Experience the Best of Winter in Pagosa Springs, Colorado

pagosa springs colorado winter

Pagosa Springs, Colorado is a picturesque town located in the Southwest region of the state. Known for its natural hot springs and stunning mountain views, Pagosa Springs is a popular destination for tourists all year round. However, during the winter months, the town transforms into a winter wonderland, offering a plethora of activities for visitors to enjoy.

From skiing and snowboarding at Wolf Creek Ski Resort to snowshoeing and ice skating in town, there is no shortage of winter activities in Pagosa Springs. The town is surrounded by the San Juan Mountains and San Juan National Forest, providing ample opportunities for outdoor adventures.

Even if you’re not a fan of winter sports, you can still enjoy the scenic beauty and cozy atmosphere of the town during the winter months. So, whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or just looking for a relaxing winter getaway, Pagosa Springs has something for everyone.

Winter Activities

Pagosa Springs is a winter wonderland that offers a variety of activities for adventure seekers, families, and those who want to relax and unwind. Here are some of the top winter activities to enjoy in Pagosa Springs.

Skiing and Snowboarding

Wolf Creek Ski Area, located just a short drive from Pagosa Springs, boasts the most snow in Colorado and is known for its powder and stunning views. With over 1,600 skiable acres, Wolf Creek offers terrain for all skill levels. The ski area also offers ski and snowboard lessons, rentals, and a terrain park.

Sledding and Tubing

Coyote Hill Nordic Loops and Reservoir Hill Nordic are great places for sledding and tubing. Coyote Hill offers a groomed hill with sleds available for rent, while Reservoir Hill has a designated tubing hill with tubes available for rent. Both locations offer stunning views of the San Juan Mountains.

Snowmobiling

Explore the backcountry of Pagosa Springs on a snowmobile. Wolf Creek Snowmobile Tours offers guided tours for all levels of experience. They provide all necessary gear and offer tours through the San Juan National Forest.

Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing

Pagosa Nordic Club maintains over 50 kilometers of groomed trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. The trails offer stunning views of the San Juan Mountains and the San Juan River. The club also offers rentals and lessons for those new to the sport.

Ice Fishing

Echo Reservoir and the ponds behind the River Center are popular spots for ice fishing. A fishing license is required, and it is important to follow Leave No Trace principles when fishing.

Dog Sledding

Experience the thrill of dog sledding with San Juan Sled Dogs. The third-generation outfitters offer tours through the San Juan Mountains with well-trained and friendly dogs. They also offer lessons for those who want to learn to mush.

Pagosa Springs is a winter wonderland with plenty of activities to enjoy. Whether you want to ski, snowboard, sled, or relax in the hot springs, there is something for everyone.

Hot Springs

Pagosa Springs is well-known for its hot springs, which are a must-visit attraction in the winter. The town boasts a variety of hot springs that offer a unique and relaxing experience. Here are some of the best hot springs to visit in Pagosa Springs:

The Springs Resort & Spa

The Springs Resort & Spa is one of the most popular hot springs in Pagosa Springs. It features 23 different pools, each with a different temperature, ranging from 83 to 114 degrees Fahrenheit. The pools are filled with geothermal water that is rich in minerals, making it therapeutic for the skin and muscles.

The “Mother Spring” at The Springs Resort & Spa is the deepest geothermal hot spring in the world, and it supplies the water to all of the pools.

Overlook Mineral Springs Spa

Overlook Mineral Springs Spa offers a unique and intimate hot springs experience with its rooftop tubs overlooking Pagosa Springs. The spa features five rooftop tubs, each with a different temperature, ranging from 103 to 109 degrees Fahrenheit. The water is sourced from the same geothermal aquifer as The Springs Resort & Spa, making it just as therapeutic for the skin and muscles.

Pagosa Hot Springs

Pagosa Hot Springs is a natural hot springs that is located in the heart of downtown Pagosa Springs. It features three different pools, each with a different temperature, ranging from 98 to 107 degrees Fahrenheit. The pools are filled with natural geothermal water that is rich in minerals, making it therapeutic for the skin and muscles. Pagosa Hot Springs is also the world’s deepest geothermal hot spring, reaching a depth of over 1,000 feet.

Other Hot Springs

In addition to the above hot springs, there are several other hot springs in Pagosa Springs worth visiting, including:

  • Overland Hot Springs Spa
  • Healing Waters Resort & Spa
  • Canyon Crest Lodge & Hot Springs

All of these hot springs offer a unique and relaxing experience, and they are all worth visiting during your winter trip to Pagosa Springs.

Outdoor Activities

Pagosa Springs, Colorado is an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts, especially during winter. The town is surrounded by the San Juan Mountains, offering a wide range of activities such as fishing, hiking, camping, rafting, kayaking, sightseeing, and wildlife watching.

