When most people think of fun things to do in Pagosa Springs, they immediately think of soaking in the town’s legendary hot springs. And honestly, if you spend a weekend simply sitting in a hot spring, you’d leave a happy person!
However, as a Colorado local, I know of lots of other things to do in Pagosa Springs as well! Pagosa Springs has a great downtown area, there are year-round outdoor activities in the San Juan Mountains, and much more. I’ll show you a variety of things to do in Pagosa Springs to make your trip there memorable!
17 Best Things to Do in Pagosa Springs
The Springs Resort & Spa
Soak in one of Pagosa Springs’ many hot springs areas
It’s true, soaking in the springs is one of the top things to do in Pagosa Springs! The Springs Resort & Spa is a luxury resort, and you can stay on the premises, or purchase a day pass to enjoy the springs. Healing Waters Resort & Spa also has overnight accommodations, and Overlook Hot Springs has rooftop tubs. There are even more hot spring spots nearby!
If you’re looking for where to stay in Pagosa Springs, this is a great spot!
Downtown Pagosa Springs
Shop and grab a bit in historic downtown Pagosa Springs
Historic downtown Pagosa Springs has several boutiques to browse clothing, souvenirs, and more. You’ll even find some antique stores and art galleries if you’re doing more upscale shopping. There are restaurants as well, and breweries where you can stop in for a beer.
Take the whole family on a quick hike to impressive falls
If you don’t make it to Treasure Falls while you’re staying in Pagosa Springs, it makes a nice stop on the drive back to Denver. You can see the falls right from the parking lot, but it’s a ¼-mile hike to get to the base (which is a great spot for a family picture!). Piedra Falls and Silver Falls are also short hikes for a family.
Go whitewater rafting on the San Juan River
Whitewater rafting is an outdoor adventure everyone will remember for a long time after your trip is over! Pagosa Outside has a variety of trips, including a short option for someone who’s not too sure what they’re getting into. It’s just a few minutes from the shop to the water, so you won’t waste much travel time, either.
Wolf Creek Pass
Drive this winding, sometimes treacherous road to the Continental Divide
Wolf Creek Pass takes you to Treasure Falls, and if you continue the climb you’ll end up at the top of the Continental Divide. There are amazing views of the San Juan mountain range from the top, and this scenic drive is a great option if you’re not up for any more strenuous activity.
Williams Creek Reservoir
Go salmon and trout fishing in this mountain reservoir
The Williams Creek Reservoir is about an hour from Pagosa Springs, and you can fish and kayak on the reservoir. This isn’t far from Piedra Falls, so you could combine a stop here with a quick hike to the falls. There are also other hiking trails nearby, and some ATV trails near the reservoir.
Chimney Rock National Monument
See evidence of ancient people
Chimney Rock is between Pagosa Springs and Durango and is open every day during the summer. You’ll see evidence of one of the largest Pueblo II communities in the area, and you can see the structures they built and look at the land where they lived. You can view archeological sites with excavated pithouses, and see a reconstructed Great Kiva.
👉 Pro Tip: Dogs aren’t allowed on the trails, but there are complimentary kennels for them if you ask at the Visitor Center.
Hot Air Balloon Ride
Float over the serene San Juan Basin
A hot air balloon ride makes a trip to Pagosa Springs magical! Rocky Mountain Balloon Adventures has guests help inflate their balloon. While in the air, the guide tells the history of ballooning in Pagosa.
They may even attempt a “splash-n-dash” while flying just inches over local lakes. If you get yourself up for the sunrise meeting time, you’ll make plenty of memories and have some great photo ops!
Rocky Mountain Wildlife Park
See native Colorado wildlife at this private zoo
The animals at the Rocky Mountain Wildlife Park are all unable to live in the wild. Some are former pets, or are from other zoos, or simply needed a safe environment where they’re cared for. Visitors can wander the area, or take the daily feeding tour to learn more about the animals. There are also trail rides on horseback during the summer.
Durango And Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
Take a steam train through craggy canyons alongside a raging river
Riding the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is a unique experience and one of the best train tours in Colorado! You can board either a steam or diesel train, then make the trip from Durango to the mountain town of Silverton.
The train follows the Animas River through a rocky canyon, and once in Silverton, you’ll find plenty of fun things to do in Silverton. After a few hours, the train heads back into Durango, which is also one of the best places to visit in Colorado.
