Can You Swim in Pagosa Hot Springs? A Comprehensive Guide

Pagosa Hot Springs is a natural wonder located in the beautiful San Juan Mountains of Colorado. It is famous for its hot springs, which are known to have therapeutic properties. But the question remains, can you actually swim in Pagosa Hot Springs? In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the answer to this question and provide you with all the information you need to know before taking a dip in these mineral-rich waters. So, get ready to dive into the world of Pagosa Hot Springs and discover the thrill of swimming in nature’s own hot tub.

The Basics of Pagosa Hot Springs

Location and History

Pagosa Springs, Colorado, is home to the world’s deepest geothermal hot spring, known as the “Boiling River.” This natural wonder has a rich history dating back to the indigenous peoples who once inhabited the area and the early settlers who recognized its therapeutic properties. Today, the hot springs are a popular tourist destination and the centerpiece of a modern resort.

Indigenous Peoples and Early Settlers

The area surrounding Pagosa Springs has been inhabited by various indigenous peoples for thousands of years. The Ute, Navajo, and Apache tribes have all utilized the hot springs for spiritual and medicinal purposes. For these tribes, the hot springs were considered sacred sites, and many believed that they had healing powers.

In the late 1800s, the arrival of European settlers brought new interest in the hot springs. Early settlers discovered the therapeutic benefits of the hot springs and began to visit the area for relaxation and to treat various ailments. Word of the hot springs’ healing properties spread quickly, and soon, the area became a popular destination for tourists seeking relief from their aches and pains.

The Modern Hot Springs Resort

Today, Pagosa Hot Springs is a popular tourist destination and a hub for outdoor recreation. The hot springs are the centerpiece of a modern resort that offers visitors a range of amenities, including hot spring soaking pools, a water slide, and a fitness center. The resort also offers various lodging options, including cozy cabins and vacation homes, to accommodate visitors looking to stay in the area.

In addition to the hot springs, the resort also offers a range of activities for visitors to enjoy. Guests can go hiking, fishing, or white-water rafting in the nearby San Juan Mountains, or take a scenic drive through the picturesque Colorado countryside.

Despite the popularity of the hot springs, it is important to note that swimming in the Boiling River is not recommended due to its dangerous nature. The water is scalding hot, and the strong current can be hazardous for even the most experienced swimmers. Instead, visitors can enjoy the therapeutic benefits of the hot springs by soaking in one of the resort’s many pools or by exploring the beautiful natural surroundings of Pagosa Springs.

Water Sources and Temperature

Pagosa Hot Springs is renowned for its natural hot springs, which are spring-fed and known for their therapeutic properties. The water temperature ranges from a pleasant 75 degrees Fahrenheit up to a steaming 115 degrees Fahrenheit. These temperatures make it ideal for a relaxing soak or a rejuvenating swim.

The hot springs are fed by a geothermal spring that is rich in minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and sodium. The water’s chemistry is unique, with a pH level of around 7.2, making it slightly alkaline. This characteristic contributes to the therapeutic benefits of the springs, as it helps to soothe tired muscles and promote overall well-being.

The water’s temperature is also influenced by factors such as the time of day and the season. During peak hours, the water can be warmer due to increased usage, while during off-peak hours, the temperature may be cooler. It’s essential to note that the temperature may vary depending on the specific location within the springs, as some areas may be warmer or cooler than others.

Overall, the water sources and temperature of Pagosa Hot Springs make it an attractive destination for those seeking a relaxing and rejuvenating swim experience.

Access and Hours

Daily Operation and Schedules

Pagosa Hot Springs is open every day of the year, including holidays, from 9 am to 10 pm. However, please note that the hot springs may occasionally close due to maintenance or inclement weather. It is advisable to call ahead or check the website for any updates on closures before visiting.

Admission Fees and Passes

Admission fees for Pagosa Hot Springs are $16 per adult, $8 for children aged 6-16, and free for children under 6. The hot springs also offer a variety of passes, including daily, weekly, and monthly passes, as well as family and group passes. Please check the website or speak with staff for more information on pricing and availability.