Fishing

The San Juan River, which runs through Pagosa Springs, is one of the best places for trout fishing in the state. The river is home to rainbow, brown, and cutthroat trout, making it a popular destination for anglers. The river is accessible year-round, and there are several local outfitters who offer guided trips and equipment rental.

Hiking and Camping

The San Juan Mountains offer some of the best hiking and camping opportunities in Colorado. The Weminuche Wilderness, which is the largest wilderness area in the state, is located just a short drive from Pagosa Springs. The area offers a wide range of trails for hikers of all skill levels, from easy day hikes to multi-day backpacking trips. There are also several campgrounds in the area, offering a variety of camping options.

Rafting and Kayaking

The San Juan River offers some of the best rafting and kayaking opportunities in Colorado. The river has several sections, ranging from easy Class I to challenging Class IV rapids. There are several local outfitters who offer guided trips and equipment rental.

Sightseeing and Wildlife Watching

Pagosa Springs is surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery in Colorado. The San Juan Mountains offer breathtaking views of rugged peaks, alpine lakes, and pristine forests. The area is also home to a wide range of wildlife, including elk, deer, bighorn sheep, and black bears. There are several scenic drives in the area, as well as several wildlife viewing areas.

In conclusion, Pagosa Springs, Colorado is a winter wonderland for outdoor enthusiasts. With its stunning scenery, world-class fishing, hiking, camping, rafting, kayaking, sightseeing, and wildlife watching opportunities, it’s no wonder why it’s such a popular destination for adventure seekers.

Breweries and Dining

Local Craft Breweries

Pagosa Springs is home to several local craft breweries that offer a variety of delicious beers. The Riff Raff Brewing Company located at 274 Pagosa Street, is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. The brewery has a cozy atmosphere and serves a wide range of beer options, including their signature El Duende Verde, a green chili beer that is a must-try. Another favorite is the Pagosa Brewing & Grill, located on North Pagosa Blvd off of Hwy 160. Their award-winning beers and delicious food make it a great place to hang out with friends and family.

If you are looking for a unique experience, visit the Three Barrel Brewing Company, located at 475 Lewis Street. The brewery offers a small selection of beers, but each one is crafted to perfection. You can enjoy your beer while playing a game of cornhole or sitting by the fire pit. The Square Peg Brewerks is another great option, located at 625 San Juan Street. They have a rotating selection of beers, so there is always something new to try.

Dining Options

Pagosa Springs has a variety of dining options to suit every taste and budget. For a casual dining experience, head to Rosie’s Pizzeria, located at 100 Country Center Drive. They offer delicious pizza, sandwiches, and salads. The Western Slope Break Room Bar & Grill, located at 110 Country Center Drive, is another great option for pub-style food and drinks.

If you are looking for a more upscale dining experience, visit The Alley House Grille, located at 214 Pagosa Street. The restaurant offers a fine dining experience with a menu that features locally sourced ingredients. For a taste of authentic Mexican cuisine, head to Kip’s Grill, located at 121 Pagosa Street. They offer delicious tacos, burritos, and other traditional Mexican dishes.

No matter where you choose to dine, make sure to try some of the local specialties. Pagosa Springs is known for its green chili, so be sure to try it in a variety of dishes. Also, many restaurants offer locally sourced meats, so try some of the bison or elk dishes for a true taste of Colorado.

Shopping and Galleries

Pagosa Springs is home to a variety of locally owned shops and galleries that offer unique and one-of-a-kind items. Whether you’re looking for souvenirs, gifts, or something for yourself, you’ll find it here.

One of the most popular shopping destinations in Pagosa Springs is the downtown area, where you can stroll through the streets and peruse the many shops and boutiques. Here are some of the best places to shop:

  • The Choke Cherry Tree: This store offers a wide selection of gourmet foods, gifts, and souvenirs. You’ll find everything from homemade fudge to locally made pottery.
  • Handcrafted Interiors: This store specializes in handmade furniture, home decor, and accessories. You’ll find unique and beautiful pieces that will add a touch of elegance to any room.
  • Wilderness Journeys Pagosa: This store offers outdoor gear, clothing, and accessories for all your outdoor adventures. You’ll find everything you need for hiking, camping, and more.

In addition to shopping, Pagosa Springs is also home to several galleries that showcase the work of local artists. Here are some of the best galleries to visit:

  • Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts: This gallery features the work of local artists, as well as national and international artists. You’ll find paintings, sculptures, and other types of artwork.
  • Wild Spirit Gallery: This gallery specializes in Western and wildlife art. You’ll find paintings, sculptures, and other types of artwork that showcase the beauty of the natural world.
  • The Springs Resort & Spa Gallery: This gallery features the work of local artists, as well as the work of artists from around the world. You’ll find a variety of different types of artwork, from paintings to sculptures.

Whether you’re looking for unique gifts or beautiful artwork, Pagosa Springs has something for everyone.

