Nestled in the middle of the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, lies a pocket of steaming, mineral filled, paradise--known as Pagosa Hot Springs. Home to the world’s deepest geothermal hot spring, this place should be added to your bucket list immediately. There are 24 pools to soak in and reap the many health benefits from, whether you need some serious muscle recovery from a day on the slopes or you’re soaking in the Colorado sun while detoxing your skin. It’s a true pocket of paradise that’s open year round and you won’t want to leave.
The hot springs are open to the public with the option of purchasing a day pass or for the more avid soaker, a long-term pass is an available option. However, we were fortunate enough to not need a day pass because we spent a few days at the Springs Resort and Spa. Hands down, the best part about staying there is that you are granted unlimited access to the pools and you can go at ANYTIME of day. Yes, you can soak away at 2AM if your heart desires. I will go over our experience in more detail in a moment.
HOW TO GET THERE
323 Hot Springs Blvd
Pagosa Springs, CO 81147
It’s just about as far South as you can get in the state of Colorado, with a 5-6 hour drive from Denver, depending on the route you choose. The drive is absolutely stunning so plan for lots of photo stops along the way. We were on a mini road trip when we went, so instead of driving from our place in Denver, we were actually coming from Gunnison, CO. It took us around 3 hours and the drive was incredible! (As is mostly anywhere in Colorado).
*Side note* If you're there in the busy season (summer/fall) I highly, highly recommend spending an extra few days down there and checking out the Durango and Silverton area. The drive is absolutely stunning.
ABOUT THE POOLS
The “Mother Spring” is a record breaking hot spring, measuring 26-33 feet in diameter and at least 1,000 feet deep. It could be deeper but that’s as far as the experts were able to measure with their measuring plumb line. Unfortunately, the Mother Spring is too hot to soak in but it feeds into the other 24 soaking pools on the property, each having a different temperature. The geothermal pools also contain 13 different types of minerals, all providing many health benefits. How cool is that?!
The mother spring also heats the entire building as well as the courthouse, local school, and the restaurants across the river. It's such an eco-friendly aspect which I absolutely love!
The water temperatures range from 83-114 degrees F. Personally, I thought the 100-102 range was perfect and believe it or not... that’s erring on the “cooler” side! It also surprised me how much of a difference 1 or 2 degrees makes.
Near the entrance there is this map of all of the pools and the different temperatures (as pictured above). The temperatures are measured multiple times a day and updated. It's quite convenient when you're trying to pick a place to soak!
Our first day we hopped from pool to pool, trying to find our favorite ones! The deciding factor on which ones we went to depended on how many people were in each one. We made a beeline for any that were empty! There are many things that I enjoyed about the property but one of the coolest things in my opinion is that, even though it's an established hot spring resort, there is still a "natural" vibe to the place. Some of the pools are even in the river! Little pockets of heat surrounded by rocks in order to keep the hot water in.
One of my favorite things about these pools is that there aren't any chemicals. The water is constantly flowing in and out of the pools, so there's fresh, clean water every hour or so. My skin can get irritated easily, so not needing to be submerged in chlorine is incredible!
Press the arrow above for more images
In the middle of the pools, there is this super picturesque bridge that is partially submerged in the water. It leads over to a pool called the "Cliffs". It was also fun to walk on the bridge and get into the only pool on the other side of it. It was definitely the most private one in the general admission area.
One of the pools is called "The Plunge" and it's so so SO cold! There is something called "Contrast Bathing", which is essentially when you warm up in one of the hot pools and then jump into the fifty-something degree pool in the river. It's supposed to be exceptionally good for your health and blood circulation. Ideally, you repeat the process three times!
I was pretty shocked that I had it in me to jump in the ice cold water but I'm so happy that I did! It's a fun story to tell and an even better memory. Do it! (If you want.)
The Springs Resort and Spa is definitely the most upscale hotel in town, with their basic room starting around $300/night. I will say, if you can afford it... staying here is a no brainer. You’re paying for wonderful lodging + the ultimate convenience, which is worth something, at least in my opinion. It's great because the place is so versatile. Whether you're having a family vacation, romantic getaway or honeymoon, or a spa weekend with the girls, it's the perfect place and has something for everyone.
We stayed in the “Luxury King Suite” and the rate at this time of year (February 2021) is around $430 USD/night before taxes and fees. The “luxury” level of rooms are in the main building and are, well, luxurious. There is a bedroom and a whole living area with a kitchen, couch, desk, and TV.
Things that are included with this room are:
24-hour access to the pools
Adult only relaxation terrace
Soaking before check in
Soaking after you check out until 6PM
$100 Value per day.
It’s kind of fun because the hotel guests get these mint colored robes and they seem so exclusive when you’re walking around in them. Day pass guests I believe can rent a robe for the day but theirs are an Ivory color. Another thing that’s a complete game changer is that you’re able to swap out your wet robes for dry ones whenever you’d like! It's the little things in life, am I right?
Enjoying my robe!
The hotel guests are given a green wristband at check-in with a code for the VIP area. The vibe seems to be a lot more mellow in this section since people are spending a good chunk of money for a relaxing experience. It's 18+ so you have a safe haven to escape to from those pesky kids squirting you with a squirt gun. There is also a super cute fire pit that you can warm up and dry off at. It's particularly nice in the evenings!
General Admission: General admission provides one-day access to all mineral hot-spring pools except the five exclusive adult-only pools on the Relaxation Terrace. (source; Pagosa Hot Springs).