Rules and Regulations

To ensure the safety and enjoyment of all visitors, Pagosa Hot Springs has several rules and regulations that must be followed. These include:

  • No alcohol or smoking is allowed on the premises.
  • No pets are allowed in the hot springs or pool area.
  • Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
  • No diving or jumping is allowed in the hot springs.
  • Please shower before and after use of the hot springs to prevent the spread of bacteria.
  • Swim at your own risk, as the management is not responsible for any accidents or injuries.

It is important to follow these rules and regulations to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all visitors.

Swimming in Pagosa Hot Springs

Key takeaway: Pagosa Hot Springs in Colorado is renowned for its natural hot springs, which offer therapeutic benefits and a range of pool options for visitors to enjoy a relaxing swim. The hot springs are fed by a geothermal spring and range in temperature from 75 to 107 degrees Fahrenheit. The water’s chemistry is unique, with a pH level of around 7.2, contributing to its therapeutic benefits. The best times to visit for swimming are during the summer months from June to September. It is important to follow safety guidelines and rules to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all visitors. Additionally, Pagosa Hot Springs offers a range of activities, including massages, body treatments, yoga and fitness classes, hiking trails, wildlife viewing, and geothermal features.

Pool Options

The hot springs in Pagosa Springs offer several pool options for visitors to enjoy a refreshing swim. The pools are maintained at a comfortable temperature throughout the year, ensuring a relaxing experience for all guests.

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Outdoor Adult Pool

The outdoor adult pool is designed for guests aged 18 and above. This pool offers a tranquil atmosphere, making it an ideal spot for those seeking a peaceful swim. The pool is large enough to accommodate several guests at once, providing ample space for relaxation and exercise.

Outdoor Family Pool

The outdoor family pool is perfect for families with children. This pool is designed to accommodate children of all ages, ensuring that everyone can enjoy a fun and safe swim. The pool features a shallow end, ideal for younger children, and a deeper end for older kids and adults.

Indoor Pool

The indoor pool is an excellent option for those looking to swim year-round. This pool is enclosed in a climate-controlled room, ensuring a comfortable temperature throughout the year. The indoor pool is perfect for guests who want to swim regardless of the weather conditions outside.

Seasonal Pool Availability

The hot springs in Pagosa Springs offer seasonal pool availability, ensuring that visitors can enjoy a refreshing swim throughout the year. During the summer months, the outdoor pools are open, providing guests with ample space to relax and enjoy the sunshine. During the winter months, the indoor pool is open, ensuring that visitors can still enjoy a refreshing swim in a comfortable environment.

Swimming Experience

Swimming in Pagosa Hot Springs is a unique and invigorating experience. The water in the springs is a constant 107 degrees Fahrenheit, making it perfect for a refreshing swim on a hot day. The water’s natural warmth is due to its geothermal origin, as it rises from deep within the earth’s crust. The springs are fed by a natural mineral hot spring that bubbles up from the earth’s surface, providing a mineral-rich experience for bathers.

The water depth in Pagosa Hot Springs varies, with some areas being shallow enough to wade in and others deeper for swimming. The current in the springs is typically very mild, making it safe and easy to swim for most visitors. The current can sometimes be slightly stronger in certain areas, but it is still relatively gentle.

When swimming in Pagosa Hot Springs, it is important to be aware of safety considerations. The water is extremely hot, so it is essential to take care not to get burned. Additionally, the mineral content of the water can make it difficult to see underwater, so it is crucial to be aware of your surroundings while swimming. It is also important to note that alcohol is not permitted in the springs, and visitors should avoid submerging their heads underwater for extended periods.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of swimming in Pagosa Hot Springs is the opportunity to take in the stunning views of the surrounding landscape. The springs are located in a beautiful natural setting, surrounded by lush trees and rock formations. Visitors can relax and soak in the natural beauty of the area while enjoying a refreshing swim in the mineral-rich water.

Overall, swimming in Pagosa Hot Springs is a unique and invigorating experience that offers a range of benefits, from relaxation to a refreshing swim in the mineral-rich water. Whether you are looking to take a dip in the warm water or simply enjoy the stunning views, Pagosa Hot Springs is an ideal destination for a rejuvenating experience.

Tips for Swimming

  • Best times to visit

Pagosa Hot Springs is open year-round, but the best times to visit for swimming are during the summer months, from June to September. During this time, the water is warmer, and the weather is generally more pleasant for spending time outdoors.

