Tucked away in the San Juan Mountains, Pagosa Springs is one of Colorado's undiscovered gems. The town attracts visitors because of its therapeutic natural hot springs and plentiful sunshine, as well as the small-town hospitality and relaxed atmosphere.
1.Reservoir Hill Park
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Sitting right in the heart of downtown Pagosa Springs, Reservoir Hill Park is a recreation area that boasts an extensive trail system and excellent views of the surrounding mountains. Summer visitors can also make use of the park's disc golf course, while winter brings the opportunity to go snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or sledding in the designated area. There are two trailheads that provide access to the park: one behind the San Juan Motel and another just off San Juan Street behind the Healing Waters Spa. During the summer months, the park hosts FolkWest bluegrass festivals in the meadow.
320 Hot Springs Blvd, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147
2.Chimney Rock National Monument
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Tucked away off the beaten path at the southern edge of the San Juan Mountains, the Chimney Rock National Monument is a 4,726-acre archaeological site that provides visitors with a fascinating glimpse into the past. The area was home to the Ancestral Puebloans of the Chaco Canyon, and it now preserves approximately 200 homes and ceremonial buildings that can be explored by strolling along pathways that have remained unchanged for a thousand years. The visitor center is open every day between May 15 and September 30; daily walking tours are offered during this time period as well.
3179 State HWY 151, Pagosa Springs, CO 81121, Phone: 970-883-5359
3.Fred Harman Art Museum
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Fred Harman was one of the founders of the Cowboy Artists of America, and although he passed away in 1982, the Fred Harman Art Museum keeps his memory alive through a collection of original paintings, comic strips, and other memorabilia. Harman was one of the country's best-known painters of the American West, but he was also known for creating the cartoon strip Red Ryder and Little Beaver and for his sculpting talent. The museum is open Monday through Saturday from May 2nd to September 30th, and anyone who would like to visit during the winter months must make an appointment.
85 Harman Park Dr, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147, Phone: 970-731-5785
4.Rocky Mountain Wildlife Park
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Established in 1986, Rocky Mountain Wildlife Park is a privately owned facility dedicated to educating people about the diverse range of animals found in the mountains around Pagosa Springs. The park is home to bears, coyotes, porcupines, foxes, mountain lions, and many other animals, all of which are non-releasable and do not have the skills needed to survive in the wild. Tours are offered every day at feeding time; visitors will learn about the animals as a species as well as about each animal individually. The gravel path is approximately half a mile long, and tours typically take around 1 hour.
4821 US-84, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147, Phone: 970-264-4515
5.San Juan Historical Museum
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Founded in 1970 to preserve and showcase the rich history of the area, the San Juan Historical Museum is housed inside the town's old waterworks building. Local residents have donated a large number of fascinating historical artifacts over the years, including various photos and artifacts from the homes, farms, and ranches found in the area. Other exhibits include the Oppenheimer Chair, used by J. Robert Oppenheimer during his time at Los Alamos Laboratory, a collection of metal sculptures by Worth Crouse, and a special display of quilts. The museum is open May through September, and there is no fee for admission.
S 1st St, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147, Phone: 970-264-4424
6.High Country Lodge Tubing Park
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Part of the High Country Lodge, the High Country Lodge Tubing Park is a great winter destination for the whole family. Tubes and helmets are provided, and customers are advised to wear warm clothing, a windproof jacket, gloves, a hat, and goggles or sunglasses to shield their eyes. No previous experience is required, but tubers must be at least 4 years of age, 42 inches tall, and able to ride in their own tube. Reservations are required, and tubers are asked to arrive at the park at least 15 minutes early in order to fill out paperwork.
3821 US-160, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147, Phone: 970-264-4181
7.Higher Grounds Coffee
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Locally owned and operated, Higher Grounds Coffee prides itself on being a community gathering place and a destination for people interested in sampling some of the world's best coffee. The coffee served here is roasted locally, and the cafe also offers an excellent selection of food including pastries, sandwiches, soups, salads, and quesadillas. The breakfast menu is especially popular with locals and visitors alike, and the business also boasts a small store where visitors can purchase scarves, mugs, gift cards, and works by local artisans. Free Wi-Fi is available, and the cafe is open every day of the week until 7:00pm.
