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Pagosa Springs, Colorado........"the healing waters"
Places to See See details
The SpringsThe Great Pagosa Spring, a geothermal pool known to be one of the largest and hottest in the world, drops in depth below 1,500 feet. The spring is 144 degrees F so it must be mixed with cooler water to be right for soaking.
Across the bridge from U.S. 160 and Hot Springs Boulevard, you will find the Greek and Italian architectured bathhouse with various sized tubs stretching from the entrance down to the San Juan River.
Various tubs range in temperatures from 90 degrees to 110 degrees.
Stay near the Springs
The first public bathhouse was built in 1881 by Thomas Blair. Later, title to the springs and 40 adjacent acres was given to the Pagosa Springs Company which ran the bathhouse from 1888.
The town has a geothermal heating system and many of the downtown buildings are warmed from privately owned geothermal wells.
HistoryThis spot was discovered by a U.S. Government surveyor in 1859 who called the hot springs the most beautiful in the world.
It has been important to other cultures such as the Ute and the Navajo who fought many times over control of the spring. A truce set the boundary between the two nations as the San Juan River.
The last battle was fought sometime after the Civil War. Each side chose one combatant to fight for them. The Utes picked Col. Albert Pfeiffer, an Indian agent, adopted member of the Ute tribe, and friend of Kit Carson. The Utes won and claimed for themselves the Great Pagosa Hot Spring.
A memorial to this battle is found along U.S. 160, four miles west of the town.
Places to Visit
Navajo State Park
One of southwest Colorado's finest recreational waters, Navajo Lake provides boating, water skiing, and fishing experiences. A 20 mile drive down Colo. 151 off U.S. 160 west of Pagosa Springs takes you to the lake by winding though tall ponderosa to the town of Arboles. (Arboles has a boat repair shop, gas station, motel, grocery store, RV parks and restaurants.) To find this turn off, go west out of Pagosa Springs on U.S. 160 for 17 miles. When you see Chimney Rock, go south on Colo. 151.
Along Colo. 151 you can visit the "Watchable Wildlife" observation deck where programs are presented each week at the amphitheater.
You will need a valid Colorado State Parks Pass to enter the park. A daily permit costs $5.00 per vehicle. An overnight camping permit costs an additional $12.00 per site or $16.00 for sites with electric hookups.
The Chimney Rock area marked by two sandstone rock towers visible from the Pagosa Springs area, contains a 4,100 acre archaeological site. The ancient pueblo people inhabited this mesa and the Piedra Valley are about 1,000 years ago and farmed here.
The tours last 2-1/2 hours and take visitors on a mile walk at the 7,600 elevation, partly on a paved, gentle trail and partly on a rougher incline up to the top of the mesa On the tour will see the impressive Great House pueblo.
Cost is $8.00 (over 12 years) and $2.00 for ages 5 to 12.
From Pagosa Springs take U.S. 160 west for 17 miles. Take Colo. 151 south for three miles to the entrance.
Fred Harman Art Museum
Fred Harman was an artist, cartoonist, and cowboy who grew up on his father's homestead. He was the writer of the Red Ryder and Little Beaver comic strips which were widely distributed from 1938 to 1964.
The museum is in his home and displays his paintings and memorabilia collections from his diverse, eventful life. It is found 2 miles west of downtown Pagosa on U.S. 160.
Rocky Mountain Wildlife Park
The park is home to many varieties of wildlife typical of the area such as black bears, mountain lions, wolves, coyote, a grizzly bear, bobcats, elk and deer.
To find the park, start east of Pagosa Springs on U.S. 84 and head southeast for about 3 miles. You will pass Echo Lake and a few miles further you will see the sign.
You can view the animals during the summer months from 8:30 AM to 6:00 PM. The animals are fed each day at 4:00 PM
San Juan Historical Society Museum
Housed in the old waterworks buiding which was constructed from WPA funds in 1938, the museum features keepsakes from the early life in Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County.
You will find items from the town's early fire department, lumber mill, and one-room school house as well as quilts, and a one-horse sleigh.
Special exhibits feature a country school room, a general store, a dentist's office, and ranching displays
There is a gift shop where you can purchase books published by the San Juan Historical Society in a series called "Remembrances", as well as many other items.
You can walk to the museum from downtown Pagosa Springs. It is located on U.S. 160 and 1st Street.
Summer Activities around Pagosa Springs
Hike through the San Juan National Forest on trails covering a variety of terrain and ability levels. All begin at altitudes of above 8,000 feet and some continue to 12,000 feet. Pick up a hiking trail map from the Chamber of Commerce.
Continental Divide Trail North
Ice Cave Ridge Trail
Treasure Mountain Trail
There are locations for all levels of ability.
Here are some favorite spots near town.
Trails in Pagosa Springs
Trails near the town
The Lakes Area trails
The Wolf Creek Ski Area is reputed to have "the most snow in Colorado" with an average of over 38 feet of snowfall in a year. A family oriented ski area, it welcomes skiers and snowboarders to its slopes. Beginners, intermediate, and advanced skiers will find runs to fit their skill. Five chairlifts and a rolling conveyor give skiers access to the slopes.
Wolf Creek Ski Area is located on Wolf Creek Pass along U.S. 160 northeast out of Pagosa Springs.
Reservations New Mexico
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