  • Suggested routes

There are several suggested routes for swimming in Pagosa Hot Springs, depending on your preferences and fitness level. One popular route is to start at the Source, where the hottest water is located, and gradually make your way downstream to the San Juan River. This route is approximately 1.5 miles long and offers a variety of temperatures to choose from.

Another popular route is to start at the Narrows, where the water is cooler, and swim upstream to the Source. This route is approximately 1.25 miles long and offers a more gradual temperature increase.

  • Advice for different swimming styles

Whether you’re a seasoned swimmer or a beginner, Pagosa Hot Springs offers a unique swimming experience for everyone. For those who prefer a more leisurely swim, the Narrows section of the river offers a calm and shallow area to relax and enjoy the scenery.

For those who are looking for a more challenging swim, the San Juan River offers a strong current and a longer distance to swim. It’s important to note that the river can be unpredictable, and it’s essential to be aware of your surroundings and the conditions before embarking on a swim.

It’s also worth noting that the temperature of the water can vary significantly along the route, so it’s important to be prepared for changing conditions and to take breaks as needed. Overall, Pagosa Hot Springs offers a unique and enjoyable swimming experience for swimmers of all levels and styles.

Additional Activities at Pagosa Hot Springs

Relaxation and Wellness

Massages and Body Treatments

Indulge in a luxurious massage or body treatment at the on-site spa, providing a range of services to rejuvenate your mind and body. Choose from various massage styles, such as Swedish, deep tissue, or hot stone, tailored to your preferences and needs. Alternatively, opt for a detoxifying body treatment, aromatherapy, or a soothing foot massage to fully unwind.

Private Soaking Tubs

For an intimate and romantic experience, book a private soaking tub at Pagosa Hot Springs. These tubs are designed for two, ensuring a serene and tranquil setting for you and your loved one to relax and connect. As you soak in the warm, mineral-rich water, let the stress of everyday life melt away, and create unforgettable memories in this secluded sanctuary.

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Yoga and Fitness Classes

Maintain your fitness routine or explore new ways to stay active during your visit to Pagosa Hot Springs. The resort offers a variety of yoga and fitness classes, catering to different levels and interests. Join a vinyasa flow class for a dynamic and energizing workout, or opt for a gentle yoga class to restore balance and flexibility. Additional fitness classes, such as Pilates, strength training, and cardio sessions, are also available to help you achieve your wellness goals.

Nature Exploration

In addition to soaking in the hot springs, visitors to Pagosa Hot Springs can also enjoy a variety of nature exploration activities. Here are some of the most popular options:

  • Hiking Trails: The surrounding San Juan National Forest offers a number of hiking trails for visitors to explore. These trails range from easy, family-friendly walks to more challenging, high-elevation treks. Some of the most popular trails include the Pagosa Peak Trail, the San Juan Trail, and the Rocky Mountain Trail.
  • Wildlife Viewing: The San Juan National Forest is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including black bears, mountain lions, and bighorn sheep. Visitors to Pagosa Hot Springs may be able to spot some of these animals while hiking or exploring the area. The hot springs themselves are also known to attract a variety of wildlife, including birds, bats, and other small animals.
  • Geothermal Features: Pagosa Hot Springs is located in an area known for its geothermal activity. Visitors can explore a number of geothermal features in the area, including hot springs, geysers, and steam vents. Some of the most popular geothermal features to visit include the Great Boiling Spring, the Pagosa Geyser, and the Steamboat Spring.

By taking advantage of these additional nature exploration activities, visitors to Pagosa Hot Springs can enjoy a truly immersive experience in the natural beauty of the San Juan National Forest. Whether you’re looking to hike, spot wildlife, or simply soak in the geothermal wonders of the area, there’s something for everyone at Pagosa Hot Springs.

Dining and Lodging

Pagosa Hot Springs offers visitors a range of dining and lodging options to complement their relaxing soak in the hot springs.

On-site Restaurants

There are two on-site restaurants at Pagosa Hot Springs:

  • The Springs Resort Restaurant: This restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a casual, family-friendly atmosphere. The menu features a mix of American and international dishes, including vegetarian and gluten-free options.
  • Iron Mountain Pizza: For a more casual dining experience, visitors can head to Iron Mountain Pizza, which offers a variety of pizzas, salads, and sandwiches.

