Pagosa Springs is the home of three bathhouses and the deepest hot springs aquifer in the world. Find out which bathhouse is right for you.

Pagosa springs, located in southern Colorado, are unique for two reasons. The Mother Spring aquifer, which reaches a depth greater than 1,000 feet, is the deepest hot-spring aquifer on the planet. According to legend, these springs are healing. In Ute, the word “pagosa”, which means “water that heals”, literally means “water of healing”.

According to legend, the Ute tribe was plagued by a mysterious disease that medicine men could not heal. After praying for healing and building a fire near the San Juan River, the tribe woke up to bubbling hot water where the fire had died. The Ute tribe was healed when they bathed in the water.

The Springs Resort & Spa offers 20 soaking pools that are open to all guests, plus five pools for adults only. Visit Pagosa Springs provided the photo.

Pagosa Springs now has three bathhouses that draw water from Mother Spring. On my recent trip to Pagosa Springs, I visited them all and discovered that each bathhouse offers a different experience.

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Healing Waters Resort & Spa

First, I went to Healing Water Resort & Spa. It is located roughly across from the Mother Springs Aquifer. The outdoor pool has hot springs water in it, as does the outdoor hot tub. Separate indoor hot baths are available for men and women. The property also rents out rooms, suites and cabins.

Healing Waters is a relaxed, no-frills atmosphere. After I had rented a towel for $4 and presented my $20 day pass, I went outside to the lockers for women. The changing room was small and basic, but many resort guests had changed in their hotel rooms.

The Healing Waters Resort & Spa features a swimming pool, an outdoor hot tub and men’s and woman’s indoor baths. Visit Pagosa Springs provided the photo.

The pool at Healing Waters was filled with 100 percent mineral water. The pools at the property are free of chemicals including chlorine. The water was a bit cooler than expected, even though I enjoyed the fact that I could swim if I wished. Healing Waters maintains a temperature of 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Note : The indoor baths range between 108 to 112 degrees.

According to my experience, I think the Hot Springs are a great choice for budget-conscious families or people who like the convenience of being able to jump in the water from their hotel rooms whenever they wish. Healing Springs is open from 11:00 am until 10:00 pm daily.

Overlook Hot Springs Spa

The Overlook Spa was my second stop. Its name comes from the rooftop view of San Juan River. It has smaller locker rooms than Healing Waters. You can get there without going outside, but you have to walk past the indoor tubs. Overlook has a few lockers but does not provide locks.

I turned around and went back to the indoor bathtubs. Two hot tubs flanked a cold plunge-pool on one side. A tub in a corner offered privacy on the other side. The tub in the corner was my choice because it had two beds that were molded into concrete to allow me to relax in the water. This is by far my favorite tub because of the beds. The tubs in this hotel felt as if they were in need of a resurface.

Relax in the rooftop spas. Visit Pagosa Springs provided the photo.

After relaxing in the first tub, I went up to the three others on top. The only tub with a view of the river was the one right next to it. The third tub was scorching hot. Overlook also has tubs located in the gardens below, but I chose to use the indoor pool because I was there in winter.

There are also indoor tubs at the Overlook Hot Springs Spa. Photo by Visit Pagosa Springs

Overlook charges $24 for a soak in their hot tubs. Renting towels costs $4, robes cost $8 and bathing suits are $7. You can purchase beer and wine. No outside alcohol allowed. The Overlook is open every day from 9am. From 9 am to 7 pm.

The Springs Resort & Spa

The Springs Resort & Spa was my third visit to a bathhouse. The Springs, the largest and most popular bathhouse in the area, is also the most expensive and crowded. A general admission day pass costs $65. A day pass for general admission costs $65.

The Springs Resort & Spa offers access to the San Juan River. Visit Pagosa Springs provided the photo.

It’s well worth it if you want a high-quality experience. The locker rooms are spacious and well-maintained. After changing, I went outside to the 20 pools that were open to all. The Relaxation Terrace package ($130) also gave me access to five exclusive pools. The area was crowded with families, so I chose to relax in the adults only section.

The Springs Resort & Spa is located on the San Juan River. Photo by Visit Pagosa Springs

This property has a great selection of clean, well-maintained swimming pools. I also liked that each pool is labeled with the temperature. The staff regularly check to make sure that each pool is maintained at the temperature stated and chemically balanced. The staff will also take your food and drinks orders while you are in the tub.

The view of the San Juan River was spectacular. This property, unlike the Overlook Hot Springs Spa is located on the San Juan River with views of the downtown area and river. The hot springs are relaxing and well worth the price if you want to spend a day in them. The Springs are open every day from 9am. The Springs is open daily from 9 am to 9:30 pm.

Pagosa Springs Hot Springs: What you need to know before visiting

It is important to be prepared before you visit any of the baths in Pagosa Springs. You can maximize your experience in the healing waters by following these tips.

  • Avoid the crowds by going early in the day. The hot springs will be more crowded later in the afternoon.
  • Bring your towel. Towels and robes are charged by each property.
  • The Springs Resort & Spa, and Healing Waters Resort & Spa, charge for locker rental. Overlook Hot Springs Spa asks that you bring your own lock.
  • In the winter, your towels and robes may freeze in between baths.
  • Test the water first. It is possible that the labeled temperature may not be accurate.
  • Keep hydrated. Combining high temperatures with salty water can cause you to become dehydrated.

Pagosa Springs Hot Springs: Where to stay?

Pagosa Springs offers other lodging options besides The Springs Resort & Spa or Healing Waters Resort & Spa. The location of the Nightingale Motel was perfect for me. I was able to walk to all the hot springs and many of the downtown restaurants.

Note: I recommend Pagosa Springs Baking Company as a breakfast option, Kip’s Grill as a lunch spot, and Riff Raff Beer Company as a dinner destination.

The Nightingale Motel is a great place to stay when exploring Pagosa Springs. Photo by Teresa Bitler

The Nightingale Motel offers a variety of room types, from suites that can accommodate up to four adults plus two children to rooms with one queen-sized bed. Some rooms also have kitchenettes. All rooms have keyless entry. You’ll be given a code before you arrive to gain access to the room.

Although I am sceptical of the healing properties of the water of the hot springs–I experienced pain that soaking did not cure–I found that soaking in all three properties was incredibly relaxing. Next time I visit Pagosa, I will make sure to spend some time soaking. When planning your next vacation to Colorado, or any other spa destination, let Wander with Wonder guide you.