How To Spend An Afternoon In Pagosa Springs, Colorado

I’m on my way north from Santa Fe, New Mexico to Durango, Colorado. I was just camping in Carson National Forest, so I set my destination for Pagosa Springs, Colorado, about halfway. I thought I might stop there to just stretch my legs and grab gas, but boy was I wrong.

As I entered the town, I saw a sign saying something about hot springs. Hot springs?? My interest was piqued, so I stopped by the visitor center to stretch my legs and learn more.

Apparently hot springs are the thing of Pagosa Springs!

Pagosa Springs is named by the Southwestern Ute word, “Pagosah” which now translates as, “healing waters.”

So here’s how I spent my afternoon:

  • Lunch by the river
  • Hot springs tour floating down the river


The friendly woman at the visitor center gave me the following recommendations for food:

  • The Lost Cajun – cajun
  • The Rose – diner
  • Riff Raff Brewing Company – brewpub
  • Kip’s Grill – bar & grill

So where did I get lunch? Well if you read Spending A Day In Taos, New Mexico you may not be surprised that I proceeded to not take her recommendations and get a pizza at Mountain Pizza and Taproom 🤪. I suppose they are just recommendations…

I prepared a salad while I waited, then took both outside to the park.

I ate lunch watching the kids playing in the river, jumping in, swimming around, and watching people float down the river in tubes.

NATURALLY I had to go in too… So I did.

The River & Hot Springs

What happened next could only be described as “the bar crawl of hot springs.”

I took my phone and key to my van, put them in a waterproof bag and headed into the water with nothing else besides my swimsuit. After sliding down the rapids a couple times and swimming around, I grabbed my bag and proceeded to float down the river (without a tube) until I saw a hot springs pool on the left side of the river. I got out, put my bag down, and dipped my feet in. This one was reeeeally hot, so I grabbed my bag, got back in the river, and headed further down.

I came up to a series of pool on the right side of the river. I put my bag down on a rock and hopped in one of these. THIS one was unbelievably perfect.

After a solid 10 minutes of soaking and relaxing, I grabbed my bag and hopped back in the river. I think you get the idea now 😁. I did this about 3 more times in different hot spring pools along the river.

I was not expecting this to turn into a whole afternoon, but wow that was fun. I felt like a kid playing in the water like many of the other kids I saw. The best part was, all of this was free and public. There are lots of resorts with their own private hot spring pools, but there are plenty of hot spring pools right along the river.

I had zero expectations of Pagosa Springs. Maybe that contributed to how good of a time I had this afternoon. But one thing’s for sure, Pagosa Springs is NOT just a stop to stretch your legs and get gas.

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