Nearby Accommodations

There are several lodging options near Pagosa Hot Springs, including:

  • The Springs Resort: The resort offers a range of lodging options, including hotel rooms, suites, and vacation homes. All lodging options include access to the hot springs.
  • B&Bs and Inns: There are several bed and breakfasts and inns in the area that offer comfortable accommodations and a warm welcome.
  • Camping: For those who prefer a more rustic experience, there are several campgrounds nearby that offer tent and RV sites.

Vacation Packages

Pagosa Hot Springs also offers vacation packages that include lodging and access to the hot springs, as well as other activities in the area, such as hiking, fishing, and wildlife watching. Visitors can choose from a range of packages to suit their interests and budget.

Frequently Asked Questions

Health and Safety

When considering a dip in the Pagosa Hot Springs, health and safety are naturally on everyone’s mind. To provide a comprehensive guide, we must address these concerns:

  • Water purity and sanitation:
    • The Pagosa Hot Springs water is a natural mineral water, sourced from a geothermal spring, and is considered safe for swimming.
    • However, it is essential to be aware that hot springs water can contain bacteria and other microorganisms, which can be harmful if ingested.
    • Visitors should take caution not to submerge their heads underwater, and avoiding submerging their heads underwater is recommended.
  • Swimming with medical conditions:
    • Patrons with medical conditions, such as heart conditions, asthma, or epilepsy, should consult their physician before swimming in the hot springs.
    • It is essential to consider that changes in temperature, water chemistry, and increased physical activity can cause adverse reactions for individuals with certain medical conditions.
    • For those with skin sensitivities, the mineral-rich water may cause irritation, and it is recommended to test a small area of skin before immersing themselves.
  • Emergency services:
    • The Pagosa Hot Springs facilities have emergency equipment, including first aid kits and AEDs, to address any immediate medical concerns.
    • However, for life-threatening emergencies, patrons should contact emergency services at 911.
    • Visitors with medical conditions should ensure they have their prescribed medications and a written medical plan on hand in case of an emergency.

Pagosa Hot Springs vs. Other Hot Springs

Comparing locations and experiences

When it comes to comparing Pagosa Hot Springs with other hot springs, there are several factors to consider. For instance, the temperature of the water, the surrounding environment, and the accessibility of the location.

  • Temperature of the water: Pagosa Hot Springs is known for its hot water that reaches temperatures of up to 115 degrees Fahrenheit. However, other hot springs may have different temperature ranges, such as lukewarm or even cold water.
  • Surrounding environment: Pagosa Hot Springs is located in a picturesque setting, surrounded by the San Juan Mountains. Other hot springs may have different environments, such as being located in a desert or near a volcano.
  • Accessibility: Pagosa Hot Springs is easily accessible by car and has ample parking space. Other hot springs may be more remote and require a hike or other form of transportation to reach.

Advantages and disadvantages

Advantages of visiting Pagosa Hot Springs include its accessibility, hot water temperature, and beautiful surroundings. Disadvantages may include crowds during peak seasons and potential hazards such as slippery rocks and extreme heat.

Other hot springs may have their own advantages and disadvantages. For example, a hot spring located near a volcano may have geothermal activity and unique mineral formations, but it may also be more dangerous due to the risk of volcanic eruptions.

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Recommendations for visiting other hot springs

If you are considering visiting other hot springs, it is important to do your research and prepare accordingly. Here are some recommendations:

  • Check the temperature: Make sure to check the temperature of the water before entering the hot spring. Some hot springs may have cold or lukewarm water, which can be uncomfortable or even dangerous.
  • Beware of hazards: Be aware of potential hazards at the hot spring location, such as slippery rocks, strong currents, or submerged plants.
  • Respect the environment: Be respectful of the environment and leave the area as you found it. Do not leave any trash or debris behind, and avoid disturbing the natural surroundings.
  • Follow safety guidelines: Follow any safety guidelines or rules that are posted at the hot spring location. This may include wearing a certain type of footwear, avoiding submerging your head underwater, or staying within designated areas.