189 Talisman Dr, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147, Phone: 970-731-3666
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Owned and operated by a local man named Larry Melton, Majestic Outfitters is a small trail riding company that offers tours of the beautiful San Juan Mountains. Anyone with a day to spare can choose between a 2-hour, half-day, or full-day tour, while those interested in spending more time in the forest can book a 3 to 7-day camping trip with all equipment and tents included. The company operates between May 15th and October 31st, and advance reservations are requested and recommended. Riders must be at least 6 years of age, and no previous riding experience or knowledge is required.
US-160, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147, Phone: 970-946-1888
9.Overlook Hot Springs Spa
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Pagosa Springs has no shortage of hot springs, but Overlook Hot Springs is unique in that it offers a peaceful Victorian atmosphere and three rooftop pools with views of the river and mountains. The rooftop also boasts a sauna and a Jacuzzi, but anyone who would prefer to stay inside has a choice of five indoor pools as well as an exclusive private tub room that must be reserved in advance. The therapeutic mineral water will do wonders for your aches and pains, but the spa is also proud to offer a selection of relaxing massages, body scrubs, and mud wraps.
432 Pagosa St, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147, Phone: 970-264-4040
10.Pagosa Baking Company
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Founded in 2011 by Kathy Keyes, the Pagosa Baking Company is a locally owned bakery and cafe that offers a welcoming atmosphere and a delectable assortment of hot drinks and healthy food. The chefs are proud to use organic and locally sourced ingredients to prepare the food whenever possible, and all soups, breads, pies, and other baked goods are made on-site from scratch. The bakery is open every day of the week for both lunch and dinner, and a variety of homemade freezer meals, cookie doughs, and locally produced meats are available for customers to take home and prepare themselves.
238 Pagosa St, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147, Phone: 970-264-9348
11.Pagosa Brewing Company & Grill
© Pagosa Brewing Company & Grill
Recommended by publications like National Geographic and The New York Times, the Pagosa Brewing Company & Grill is an award-winning brewery with more than 20 house beers and ciders on tap. The brewery also offers a full made-from-scratch food menu; some of the most popular items include the salmon fish and chips, the artisan pizzas, and the smoked pulled pork. For special events, guests can also choose to rent out the 10,000-square-foot beer garden, which comes with a festival tent, a full-sized stage, and a professional lighting and sound system. Free Wi-Fi is offered, and brewery tours are available by appointment.
118 N Pagosa Blvd, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147, Phone: 970-731-2739
12.Pagosa Dog Sled Adventures Delight
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A dog sled tour is truly the experience of a lifetime, and Pagosa Dog Sled Adventures Delight offers half-day, full-day, and even multi-day tours of the wilderness around Pagosa Springs. The owner Twila Baker has been involved in the world of dog sledding since 1989, and all of her guides are well trained. The company offers everything from group tours to gourmet dinner adventures under the light of the full moon; fully customized tours are available for groups and special events. Guests are advised to dress as they would for a day of skiing, but should also be aware that clothing will likely get dirty.
135 Country Center Dr, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147, Phone: 970-903-8141
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Pagosa Outside is often voted Pagosa's best rafting company, and it's not hard to understand why. The company offers excursions on the San Juan, Piedra, and Rio Chama rivers, and it has something for people of almost every age and ability. Customers can spend a leisurely afternoon drifting down the San Juan River on a rented tube, but anyone looking for a more adrenaline-inducing adventure can join one of the whitewater rafting trips down the rugged Piedra River. Other services include inflatable kayak lessons, stand-up paddleboard rentals, and guided three-day rafting tours through the Scenic Rio Chama Wilderness.
350 Pagosa St, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147, Phone: 970-264-4202
14.Parelli Natural Horsemanship World Headquarters & Museum
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Pat Parelli is known worldwide for his natural horsemanship techniques, and the Parelli Natural Horsemanship World Headquarters & Museum is the perfect retreat for anyone looking to forge a stronger connection with their horse. The entire property has been lovingly transformed into a horseman’s adventure park that boasts miles of trails and breathtaking views around every corner. Guests are also welcome to use the many amenities, which include both indoor and outdoor areas and a number of extensive obstacle courses. A barbecue and campfire event is held every Wednesday night, and a special summit takes place every September.
7 Parelli Way, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147, Phone: 800-642-3335
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Situated approximately 1 hour north of Pagosa Springs, Piedra Falls is a beautiful waterfall that tumbles down a steep cliff into a V-shaped canyon filled with huge rocks. The trailhead to the falls can be found just past the bridge that crosses the Middle Fork of the Piedra River, and the 1-mile hike takes between 30 minutes and 1 hour on a roundtrip. The trail is best between May and November, and dogs are permitted but must be kept on a leash. The walk is suitable for most ages and abilities, but visitors should be aware that it gets quite slippery when wet.
