Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Soaking in Pagosa Springs Colorado.

Over the weekend, Karen and I took a quick trip to the Bisti Wilderness (Karen is writing a blog about this) and Pagosa Springs.

After a wonderful hike, it was really windy and cold at the Bisti Wilderness, so we decided to head to Pagosa and soak at the Overlook Hot Springs Spa that Saturday evening.

The Overlook has a few nice indoor hot soaks as well as a couple of hot pools on the roof overlooking the river.  It's a pleasant place that is quite a bit cheaper than the famous outdoor Springs place across the river.

Images Courtesy the Overlook Hot Springs.
We arrived at the Overlook at 8:30 p.m. The guy at the check-in desk told us that he was hoping that spring-break would bring in crowds of 20 somethings to soak, but so far it was pretty quiet. The Overlook also has fantastic showers, which we enjoyed after our soak. We stayed until closing time at 11:00 p.m.

We left the Overlook and drove across the river and parked on a quiet side street next to the Springs hotel, made the bed, climbed in and fell fast asleep (location).  That night it got down to 23 degrees, but we were warm and snug in Humphrey under our big pile of blankets and sleeping bags. The next morning I jumped up and started Humphrey's engine. The van warmed up pretty quickly.  (This stealth overnight location is a bit dicey.  It is pretty quiet while it is still wintery in Pagosa, but it might not work well when things are busier in the warmer vacation months.)

We drove back across the river, again parked across from the Overlook, where our favorite little breakfast place is. It's called The Rose. I had Huevos Rancheros and Karen had a scramble with avocado. Delicious!!!!

With happy bellies we drove back over the river to the visitor's center to use their clean, roomy private restrooms and to get some info. We wanted to know about overnight parking in town. The lady working the visitor's center told us that the town had passed an ordinance against sleeping in your vehicle, but she noted that it was rarely enforced. (It was probably an ordinance pushed by local RV park owners.)

We related to her that we had seen three or four RVs parked at the new Walmart uptown.  She thought that you would probably not get in trouble overnighting at the Pagosa Walmart in your RV. She said you could probably park overnight in the nearby parks downtown, also.

She then reported that you are officially allowed to overnight on a road curb strip along the main drag that is designated for Bus and RV parking.

Official Pagosa Springs Bus and RV Parking overlooking park.
The location of this Bus / RV parking is here:

My problem with Pagosa's official Bus and RV parking is that it's right smack on the main drag with cars whizzing by at all hours. It would make me nervous to park there and it could be quite noisy. If you're in a big rig or pulling a trailer, it would be easy to pull over here to park for a visit or overnight.

Just southwest of this Bus / RV parking strip is the main downtown parking lot above the San Juan River Walk. The northeast part of this parking lot allows 8 hr parking anytime. (It seems to be designed as a rest area.) I'm pretty sure you could get away with staying a bit longer here than the official 8 hrs. (I believe that larger RVs are not allowed in the downtown lot, but Van sized RVs with no trailers can use it. Our van uses one parking space, so we were OK parked here.)

The visitor center lady gave us a nice map that showed the forest roads where you can disperse camp. Here is the map with the dispersed camping roads show in Red:

Dispersed Camping roads (RED Lines) around Pagosa Springs, Colorado.
(To see a larger version of this map, click HERE.)

After our informative visit to the visitor's center was concluded, we went for a great, long walk all around town near the river. Pagosa is a pleasant town for an enjoyable walk-about. It's a fun town to explore with nice river walk-ways, cute side streets, big parks and paved trails.

After hiking around for quite a distance, we were hungry again! It was about 1 p.m by this time. We headed to a Mexican restaurant called Ramon's that we like that's uptown. (165 Country Center Dr, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147 [37.257057, -107.074810]).

We lucked out. Ramon's does a delicious Sunday Mexican brunch. We enjoyed some great cheese enchiladas, beans, rice along with other tasty dishes. Ramon's seems to be more of a local's place and is more low key than other Pagosa restaurants. We like low key.  (If instead you like chaotic, head to the KFC/Taco Bell joint a little west of Ramon's. Complete frustration assured!)

After lunch it was time to head back to Los Alamos and prepare for another long work week.

It was nice to get away up north after such a long-ass winter!

(You can read about our previous trip to Pagosa Springs for their explosive 4th of July fireworks show by clicking HERE.)


  1. You can just head up CR600 by the Giant station and Sonic. Just a few miles and you will go on NF Land as you cross to dirt over a cattle guard. Park in the parking lot there overnight. No problem especially a van.

    1. We plan to give the Turkey Springs area an overnight try next time we are up there. That is in the NF land area you mention off CR 600.

  2. Pagosa Springs is on our list for some future summer so I appreciate the info on this particular hot springs. Looks like a great place!


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