Climate and Weather

  • Best times to visit
    • Spring (March to May)
    • Autumn (September to November)
    • These seasons offer mild weather and fewer visitors.
    • Note: Be prepared for sudden temperature drops and afternoon rain showers during spring.
    • Be mindful of potential thunderstorms and hail during autumn.
  • Inclement weather precautions
    • Monitor weather forecasts before your visit.
    • Check for any warnings or advisories.
    • Inform the staff about your arrival time, especially during bad weather.
    • Always stay near the entrance or in the change rooms during thunderstorms.
    • In case of heavy rain or hail, the springs may close temporarily for safety reasons.
  • Clothing and gear suggestions
    • Bring a towel.
    • Wear comfortable, modest swimwear.
    • Choose clothes that can be easily changed in and out of.
    • Avoid submerging your head underwater.
    • Protect your skin from the intense sun exposure with sunscreen and a hat.
    • Be aware of the temperature of the springs before and after the thunderstorms.

Family-Friendly Activities

  • Kid-friendly pool areas
    • Multiple pools with varying temperatures to accommodate all ages
    • Shallow areas for young children
    • Lifeguards on duty to ensure safety
  • Family-oriented programs
    • Guided nature walks and hikes
    • Educational workshops on geothermal features
    • Outdoor movie nights
  • Children’s safety measures
    • Lifeguards stationed at all pool areas
    • Safety signage posted throughout the park
    • Regular safety training for staff members

Pagosa Hot Springs Etiquette

As a responsible visitor, it is essential to follow proper etiquette when enjoying the Pagosa Hot Springs. This ensures that everyone can have a safe and enjoyable experience while preserving the natural beauty of the springs. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Respecting other visitors: The hot springs are a popular destination, and it is important to be respectful of other visitors. This means avoiding loud or disruptive behavior, refraining from smoking or vaping, and keeping your belongings with you at all times. It is also essential to be mindful of your surroundings and not to touch or interfere with other visitors’ belongings.
  • Proper pool behavior: When swimming in the hot springs, it is important to follow proper pool behavior. This includes showering before and after your swim, avoiding submerging your head underwater, and not swimming if you have any open wounds or infections. It is also advisable to avoid wearing sunscreen or any other products that may pollute the water.
  • Environmental guidelines: The Pagosa Hot Springs are a natural wonder, and it is important to preserve their beauty for future generations. This means following the environmental guidelines, such as not leaving any trash or debris behind, avoiding fishing or hunting in the area, and not disturbing the natural habitat. It is also advisable to avoid using soap or other products that may harm the environment.

By following these guidelines, you can help ensure that the Pagosa Hot Springs remain a beautiful and enjoyable destination for years to come.


1. What is Pagosa Hot Springs?

Pagosa Hot Springs is a geothermal hot spring located in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. The hot springs consist of multiple soaking pools filled with naturally heated water that flows from the hot springs. The water is known for its high mineral content and therapeutic properties.

2. Can you swim in Pagosa Hot Springs?

Yes, you can swim in Pagosa Hot Springs. The pools are open for public swimming during specific hours, and lifeguards are on duty to ensure everyone’s safety. It’s important to note that swimming in the hot springs is at your own risk, and visitors should be aware of the potential dangers, such as the high water temperature and slippery surfaces.

3. What is the water temperature at Pagosa Hot Springs?

The water temperature at Pagosa Hot Springs varies depending on the pool. The hottest pool, known as the “Naked and Naked Pool,” reaches temperatures up to 115 degrees Fahrenheit. The other pools range from 95 to 106 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s important to take caution when entering the hot water, as it can cause rapid heat loss and cause cold shock responses.

4. Are there any rules or guidelines for swimming in Pagosa Hot Springs?

Yes, there are rules and guidelines for swimming in Pagosa Hot Springs. Visitors must follow posted signs and instructions from lifeguards. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult, and all swimmers must shower before and after using the pools. It’s also prohibited to submerge your head underwater, and smoking and glass containers are not allowed in the area.

5. How much does it cost to swim in Pagosa Hot Springs?

The cost to swim in Pagosa Hot Springs varies depending on factors such as age, residency, and time of day. As of 2021, the general admission fee for adults is $10 for a two-hour soak, and $5 for each additional hour. Children under 12 and seniors over 65 receive discounted rates, and annual passes are available for purchase. It’s important to check the current pricing and hours of operation before visiting.

3 hot springs to visit in downtown Pagosa Springs, Colorado!