Top Activities in Pagosa Springs to Earn Your Hot Springs Soak

Located in southern Colorado, just 35 miles north of the border of New Mexico is a town called Pagosa Springs.   As you may have guessed, it’s known for its namesake thermal hot springs.  Lesser known but equally remarkable is the incredible outdoors scene that surrounds the town.  Based on the top of the San Juan Basin and surrounded by the 3-million-acre San Juan National Forest, the outdoor adventures are endless. Pagosa Springs has the world’s deepest geothermal hot springs, making a hot springs soak a must-do when visiting.  To earn your soak, we’ve come up with some suggestions of some of the best outdoor action in the Pagosa Springs area.

Hike to Awe-Inspiring Waterfalls

Love waterfalls?  You are in luck.  The Pagosa Springs area is the land of waterfalls.  Some falls are hike-in only, while others can be viewed easily from the road.  Each waterfall has something special to offer visitors. Silver Falls is an easy ¼ mile hike and emerges from the forest to a mighty cascade of water.  Make sure you have a high clearance vehicle in spring when streams can cross the road.  Visiting on a weekday ensures fewer people.

Piedra Falls is another popular cascade which spills over volcanic cliffs.  It’s a stunning 45-minute drive to the trailhead from downtown Pagosa.  The mile-long hike to the falls follows the Piedra River right to the impressive falls.

For a true backcountry adventure, hike 13 miles to A Waterfall Without a Name.   Most hikers do the hike over 2 days, camping overnight due to the demanding terrain.  The waterfall has the largest vertical drop of any falls in the Pagosa area.

Mountain Bike the High Country Singletrack

Pagosa is surrounded by wilderness, and incredible mountain biking trails abound.  The top rated trail on MTBProject is the Middle Frisco Trail in Del Norte, CO about 1.5 hour away.  It is a 12.6 mile intermediate/advanced loop of mostly singletrack, which climbs above the treeline and winds around several lakes.  A big draw of this trail is the scenic views of the surrounding mountains, many covered in snow until well into summer.  Need to rent a bike?  Rent online easily and pick it up at Pagosa Mountain Sports right downtown.

For a ride closer to Pagosa downtown, try Turkey Springs Outer Loop trail in the San Juan mountains only 6 miles out of town.  Wildflowers and wildlife are plentiful on this scenic loop through the forest – watch out for elk, mule deer and turkey.  It’s a green/blue singletrack trail with no much climbing, so it is good for beginners and intermediate riders.

River Rafting, Kayaking, & Paddleboarding

The summer months of June and July when the weather is warm and the San Juan River water levels drop is the perfect time to cool off in the water.  Pagosa Springs has a number of great options to get wet. Rent a paddleboard or kayak easily online to paddle the Williams Creek reservoir or a river tube to float the San Juan River that flows right downtown Pagosa Springs.  After you reserve online, pick up your rental tube at Pagosa Mountain Sports and make the short walk to the river put-in by the Malt Shoppe.  Enjoy a leisurely ¾ mile long float, which takes about an hour.  Take out at the Visitor’s Center and walk ten minutes back to the shop.

See our full list of summer adventures in Pagosa Springs!

pagosa springs

Winter Activities

If you can’t make it to Pagosa Springs in summer, winter is also a fantastic time to visit.  The nearby Wolf Creek Ski Area attracts is known to have the most snow in Colorado, with over 400 inches annually. This vast skiing area is only 23 miles from Pagosa Springs and features 1,600 acres of terrain with incredible hike-to options.  It typically opens for skiing in early November and stays open through early April. These snow-clad mountains of Colorado have much more to offer than just skiing – you can also enjoy other winter activities like dog sledding, fat biking, snowshoeing, sleigh rides, ice fishing, tubing, sledding and more!

pagosa hot springs

Thermal Hot Springs

After all of the outdoor fun, don’t forget to check out the legendary hot springs.  Splurge on The Springs Resort and Spa’s 23 pools of varying temperatures, or head to Healing Waters Resort for a budget-friendly alternative!

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