Little Pagosa Springs, with its population of less than 2,000 people, is just 35 miles from the New Mexico border at an elevation of 7,000 feet. Located in the upper San Juan Basin, this charming town is surrounded by San Juan National Forest and the Weminuche Wilderness and is a beautiful and secluded Colorado gem. Read on for river activities, places to eat, and our favorite hot springs for a fun and rejuvenating weekend spent in Pagosa Springs, Colorado.
Day 1 – Explore Pagosa Springs
Like many Colorado towns, Pagosa Springs offers the perfect combination of quaint Colorado mountain town and staggeringly beautiful countryside, but before you dive into the great outdoors, consider starting slowly and building to a crescendo of activity on Day Two.
RELATED: Colorado’s Pond in the Clouds
After checking in to your accommodation or setting up camp (consider Navajo State Park. It is just 35 miles away on the shores of the Navajo Reservoir and has 118 campsites with showers and flush toilets as well as three fully-furnished two-bedroom log homes), most people will be thinking about lunch. Rosie’s Pizzeria comes highly recommended for everything from a quick slice on the go to a full meal for the family.
For a more sedate day without needing to venture too far, spend the rest of the afternoon and early evening rafting, kayaking or, if you’re feeling particularly relaxed, tubing down the San Juan River. There is a two-mile stretch that runs right through town, so it needn’t be an ordeal getting there or getting back. It is in fact, the perfect post-lunch activity. There are several companies in town that provide guided river tours, shuttle services, and equipment rental.
Visiting in winter? Pagosa Dogsled Adventures offer half day and hourly tours where guests are pulled through the snow by a team of Alaskan Malamutes.
Dinner on Day One should, as most days should, include some local beer. And even though Pagosa Springs is small, you have a choice of three breweries, each of which serves food. They are: Wolfe Brewing, Pagosa Brewing, and Riff Raff Brewing.
Rather grab a few things and make your own dinner? The Pagosa Springs Farmers Market is held each Saturday from mid-June to mid-September from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00pm. Locally grown fruits and vegetables and locally produced meats, breads, cheeses and more are on offer.
Day 2 – Go Tourist
Get caffeinated at River Point Coffee House, which is just off Main Street and, as the name suggests, is right on the river, before heading out of town for the day to explore Colorado’s wonderful wild side.
Just 20 miles from town, Chimney Rock National Monument was designated to its current National Monument status in 2012. Surrounded by the Southern Ute Indian Reservation, the 4,726-acre monument features twin rock pinnacles, a sacred site for the Ancestral Puebloan native peoples. Guided tours of the area, which encompasses seven square miles and 200 ancient homes and ceremonial buildings, are available throughout the morning and afternoon while self-guided audio walking tours are also possible between 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. The monument is open May 15 to Sept 30.
After a long day (or a short one, or even a day with no activity, we don’t judge) relax by soaking in a hot spring. There are three soaking resorts, with the Springs Resort & Spa being home to the deepest geothermal hot spring in the world.
Time to eat again. We have it on good authority from a born and bred New Orleanian that the Lost Cajun is pretty darn good. Head there for Louisiana classics like crawfish étouffé, gumbo and po’ boys. If you want dessert, it has to be a beignet.
And that isn’t all. For those who want to stay longer there is more to do including getting a bird’s eye view of the area on a Rocky Mountain Balloon Adventure and enjoying some live music at the Pagosa Folk ‘n Bluegrass Festival in June.
Pagosa Springs is the second host town for the 32nd installment of Ride the Rockies, the seven-day, 450-mile endurance ride across Colorado, June 10-17, 2017. Click here to explore Durango, the third Ride the Rockies host town!