Piedra Falls, Colorado 81130
16.Riff Raff Brewing Company
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Located inside a cozy Victorian home built in 1896, the Riff Raff Brewing Company was the first brewery in Colorado to be powered by the local geothermal heat that comes from the world's deepest hot spring. The brewery boasts six flagship beers available all year round, but it also features a rotating collection of seasonal beers that complement the flagship collection. Customers can also choose from a food menu that offers an eclectic selection of burgers, sandwiches, and wings. The brewery is open until 10:00pm every night of the week except for Wednesday, and live music is held almost every weekend.
274 Pagosa St, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147, Phone: 970-264-4677
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17.River Pointe Coffee House
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Specializing in locally roasted coffee, River Pointe Coffee House is a welcoming cafe with a well-trained team of baristas and excellent breakfast and lunch menus. Specialty coffees are proudly flavored with all-natural cane sugar syrups, and both non-coffee drinkers and coffee lovers would be well-advised to sample the delicious handcrafted organic red chai tea. A book exchange can be found in the Mountain Lounge wing, and live music is offered several times a month. The cafe also houses a wonderful little boutique that sells everything from handmade jewelry and home decor to branded shirts and coffee mugs.
445 San Juan St, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147, Phone: 970-264-3216
18.Rocky Mountain Balloon Adventures, LLC
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Drifting above the stunning San Juan Mountain Range in a hot air balloon is truly a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, and Rocky Mountain Balloon Adventures, LLC. has been providing visitors with this experience since 1986. All tours begin shortly after sunrise; customers will help inflate the balloon before flying up to 3,000 feet to obtain a panoramic view of four states. The balloon can hold between ten and twelve people, and flights are offered all year round. The entire experience takes approximately 3.5 hours with 30 minutes of flight time, and tours end with muffins and champagne or juice
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19.The Springs Resort & Spa
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Conveniently located on the banks of the San Juan River in downtown Pagosa Springs, the Springs Resort & Spa offers 23 soaking pools fed by the deepest geothermal hot spring in the world. The pools range in temperature from 87°F to 114°F, and there is also a mineral water lap pool for guests who would like to get some exercise. Hotel accommodation and a luxurious spa are available on-site; guests of the hotel have access to the pools 24 hours a day, but the public bathhouse is open to visitors all throughout the year. Daily, weekly, monthly, and annual passes are available.
165 Hot Springs Blvd, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147, Phone: 970-264-4168
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Named after the legendary Treasure Mountain, Treasure Falls is located only 15 miles east from Pagosa Springs. The waterfall tumbles 105 feet into Falls Creek below; the falls can be partially seen from the parking lot, but visitors who want a better view should walk to the base. The well-maintained dirt trail is only about a quarter of a mile long, but it's quite steep and the walk typically takes between 30 and 45 minutes on a round trip. Once at the base of the falls, visitors can stand on the "Misty Deck" to see and feel the spray of the water.
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21.Two Chicks & A Hippie
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Known for its excellent baked goods and its hearty breakfast menu, Two Chicks & A Hippie is a small bakery and cafe tucked away in the west end of Pagosa Springs. Popular breakfast items include the huevos rancheros and the "hippie breakfast," while a variety of sandwiches and soups are offered for lunch. The friendly service and free Wi-Fi make this a great place to spend an hour or two, while the outdoor deck is an especially pleasant place to sit on a sunny day. However, anyone in a hurry can call in their order and stop by to pick it up once it's ready.
