Destination: Pagosa Springs, Colorado

Destination: Pagosa Springs, Colorado

This picturesque community, situated 35 miles north of the New Mexico border, serves as an ideal location for looped explorations. The San Juan River flows through the city’s center, where you’ll find the Pagosa Hot Springs, touted as the “World’s Deepest Geothermal Hot Spring.” Its name originates from the Southwestern Ute word “Pah gosah,” which translates to “Healing Waters.”

Take a stroll along the San Juan River Walkway and watch the rafters and tubers on the rapidly flowing water. Soak in one of the three downtown hot-spring facilities. Restaurants, shops, and parking are plentiful.

A popular, year-round tourist destination, Pagosa Springs experiences 300 days of sunshine each year as well as four distinct seasons. The city and surrounding area have seen an influx of second-home owners due primarily to its location and climate. The city is easy to navigate and retains a “community” ambiance. Each of the local residents and shop and restaurant owners we encountered were extremely friendly.

Just east of Pagosa Springs, the motorcycle-friendly High Country Lodge is a good choice as a base for touring the area. Hwy 160 is right out front and serves as a pipeline to and from breathtaking scenery and fantastic riding. The full-service hotel offers lodge-style rooms as well as private cabins. Complimentary breakfast is served each morning, and there is also a private half-mile hiking trail on the property. Rooms include a microwave, flat-panel TV, and Wi-Fi. They have self-service laundry facilities on-site as well, and parking is ample and free. Mona and the rest of the staff at the High Country Lodge were quite helpful and ensured that Kris and I had a great stay. Find the High Country Lodge at 3821 E Hwy 160, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147, (970) 264-4181.


Tucked away in southwestern Colorado, Pagosa Springs and the surrounding area offer stunning and varying scenery. The area is replete with history and Old West folklore, with much to see and do off the bike, including museums, hiking, rafting, and fishing. As elsewhere in Colorado, the area draws many tourists, and it’s good to keep that in mind on the roads. Due to unpredictable weather at higher elevations, the best time to travel is usually June - September.

You’ll find it all in and around Pagosa Springs—fine dining to fast food, and 5-star luxury to B&Bs. Lodging prices vary seasonally. Reservations are recommended. Along the routes, fuel and food stops should be planned in advance.