Events and Entertainment

Pagosa Springs offers a variety of events and entertainment options during the winter season. From live music to historic trains, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Theatre and Music

The Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts is a popular destination for theatre and music lovers. The center features a variety of performances throughout the winter season, including plays, musicals, and concerts. Visitors can check the center’s website for upcoming shows and ticket information.

Museums and Historic Trains

The San Juan Historical Museum is a great place to learn about the history of Pagosa Springs and the surrounding area. The museum features exhibits on local Native American tribes, early settlers, and the town’s mining history. Visitors can also take a ride on the historic Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, which offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

Annual Events

Pagosa Springs is home to several annual events that take place during the winter season. The Pagosa Springs Winterfest is a popular event that features ice carving, live music, and a chili cook-off. The event takes place in mid-February and is a great way to experience the town’s winter culture.

Another popular event is the Pagosa Paddle, which takes place in May and features a variety of whitewater racing events on the San Juan River. Visitors can watch raft, kayak, and SUP teams compete in events like sprint, H2H, and slalom.

Overall, Pagosa Springs offers a variety of events and entertainment options during the winter season. From live music to historic trains, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Places to Stay

When visiting Pagosa Springs in the winter, finding the right place to stay is crucial. Fortunately, there are plenty of options available to suit different preferences and budgets.

Hotels and Resorts

For those who prefer the convenience and amenities of a hotel or resort, Pagosa Springs has several options to choose from. The Springs Resort and Spa is a popular choice, offering luxury accommodations and access to the world-famous hot springs. Other options include the Wyndham Pagosa, which features a golf course and indoor pool, and the Quality Inn, which offers comfortable rooms at an affordable price.

Cabins and Vacation Rentals

For a more rustic experience, cabins and vacation rentals are a great option. High Country Lodge & Cabins offers cozy cabins with fireplaces and kitchens, perfect for families or small groups. Airbnb also has several options for vacation rentals, ranging from small apartments to large homes that can accommodate family reunions or groups of friends.

Camping and RV Parks

For those who enjoy the great outdoors, Pagosa Springs has several camping and RV parks to choose from. The Pagosa Springs RV Park offers full hookups and easy access to the town’s amenities, while the San Juan National Forest has several campgrounds with stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

No matter what type of lodging you prefer, Pagosa Springs has something to offer. From luxurious resorts to cozy cabins, there are plenty of options available to make your winter vacation comfortable and enjoyable.

Maps and Resources

When planning a trip to Pagosa Springs during the winter, it is important to have access to accurate and up-to-date information about the area’s roads, attractions, and activities. Here are some helpful resources to make your trip planning easier:

Visit Pagosa Springs App

The Visit Pagosa Springs App is a great tool for visitors to the area. Available for free on both iOS and Android devices, the app provides a wealth of information about local businesses, events, and attractions. It also includes an interactive map, which can be especially helpful when navigating the area’s many scenic routes and trails.

Pagosa Springs Brochures

For a more traditional approach, visitors can also access a variety of brochures covering a wide range of activities and businesses in Pagosa Springs. These brochures are available for free download on the Visit Pagosa Springs website and cover everything from local hot springs and ski resorts to restaurants and shopping destinations.

In addition to these resources, it’s also a good idea to check local weather and road conditions before setting out on any winter adventures. As temperatures can drop quickly and unexpectedly, it’s important to pack warm clothing and gear, and to be prepared for changing weather conditions.

Overall, with the right resources and a bit of planning, visitors to Pagosa Springs can enjoy a safe and memorable winter vacation in this beautiful Colorado community.

Weather and Safety

Weather Conditions

Pagosa Springs, Colorado, experiences cold and snowy winters, with temperatures ranging from 33.3°F (0.7°C) to 44.3°F (6.8°C). Winter is the wettest season, with 30% of yearly precipitation occurring during this time. Visitors should be prepared for snow and icy conditions when traveling to Pagosa Springs during the winter months.

It is important to check the weather forecast before embarking on any outdoor activities during the winter in Pagosa Springs. Visitors should dress warmly and in layers, wear appropriate footwear, and carry extra water and snacks in case of emergencies.

River Usage and Safety

The San Juan River runs through Pagosa Springs and is a popular destination for water-based activities such as kayaking and fishing. However, visitors should exercise caution when using the river during the winter months. The water can be extremely cold, and the current can be swift and dangerous.

Visitors should also be aware of ice dams that can form on the river during the winter. These dams can cause the water to rise quickly and create hazardous conditions.

Leave No Trace Principles

Visitors to Pagosa Springs should follow Leave No Trace principles to help preserve the natural beauty of the area. This includes packing out all trash and leaving no trace of your visit.

In addition, visitors should be aware of the impact their activities can have on the environment. For example, driving off-road can damage vegetation and disturb wildlife habitats. Visitors should stay on designated trails and avoid disturbing the natural landscape.

Overall, visitors to Pagosa Springs during the winter should be prepared for cold and snowy conditions, exercise caution when using the river, and follow Leave No Trace principles to help preserve the natural beauty of the area.