Pagosa Hot Springs

Pagosa Springs, Colorado – June 2015 This is a lovely little town that was 60 miles out of our way but well worth the detour. They boast “the world’s deepest geothermal hot spring”. I have never been in a hot spring so this seemed like a good time. There are three commercial bathing options, one even had RV spaces, but I decided I didn’t want to bother unless I could go first class. So I splurged on the nicest option and even booked us a room at The Springs Resort and Spa. It was amazing and I highly recommend it if you are in the area or anywhere close. Here is a pic of the resort from across the river.

The Spring’s least expensive room is their classic king (or double) for $199 per night. It is in the oldest of their 3 hotel buildings which is closest to their pools. I was happy to get the last room they had at this price, on a Tuesday night. It was a wonderful room, very nicely remodeled. You don’t have to have a room to visit their pools. You can buy a daily pass for between $25 and $55 dollars. They also offer weekly and monthly passes. I recommend the $35 daily pass at least because it gives you access to the adult only area which is just so much nicer and less crowded. The price of the room includes access to all their pools 24 hours a day. You can also visit the pools the entire day on the days you check in and check out.

The resort has 28 pools spread over a beautifully hardscaped area along the river with tons of rockwork, pathways, bridges, stairs, and waterfalls. They have one large swimming pool and the rest are small to medium pools. They vary in temperature from around 92 to 115 degrees. They have a gentleman running around checking the temps and adding hot or cooled mineral water as needed and occasionally changing the signs on the pool telling you what temperature it is. People move from pool to pool as they desire cooler or warmer water. Many also take an occasional dip in the San Juan River which was 42 degrees during our visit. The water does smell of sulfur and I was afraid that would detract from the experience but we got used to it pretty fast and it wasn’t a problem.

We got there about noon and an extremely helpful lady checked us in and told us she’d call when our room was ready. She directed us to the bath house where we could change. It was a warm sunny day so we tried one hot pool that was 105 degrees and then headed to the large swimming pool that was a comfortable 98 degrees. It was rather crowded, mostly with children, and was as clean as you would expect a crowded public pool to be. I have to admit I wasn’t impressed yet so I suggested we go check out the adult only area they call The Relaxation Terrace. Up a flight of stairs and very close to the hotel rooms is where I fell in love with this place.

They have 5 pools there, fire pits, nicer furniture, and towel warmers heated by the spring water (turned off for the summer, but still neat). Part of this area can be seen in the extreme right of this photo above the waterfall.

This terrace is exclusive to guests of the hotel and those willing to pay for the upgraded day pass. There were never more than a half dozen guests there all afternoon. We went back and forth between a pool named Top O the Morning which was 98 with a waterfall feature, one named Twilight which was 105 and overlooked the above pictured waterfall and the river, and hanging out on the chaise. The room wasn’t guaranteed to be ready until 4 so I was grateful when they called to say it was ready at 2:30, especially when I got to the room and realized I’d gotten a bit more sun than I intended. We rested a while and soaked up the AC then walked across the river for an early dinner before returning to The Relaxation Terrace after the sun was lower and the area was shaded. There may have been a dozen guests there at that time but it never felt crowded.

The next morning we slept late (6:30 WOW). After some coffee n bagels we headed out to soak up some more mineral water before checkout. The pools don’t open to the public until 7 which is about the time we got there. We took a walk through the pools and they were pretty much deserted so we tried a few of them out that had been crowded the day before. We discovered another favorite named Waterfall. It was 105, right next to the river, and had a waterfall that gave an amazing back massage.

When it started getting a bit crowded about 8 we headed back to the terrace for a while and then finally agreed we’d gotten our money’s worth of mineral water and called it a day.

Besides the resort, the town has a lot going for it. There is a great riverwalk that was just about a mile long one way. We walked it the first day we visited town. They have a town park called Reservoir Hill. It has tons of trails crisscrossing it so you could create as long a walk as you want there. We wandered up and around it for a couple of miles before having lunch and checking in to the resort. They also have a cute Main Street across the river from the resort. The town really extends out along the highway for several miles in both directions with plenty of shops and restaurants.

We camped on Highway 160 about 10 miles from downtown at a park called Happy Camper. There were some boondocking possibilities in the area but we felt better leaving the trailer unoccupied overnight in a park. This park was not a bad deal at $34 per night for full hookups but I had been wanting to buy a Passport America (PA) membership and was waiting until I could book a campground using it so I would recoup the cost of the membership immediately. I joined on Saturday and paid my $45 fee. Then I went to the RV park Sunday and paid for 4 nights at half their regular rate. It came to about $19 per night with tax. I estimate I saved $68. I hope to save a lot more with this membership in the future but I’ve already gotten my money’s worth. PA has agreements with some campsites to give their members half off the regular rates. The campsites often put so many restrictions on the arrangement that it is hard to use, like they only honor it on weekdays, or in the off season, or for one or two nights. Surely I will have an opportunity to use it again in the coming year.

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