Pagosa Springs History Museum
Learn about Pagosa’s storied history
This museum, which is also called the San Juan Historical Museum, features displays from the 1890s and early 1900s that depict life in the Pagosa Springs region. You’ll find a dentist’s office, a barber shop, a school, and a general store along with other exhibits from the early years of the town.
Mesa Verde National Park
See cliff dwellings built by Ancestral Pueblo people
Mesa Verde National Park is less than two hours from Pagosa Springs, and the drive is one of the best road trips in Colorado. You can get up close to the cliff dwellings built around 1190 AD, along with even older structural remains. Take a cliff dwelling tour and drive the Cliff Palace Loop Road for an overview of the park.
Piedra River Trail
Watch for wildlife and wildflowers along this lengthy trail
The Piedra River Trail is an 11-mile one-way trek, and you may want to consider leaving a vehicle at each end. You could also plan to just hike part of the trail and turn back. Along the hike, you’ll find wildflowers, animals, and lots of birdwatching opportunities. You’ll also find some wonderful mountain solitude in the middle part of the hike.
Wolf Creek Ski Area
Ski or board some great powder at Colorado’s snowiest ski resort
Wolf Creek Ski Resort in the San Juan Mountains prides itself on having “the most snow in Colorado.” It’s a great resort for families, with reasonable lift ticket prices and short lines. But all that snow also makes it a good choice for powder hounds. Thanks to all that snow, it’s also usually one of the first Colorado ski resorts to open each season.
Race with four-legged friends across a frozen land
You can lead a team of Alaskan huskies through the winter forest on a dogsled tour. You’ll see beautiful frozen scenery, and pet some really cute, fluffy dogs on your trip. You’ll also learn about the dogs, see the equipment they use, and get a better understanding of what they do. In summer, you can take a dog cart tour instead.
Yamaguchi Nordic Track
Cross-country ski on several trails
Pagosa Springs has several trails around town for cross-country skiing. Try the trails at Yamaguchi Park, Reservoir Hill Park, or Williams Creek Reservoir for a workout that gets your blood flowing! The Wolf Creek Ski resort also has cross-country trails. There are several places in town that rent cross-country skis so you can get out there and glide.
Riff Raff Brewing Company
Try a beer at a brewery powered by spring-fed geothermal heating
Riff Raff Brewing has two locations. The downtown spot is in an 1898 Victorian house that just oozes charm. Along with craft beer, they serve up a variety of nachos, appetizers, and burgers and there’s a kids’ menu as well.
FAQs on What to Do in Pagosa Springs
Is Pagosa Springs worth visiting?
Pagosa Springs is worth visiting. Visitors can soak in a variety of hot springs, including the Mother Spring, the world’s deepest geothermal hot spring. Pagosa Springs visitors can also whitewater raft, hike, mountain bike, fish, and go horseback riding nearby.
Are there free hot springs in Pagosa Springs?
There are free hot springs in Pagosa Springs. You can hike five miles to the Rainbow Hot Springs along the San Juan River. The Piedra River Hot Springs are an hour west of Pagosa Springs, at the end of a 1 ½ mile hike. In town, you can also soak in the Hippie Dip, a spot under Hot Springs Blvd.
What does Pagosa Springs have to offer?
Pagosa Springs offers several hot springs where visitors can soak year-round. The area also has scenic drives like Wolf Creek Pass. There are plenty of hiking trails in the San Juan National Forest as well. The San Juan River is great for rafting, fishing, and other water sports. In winter, you can cross-country ski, take a dogsled tour, or downhill ski nearby.
What is near Pagosa Springs?
Pagosa Springs is near Durango and Mesa Verde National Park. Both are less than two hours away. Visitors can take a day trip to ride the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Train, or visit the cliff dwellings built by Ancestral Pueblo people. Wolf Creek Ski Area is just a half-hour drive from Pagosa as well.
Hopefully, this guide has given you plenty of ideas for fun and unique things to do in Pagosa Springs! Although the hot springs are an obvious choice, there are lots of other great outdoor activities in town and in the nearby forest. If you’re looking for more ideas as you travel through the state, be sure to check out my list of 33 Fun Things to Do in Colorado!
(Featured Image Credit: Jim Lambert / Shutterstock)
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