37.2694° N, 107.0098° W
Ask most Coloradoans and they will say they have heard of Pagosa Springs. But then ask them where it is, and they will have no clue. That is the perk of visiting this somewhat out of the way mountain town: it has all the makings of an amazing tourist destination - without the tourists.
While Pagosa Springs is a superb summer destination (due to its location, a combination of high desert plateau and the Rocky Mountains, it has an unusually mild climate during the summer) it is also a great spot to base yourself for some winter adventures. Including, skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling.
We recently visited the town for an adventurous winter getaway and absolutely fell in love. So if you are looking for a place that has a great mix of outdoor adventures, good food, and a lively, cute downtown then definitely add this town to your list. Oh, still not convinced? Well how about if we told you that not only does Pagosa Springs have all of that, but also hot springs!
Ready to add this Colorado mountain town to your winter travel list? Good - we promise you won't regret it.
Here is what we believe is the best 3 day itinerary for Pagosa Springs.
| Wake up early and grab your snow gear for today is the day to head up the mountain for some skiing at Wolf Creek, one of the few remaining independent ski resorts in the state and the one that almost always gets the most natural snow (no man-made snow here). We are talking inches of fresh powder, short lift lines and some amazing views.
A couple of things to note about skiing at Wolf Creek: it costs about $80 USD for a day pass (this includes parking); because it is a smaller, independent resort there are not a lot of services, so bring your own lunch and snacks and anything else you might need; get there early to make sure you get a good spot in the parking lot.
| But before heading out of town, make sure to stop by Peak Deli, located in downtown Pagosa Springs, for some delicious breakfast sandwiches that will keep you full all day long (note: as of February 2021 they were not allowing indoor dining). Then grab a nice steaming cup of joe at ROOT HOUSE, located a couple shops down the street.
| Now be aware that the road up to the ski resort (Highway 160) is steep. We are talking gaining over 3,000 feet in elevation in not that many miles. Also, be prepared for adverse winter driving conditions (chains or 4-wheel drive are highly recommended). Take your time and don't try to rush the drive up or down the mountain - especially if it is snowing.
| Once done skiing at Wolf Creek, make your way back down to town for some much needed food. We recommend checking out Mee Hmong Cuisine, a locally owned restaurant that serves up delicious dishes in the spirit of the Hmong (pronounced “mung”) ethnic group, which today reside in China, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. Try the Holy Basil, Stir Fry Ginger and the Edamame Bites.
| If you aren’t completely zonked out after a nice filling dinner, grab your swimsuit and head to the river downtown for the perfect way to end the day: soaking in some natural hot springs. While Pagosa Springs is known for its hot springs, many of them are now resorts (i.e. you have to pay to soak). The exception is Hippy Dippy Hot Springs - a free, natural little pool right on the edge of the river in downtown.
To reach the hot springs, park at Mary Fischer Park (right across the bridge from downtown) and then walk a short ways to the river. We went for a soak in the morning and it was totally empty (another option if you are too tired at night).
| On your second day, consider having a lazy morning (after skiing the day before you probably need it). Once up, head downtown for a nice relaxing breakfast at The Rose. Consider ordering the biscuits and gravy or the veggie omelet, and lots of drip coffee. The pricing is quite reasonable and the food is tasty - plus the staff are super friendly and helpful.
| Once your hunger has been satiated, head out of town like you did the previous day (up Highway 160) towards Wolf Creek Pass. Before you reach the infamous hairpin turn you will see a sign for Treasure Creek Falls. Park along the road (there should be a wider shoulder) and make your way up through the trees to see the likely frozen, but no less beautiful, waterfall.
| Then head back down the highway just a short ways to the East Fork Winter Trail. This is a nice, groomed road that follows the river the whole and is perfect for cross country skiing (note: it does also see some snowmobile traffic). If you are feeling up to it, head out on the road for about 8 miles to reach the historic Silver Falls Guard Station.