For the past two years, my husband and I have taken turns choosing a weekend getaway for our birthday. Last year we went to Steamboat Springs, CO for my birthday and this year he requested that we go to Pagosa Springs, CO (notice a theme developing). We spent a total of three days and two overnights in Pagosa Springs and I would say it was one of the best trips we have ever been on. Please take a look at our trip tips and photos and feel free to leave questions or comments below!
About Pagosa Springs
Pagosa Springs is home to approximately 1,800 people and boasts the title of the “World’s Deepest Hot Springs.” Pagosa Springs sits about an hour outside of Durango, CO and 5 hours southwest of Denver. The town is alongside the San Juan River, which is great for tubing during the warmer months. There are also many non-commercialized natural hot springs on the river that you can take advantage of, if you don’t mind sitting on the side of the road in a bikini, that is.
We left from Denver on Friday morning and knew that a storm was on its way so instead of taking the scenic US-285 S we stuck with I-25 S and US 160 W to avoid the many mountain passes. Due to the blowing snow, the drive took about 6 hours instead of 5. We were worried about needing chains and driving our Toyota Corolla rather than a 4WD or AWD vehicle but we did just fine. We headed back to Denver on Sunday afternoon and took the scenic US-285 N and it was a beautiful drive with clear skies the whole way.
Pagosa Hot Spring Hotel and Spa
The Springs Resort and Spa is located in downtown Pagosa Springs, right next to the San Juan River. The spa includes hot springs and lodging. You do not have the stay at the resort to have access to the hot springs. Rooms range from $199-$619 a night with the cheapest being a 216 sq ft room with 2 double beds and the most expensive being a spacious 2-bed 2-bath suite. The perk of staying at the resort is 24 hour access to the hot springs, the close proximity to the pools and the complimentary water bottles and adorable robes. Keep in mind that if you do not stay at the resort, you have access to the pools from 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. in the winter and 7:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m. in the summer. The prices range from $26-$53 (adult) and $14-$30 (child) depending on how many amenities you’d like to take advantage of (locker rooms, towels, etc.)
The Springs Resort and Spa has 23 mineral hot springs varying from 83-114 degrees fahrenheit. Each pool offers a unique experience, my husband and I tried the majority of them and found that during the day we preferred 95 degree springs while at night the 102 degree springs were ideal. Our favorite pools were The Cliffs, Serendipity, Sunset Social Club and Top O’ the Morning. The Burg was also a unique experience, being right on the river with your toes in the gravel, but it was a little too hot at 104 degrees. You don’t realize how much a 2 degree difference makes until you go between a couple of pools.
The ideal season and the ideal hour
Keep in mind that my husband and I have only been to Pagosa Springs once, so I am speaking with very limited experience. However, I would say that fall or winter is the ideal time to visit because I often find it unbearable to sit in hot springs during a warm spring or summer day. We visited during the first week in December and there was snow on the ground, it was a brisk 35 degrees during the day and 15 degrees at night. During the day, most of the hot springs were too warm and we found ourselves sitting on the edge with our feet in the pool. At night, almost all of the pools felt perfect and the only difficult part was walking from pool to pool in a swimsuit. We loved being in the pool from 8:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m.; the steam rising off of the pools with the Christmas lights shimmering in the background was quite a sight to see.
The Spa offers a variety of treatments including massages, aromatherapy, facials, tanning and waxing. I found the prices to be very reasonable, with an hour full body massage at $105 whereas most places charge $150 per hour. I did not visit the spa so I cannot attest to the quality of the services.
What to bring
If you are staying at the resort you will be given a towel and a robe as well as a complimentary water bottle and toiletry kit. If you are not staying at the resort, you may pay extra for a towel and robe as well as access to a locker room. Besides the aforementioned items, I recommend bringing flip flops because the ground between pools is rough, cold and sprinkled with pebbles to keep it from getting too slick. Warning: keep an eye on your belongings. My flip flops and robe were stolen within 2 hours of being in the pools, all while I was less than 20 ft away from them.
While we were walking along the river we met a woman who had moved to Pagosa Springs from San Diego a few years back. We asked for a lunch recommendation and she insisted that we go to Kip’s Grill which I knew was a popular choice from my research on Pinterest. My husband ordered some spicy tacos and I ordered the nachos. Everything was beyond delicious! The nachos were humongous; they were so big, in fact, that I had them for lunch and we split the rest for dinner. That’s three meals from one plate of nachos! We also went to Pagosa Springs Brewing Company for dinner one night and The Rose for our final breakfast in town. The food was great at both, but I can’t rant or rave over anything in particular.
On our way out of town, we stopped at Treasure Falls to see the frozen waterfall. You can see the falls from the parking lot or hike about ¼ mile to the bottom of the falls. The hike wasn’t long but I wouldn’t say that it’s easy. That being said, it should be noted that 1. It had just snowed, so the trail was packed with ice and powder 2. I was carrying a large camera and was wasn’t wearing athletic clothes or shoes 3. I’m outdoorsy in the sense that I enjoy drinking wine on patios. The truth is that I’m just not a big fan of hiking, but the view was breathtaking.
I can’t wait to start planning my birthday weekend getaway for fall 2017. I think we may be running out of Colorado towns with the word “springs” in it, but we are open to recommendations.