The following content is created in consultation with Visit Pagosa Springs. It does not reflect the work or opinions of NBC DFW's editorial staff. To learn more about Pagosa Springs, go to visitagosasprings.com.
Colorado is a state blessed with natural wonders. From the mountain peaks to the rivers, the ski slopes to the hiking trails, this is an outdoor enthusiast's ultimate playground.
It’s also well tread territory. With so much to see and do, it’s no wonder that the Rocky Mountains attract their fair share of visitors, as anyone who’s sat in traffic along I-70 on their way to the mountains will tell you. In other words, things might feel a little crowded when you’re just trying to get away from it all.
Unless of course you head to Pagosa Springs. Located just 35-miles north of the New Mexico border, and set on a high desert plateau on the western slope of the Continental Divide, Pagosa Springs feels as pristine and blissfully uncrowded as the three million acres of San Juan National Forest and Weminuche Wilderness Area that surround it.
But just because this mountain town is off the beaten path doesn’t mean there’s a lack of things to do. Quite the opposite, in fact. Thanks to its unique setting and geology, Pagosa Springs is a town of wonderful contrasts, from the mild climate to the bountiful snowfall (not to mention its world-class hot springs), all of which make it an otherworldly destination that’s ideal for an unforgettable winter vacation.
To help you get started planning your getaway, we’ve put together a few of our favorite Pagosa Spring adventures.
We’ll lead with the obvious, as any stay in Pagosa Springs without a dip in the destination’s iconic hot spring would be a travesty. Here you’ll find the world’s deepest geothermal hot spring, a natural mineral outflow that also ranks as the world’s largest. There are three downtown bathing facilities, two of which offer lodging as well. Soak your body after a day on the ski slopes (or other outdoor adventures) and watch as the steam billows off the water and into the brisk wintery air — it’s truly an experience that is as magical as it is rejuvenating.
Skiing and Snowboarding
While Pagosa Springs enjoys a relatively mild temperature due to its southern setting, it also gets a lot of snow. Enjoy the plentiful powder at nearby Wolf Creek Ski Area. With over 465 inches of annual snowfall, Wolf Creek is Colorado’s snowiest ski resort. Cut fresh tracks through the deep, lighter-than-air powder as you explore high alpine bowls and wooded tree runs. Located just 23-miles from downtown Pagosa Springs, this makes for an easy and totally enjoyable day outside. Don’t feel like heading back to town quite yet? Book a night in the resort's backcountry yurt, which can only be accessed by nordic skis or snowmobile.
Of course with so many breathtaking mountain vistas, not to mention so much unspoiled wilderness, sometimes we just want to slow down and take it all in. Explore the Pagosa Springs area on a pair of nordic skis. With over 50 kilometers of groomed trials, you can go for a classic ski or a spirited skate ski under the crystal clear Colorado sunshine, all while getting your heart rate up and dipping into that contemplative state of mind these pristine surroundings induce. Don’t feel like clipping into a pair of nordic skis but still want to get outside? All groomed trails feature a lane specifically for snowshoeing.
Yes, you read that right. Welcome to the wonderful world of fat bikes. Because of their big, soft, shock-absorbing tires, these bikes allow you to ride along winter trails, meaning you can swap mud for powder. Four groomed trails beckon — just rent a bike at one of two shops in town.
Hot Air Balloons
But why limit yourself to terrestrial activities when this picturesque landscape of open plains and craggy mountain peaks begs to be seen from a bird’s-eye view? Bundle up and float above it all with Rocky Mountain Balloon Adventures, where you’ll spot everything from local wildlife to hidden canyons.
A Charming Western Town
Set around a meandering bend of the San Juan River, Pagosa Springs offers a charming and lively town amid all this untouched wilderness. Explore art galleries and museums, ice skate in the town's rink, catch a musical, grab authentic Mexican food, sip local craft beers, sample artisanal candy, or even take an indoor archery lesson.
Pagosa Springs, Colorado is waiting to be explored this winter. Click here to plan your getaway.