Long Term Passes: General Admission long-term passes include complimentary towels for all and a locker for adults. Relaxation Terrace long-term passes are adult-only, offering a quieter retreat for adult guests ages 18+. Robes are not included in long-term Relaxation Terrace passes. (source; Pagosa Hot Springs).
There are also weekly, monthly, and annual membership packages available if you see yourself attending the hot springs often! It definitely would pay for itself in no-time. There are also prices that are catered to the locals of Pagosa Springs. To join, click here!
*Because of COVID-19, there is a limited capacity. Unless you buy a reserved pass or are a guest of the hotel, there is a chance there may be a wait. It's advised to arrive before 10:00 AM if you want to soak that day.*
There is a Cafe on the property which I believe is for hotel guests only. You’re given a $4/day credit for coffee and whatnot. They also have ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS breakfast croissants!!! I got one every day we were there. Highly, highly recommend! The croissant just melts in your mouth. Darn, I wish I had one right now.
There is also a poolside Grill which serves the usual pool food (chicken tenders, quesadillas, tacos, fries, etc.) and also a bunch of fun cocktails for my fellow day drinkers. I personally preferred the cafe food though.
Food and Drink Prices:
The food was around $8-12/per dish and a cocktail was in the $14 range for the fancy ones. A beer ran around $7. I’d say those are all pretty standard prices in a place such as this. There are also waiters and waitresses that come around inside the VIP section, which is super convenient if you don’t want to lose your perfect soaking spot.
The resort has free parking, which is amazing for the guests. There is also a security guard on the grounds for some added comfort. We parked and then entered the beautiful building that almost had a castle vibe to it.
Upon entry, we were greeted by the sweetest staff at the front desk. They were warm, welcoming, and gave us some history about the hot springs.
The interior was absolutely stunning, having a Craftsman style design to it. The most beautiful woodwork was placed thoughtfully throughout and it had beautiful tufted furniture. The vibe wasn't the typical modern look you see these days but the traditionalism of the design really added to the experience. It makes you feel like you're somewhere special.
We arrived early in the day, so the room wasn’t quite ready yet. It wasn’t a problem though because we were given two robes, wristbands, and were ready to soak in the pools in the meantime. They also securely stored our bags for us.
*Side note* If you realize you forgot your sunscreen or accidentally left your bikini bottoms at home... there's a little retail section inside the building where the general public enters from!
Finally after we checked everything out, we got a phone call a few hours later saying that our room was ready! We were so eager to see the King Suite! We hurried up as fast as we could and found a cute little welcome gift waiting for us. How cute!
The room was spacious, beautiful, and had everything we needed.
The room was incredible but we spent the majority of our time down at the pools. We did use the kitchenette often since we were on a road trip before this and had a cooler full of groceries.
We spent a little bit of time walking around and familiarizing ourselves with the pools and which ones we liked. There were so many! Some are bigger than others and some I preferred over others but we tried each and every one of them. Because why not?
I had two favorites that I kept flocking back to.
The first one that I really liked was called the "Sunset Social Club".
I like this one particularly because it had an infinity pool vibe that overlooked the whole property. It was always the perfect temperature, never being too hot or too cold (for me). The Sunset Social Club is also a bigger sized pool so it never seemed to get too crowded or awkward if other people were in it. It is also where the Aqua Yoga takes place! I participated one morning at 8:00 AM and it was my first time doing Aqua Yoga.
Aqua Yoga at the Sunset Social Club Pool
My second favorite pool was in the VIP terrace, which is on the complete opposite side of the property. It's called the"Top 'O the Mountain". It too, overlooks the San Juan River but from the other side and it just stunning. There are little straw umbrellas around and it’s just magical. It’s fun because if you get too warm, you can prop yourself out of the water and sit on the ledge, which has the warm water flowing over it. It’s a nice mix of the crisp winter air and the warmth of the hot springs.
Sunrise at the Top 'O the Mountain Pool
I highly recommend waking up for sunrise, even if that sounds horrible to you! The pools have a tremendous amount of steam and the air is so brisk with the most magical golden light shining through. There weren't many people awake either, which makes it that much better.
Tap through the photos above to see a handful of the pools!
Honestly, all of the pools are wonderful and you should go check them all out! You'll find your perfect temperature of choice pretty quickly as well. There were some that I couldn't bear to enter because it felt like my skin was literally going to boil off because it was so hot. BUT, to each their own! There are definitely some experienced local soakers there that think the hotter the better!
Other than soaking away and getting the much needed R&R you were in a dire need for, there are some other activities that are offered in and around the area, depending on the time of year you're visiting.
Some other activities that you can book are:
Spring and summer events such a live music and events
Horse drawn carriage rides
...and numerous other things in the Pagosa Springs area!
The bridge that goes over the San Juan River provided extremely convenient access to downtown Pagosa Springs. Within minutes you can walk and be eating at a restaurant in town.
All in all, Pagosa Hot Springs is somewhere I've wanted to go for a long time. I've driven through many times over the years but have never stopped by. This will absolutely be a place I'll be returning to again and again. I hope some of the recommendations will be useful to you and urge you to make the trip. As I said before, it's a place to go with the family, your friends, or even a romantic getaway. I can't stress enough to book a room at the resort! You won't regret it!
Thanks for reading and let me know about your experience!
K & B