Get to Know the Town of
Pagosa Springs, Colorado
Here's a little about what makes Pagosa Springs so unique.
Get to Know our Geography
The town of Pagosa Springs sits at 7126 feet above sea level (2172 meters) in the San Juan Mountains. Most activities go up from there. At this elevation it is vital to remember plenty of water and sunscreen when you are adventuring outside - regardless of the weather or season.
In addition to being a high altitude location, Pagosa Springs is in the Colorado Sunbelt, just 35 miles north of the New Mexico border. What that means is Pagosa Springs has mild annual temperatures with summertime highs averaging near 80 degrees Fahrenheit (26 degrees Celsius), wintertime highs near 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) and plenty of sunshine, year-round.
A Quick History of Pagosa Springs
The Native Americans discovered the waters of this natural hot mineral spring generations before others found it. The Mother Spring was actually discovered by the Southern Ute Indian Tribe. Called the “mountain people,” the Ute people are the original inhabitants of Colorado. The area is rich in beauty and natural resources. Describing the appearance of the bubbling spring, the ancient Utes called it Paqhosa. Modern usage and advertising has changed the orthography to “Pagosa” and the meaning to “healing waters.”
The medicinal effects of the waters were studied and confirmed by U.S. Army physicians in the 1860s, concluding, “The waters of Pagosa are without doubt the most wonderful and beneficial in medicinal effects that have ever been discovered.” The Mother Spring feeds all of the geothermal pools and waterworks in Pagosa Springs and is certified by Guinness World Records as the World's Deepest Geothermal Hot Spring Aquifer at a depth of over 1002 feet (305 meters).
Ancient Cultures Called the Area Home
Just west of Pagosa Springs off of US Highway 160 and Colorado Highway 151 lies Chimney Rock National Monument. Chimney Rock National Monument is believed to be one of the most sacred sites of the Ancestral Puebloans of the Chaco Canyon. A visit to Chimney Rock is a step back in time to a way of life long gone.
A bit further west is another Ancestral Puebloan home in Mesa Verde National Park, home to some of the most famous cliff dwellings in the United States. Many ancient peoples left their mark on the region, and their culture continues to inspire today.
Pagosa Springs through the Years
The mountainous terrain of the Four Corners region of Southwest Colorado not only attracted a myriad of ancient peoples, but it also attracted Spanish explorers and fortune seekers throughout the centuries. Each of these cultures left behind historical remnants to educate, explore, and entertain visitors to Pagosa Springs.
With such a rich cultural history, Pagosa Springs is a gateway to the past as much as it is a gateway to adventure and it begs to be explored.