by pristine rivers, abundant wildlife, stately stands of pine and aspen groves, verdant valleys, deep canyons and breathtaking vistas, visitors immediately experience the abundant beauty and serenity offered by Pagosa Country.
Rustic and idyllic, Pagosa Springs has retained its Old West charm while offering many amenities for the 21st century.
Yet, unlike more modern, homogenized “retreats” in the Rockies, Pagosa Country doesn’t offer everything money can buy — it offers more of the things that money can’t get.
Basic services abound
With an excellent public library, numerous art galleries, bookstores, churches (including the Tara Mandala Buddhist retreat center), specialty shops and a classic movie theater, Pagosa Springs provides more than enough to inspire the mind and spirit, as well as the body.
If you need directions or information for any of these amenities, cross the bridge on Hot Springs Boulevard and then take a quick right turn. You will find the Pagosa Springs Area Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center on the southwest bank of the San Juan River. Designed to represent one of the early-day bath houses of Pagosa Springs, the Visitor Center offers a wealth of information.
Backpackers, campers, hikers and other adventuresome souls will want to visit the U.S. Forest Service Pagosa Ranger District Office at 2nd and Pagosa streets, just two blocks east of Hot Springs Boulevard on U.S. 160. The staff can provide a wealth of information about hiking trails, campsites, fishing and tours of ancestral Puebloan ruins at Chimney Rock.
Water, water everywhere
A short walk south from the Visitor Center will take you to “The Great Pagosah — the Largest, Hottest Spring in the World.” Just stroll a bit south from the Visitor Center on Hot Springs Boulevard.
If you’re a swimmer, the Spa Motel at the corner of San Juan Street and Hot Springs Boulevard offers an outdoor pool and indoor mineral baths fed by a geothermal well. The Springs Resort also offers an outdoor pool and outdoor geothermal hot tubs located next to the San Juan River. The Overlook Spa on Pagosa Street offers an opulent Victorian experience for soaking.
Nevertheless, and nearer still, Pagosa Springs provides ample opportunity to splash and smile. Late summer finds bathers and tubers alike taking to the river, as water levels fall to their lowest and the heat of the dog days of August and warm water temperatures drive locals and visitors to enjoy a tame – and refreshing — San Juan river.
Needless to say, there is plenty of rock climbing around Pagosa Springs, but once you rappel down, there’s plenty of music to greet you. The Pagosa Folk and Bluegrass Festival in June while the Four Corners Folk Festival plays out on Labor Day weekend.
And the rest …
Ballooning? There are several points where you can launch your balloon — or get a ride from professionals — if you want an eagle’s-eye view of the area. Wind-surfing? Lake Capote or Navajo Lake await you — and challenge you. Golf? Tennis? It’s all here for you, under a sky with more stars than you’ve ever seen.
For the earliest Native inhabitants of the area, Pagosa was considered a land of healing waters. For today’s vacationers, Pagosa is a land of invigorating experiences. If this is your first time to Pagosa Country, make yourself at home in the midst of the most beautiful scenery and friendliest people in Colorado.
If you’ve been here before, welcome back.