117 Navajo Trail Dr, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147, Phone: 970-731-6020
22.Wolf Creek Ski Resort
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Wolf Creek Ski Area is known for the highest snowfall in Colorado with the average of 430 inches every season, giving it the reputation among ski areas as “The Most Snow in Colorado”. Wolf Creek is located in the Southern San Juan Mountains, specifically near the summit of Wolf Creek Pass. Wolf Creek’s location offers an unique microclimate that lends to its reputation of prolific powder days, making it a fair bet guests will be able to catch a fat ski day while visiting. Skiers and snowboarders can choose from a diversely formulated lift network featuring ten lifts, ranging from high-speed detachable quad chairlifts to rolling conveyor lifts, all excessing a wide variety of terrain suitable for all levels. Tickets can only be purchased from the ticket window at the base of the mountain, and as the mountain is only 30 minutes away from the towns of Pagosa Springs and South Fork, Colorado. Read more
Top of Wolf Creek Pass, U.S. Hwy. 160 E., Pagosa Springs, CO 81147, Phone: 970-264-5639
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23.Yamaguchi Nordic Track
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Situated not far from Hot Springs Boulevard in downtown Pagosa Springs, the Yamaguchi Nordic Track is a 1-mile Nordic ski loop that makes a great workout for anyone spending the day in town. Unlike many other trails in the area, the Yamaguchi Nordic Track is completely flat, meaning that it's a perfect option for beginners and families. The trail is proudly groomed by the Pagosa Springs Nordic Club, and it offers set tracks designed for the classic style of cross-country skiing. There is no fee to use the track, and the parking area is located just off South 5th Street.
24.Alley House Grille
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Often referred to as the best dining destination in town, the Alley House Grill specializes in a fusion of global and local cuisine. Located inside a restored cottage that was originally built in 1912, the restaurant offers an elegant but friendly dining experience full of small-town charm and hospitality. The menu changes fairly regularly, but diners can expect to see dishes such as lobster linguine, sesame-crusted seared ahi, and goat cheese and herb polenta. The restaurant is open for dinner every day of the week, and reservations are recommended, particularly for diners who would like to enjoy their meal on the patio.
214 Pagosa St, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147, Phone: 970-264-0999
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25.Fish Creek Outfitters
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Operating under a special use permit in the San Juan National Forest, Fish Creek Outfitters offers wilderness adventures on horseback for hunters, fishermen, and anyone else interested in exploring the forest. Several different kinds of hunting trips are offered, including fully guided hunts and drop camps that include transportation, all equipment, and the transport of game from the camp to a local packing company. The company does not offer fishing guides, but they are more than happy to bring customers to the park's best fishing spots as long as they have their own equipment and a valid fishing license.
3600 CR 359, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147, Phone: 970-264-0982
25 Best Things to Do in Pagosa Springs, Colorado
- Reservoir Hill Park, Photo: Courtesy of Paul - Fotolia.com
- Chimney Rock National Monument, Photo: Courtesy of oscity - Fotolia.com
- Fred Harman Art Museum, Photo: Courtesy of kojala - Fotolia.com
- Rocky Mountain Wildlife Park, Photo: Courtesy of John Sfondilias - Fotolia.com
- San Juan Historical Museum, Photo: Courtesy of andersphoto - Fotolia.com
- High Country Lodge Tubing Park, Photo: Courtesy of pavel_shishkin - Fotolia.com
- Higher Grounds Coffee, Photo: Higher Grounds Coffee
- Majestic Outfitters, Photo: Courtesy of Mark - Fotolia.com
- Overlook Hot Springs Spa, Photo: Courtesy of naka - Fotolia.com
- Pagosa Baking Company, Photo: Pagosa Baking Company
- Pagosa Brewing Company & Grill, Photo: Pagosa Brewing Company & Grill
- Pagosa Dog Sled Adventures Delight, Photo: Courtesy of maestrovideo - Fotolia.com
- Pagosa Outside, Photo: Courtesy of VILevi - Fotolia.com
- Parelli Natural Horsemanship World Headquarters & Museum, Photo: Courtesy of rostovdriver - Fotolia.com
- Piedra Falls, Photo: Courtesy of Juhku - Fotolia.com
- Riff Raff Brewing Company, Photo: Riff Raff Brewing Company
- River Pointe Coffee House, Photo: River Pointe Coffee House
- Rocky Mountain Balloon Adventures, LLC, Photo: Courtesy of Andy Dean - Fotolia.com
- The Springs Resort & Spa, Photo: The Springs Resort & Spa
- Treasure Falls, Photo: Courtesy of Tristan - Fotolia.com
- Two Chicks & A Hippie, Photo: Two Chicks & A Hippie
- Wolf Creek Ski Resort, Photo: Courtesy of karagrubis - Fotolia.com
- Yamaguchi Nordic Track, Photo: Courtesy of Oleksandr Kotenko - Fotolia.com
- Alley House Grille, Photo: Alley House Grille
- Fish Creek Outfitters, Photo: Courtesy of Oksana Perkins - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Brent Hall - Fotolia.com