Pagosa Paradise: A World-Class Hot Springs Destination

Pagosa Springs By Night

Pagosa Springs By Night

At the end of big Western travels that sliced through five Rocky Mountain states in the fall of 2001, I landed in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. And breathed a big sigh of contentment. It was the last stop on a three-week reconnaissance adventure with the goal of finding where to settle in the West. The tour extended from Montana to Wyoming to Utah to Arizona and then up to Colorado. On the heels of 9/11 and in the aftermath of an accumulation of personal upsets, the West beckoned this East Coast gal, yet I had little idea of where to go. I yearned for more sunshine, the great outdoors, the mentality and the lifestyle of the West, and there’s no doubt I was in need of healing. More than I even realized. And I think that’s largely why Pagosa Springs, Colorado resonated so strongly with me.

Less than three months later on January 1, 2002, I lumbered over Wolf Creek Pass at the Continental Divide with my partner at that time in a huge rental truck, nervous and excited about starting a new life in the West. In all, I lived a year and a half in Pagosa before moving to Telluride, Colorado where I’ve been for almost eleven years. Pagosa served as a wonderful introduction to my new life out West:  its sunshine, spectacular scenery and low-key, hometown feel nurtured me immensely and there’s no doubt that Pagosa’s hot springs played a big role in helping me to gain a better sense of wellbeing. Each trip to the hot springs always made me feel renewed and refreshed, cleansed from the garbage that often bogs one down on the road called life.

Soaking at The Springs

Soaking at The Springs

Another Great Spot for Soaking and Viewing

Another Great Spot for Soaking and Viewing

I’ve returned to these hot springs a handful of times since I left and each experience has been better and better. And it was fabulous to begin with! Boasting some of the best hot springs in the world and indisputably the world’s deepest natural hot springs, The Springs Resort & Spa has evolved beautifully within the past decade. People have been coming here for centuries to benefit from the healing qualities of these mineral-rich waters and today there are more pools (23 in all, plus a natural mineral water lap pool) and amenities, including a topnotch spa and an excellent hotel, to enhance your visit. Native Americans first discovered the therapeutic qualities and magical properties of The Great Pagosa Hot Spring, then Hispanic and Anglo settlers made the trek and now avid skiers and travelers revel in stopping and staying here. The site, set alongside the rocky riverbed and rushing waters of the San Juan River, also soothes the soul and calms the spirit while providing delightful vistas day and night. (There are even a couple of pools set directly into the river—the place to be on a hot day.)

This is where you come for hydrotherapy extraordinaire and also fun. Kids and adults alike can find the experience that best suits them by either bobbing in one of the more temperate pools or decompressing in the Lobster Pot which typically measures a steamy 114 degrees F. You’ll find an oasis at every turn, each with its own special feature such as a waterfall, an expansive view or a secluded nook, to name a few. No matter the season, it’s fun padding around from pool to pool to take in a different ambiance and temperature. Plan to spend at least a couple of hours, since there are also many delightful spots to lounge poolside.

The Springs Hotel Behind the Mist from the Original Source

The Springs Hotel Behind the Mist from the Original Source

Grand Accommodations

Grand Accommodations

Sweet Dreams Assured at The Springs Hotel

Sweet Dreams Assured at The Springs Hotel

Steve in Relaxed Mode

Steve in Relaxed Mode

Ideally, it’s best to spend a night or two, so that you can indulge in numerous soaks at varying times of the day. A whole new part of the hotel was added in recent years which greatly enhances the property. The style, reminiscent of the sort of old Victorian hotel where people stayed in resort towns such as Saratoga Springs, New York, while taking the waters, seems appropriate here. And it touched me on a recent stay since coincidentally I had initially moved to Pagosa from Saratoga. It’s funny how things often come full circle.

To fully enhance your stay, reserve a treatment at The Springs Resort Spa. I was treated to the San Juan Essential massage by Steve, my current love, a full body massage promoting wellness of mind, body and spirit by incorporating moist hot packs, eye pillows, quality organic oils, creams and natural pain relieving gel. I felt so spoiled that I was grateful that he treated himself to one, too. We both went back to soak afterward and I swear we felt high for days—still some now—on the whole experience.

Spring Fling at The Springs

Spring Fling at The Springs

When you undergo something so transformative and enjoyable, it stays with you for a long while. I’ve found myself closing my eyes sometimes and reliving—re-sensing—what I felt at The Springs Resort & Spa on this recent trip and so many others from years prior. To top things off, last week I received a postcard from Julie, my massage therapist. She sent me a sweet message filled with heartfelt words. What a nice touch. In all the spa treatments I’ve been fortunate to have, I can’t remember ever receiving such a kind follow up. Life is best lived in the details.

Ahhh, The Spa

Ahhh, The Spa

Yes, there’s something very special about The Springs Resort & Spa in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. No wonder I was drawn there on my journey west. Although it’s no longer in my backyard, thankfully it’s not far from Telluride—a three-and-a-half-hour drive, a manageable distance by Western standards. Ahhh yes, I have to find my way there more often. It’s definitely worth the sense of tranquility and happiness it instills in me. I’m sure you’ll find  it to be a wonderful source of relaxation and recreation, too.

Hot Springs High

Hot Springs High

The Springs Resort & Spa is located in the center of Pagosa Springs.

Read Wonderful Wolf Creek to find out about Colorado’s great little ski area near Pagosa Springs.

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