Pagosa Springs is surrounded by the 3-million-acre San Juan National Forest & adjacent to the largest wilderness area in Colorado, the Weminuche Wilderness.
A town and rodeo tradition, Red Ryder Roundup Rodeo began in Pagosa Springs in 1949. Named for the wildly popular comic strip character, Red Ryder, drawn by Pagosa Springs resident Fred Harman Jr. The strip ran from 1938-1964 in 750 newspapers.
Wolf Creek Ski Area boasts approx. 480 inches of annual snowfall; the most in the state! Opened in 1938, Wolf Creek moved to its present location across the highway in 1955.
Renowned nuclear physicist Dr. Frank Oppenheimer ranched & taught science at the high school in Pagosa Springs before leaving to teach at CU.
The name Pagosa comes from the Ute word meaning “healing waters.” The hot water in the springs comes from fractures that allow it to rise from more than 6,000 feet below the earth's surface, where it is warmed by residual heat left over from volcanic activity in the area that occurred more than 20 million years ago.
Open May 15 through October 15, the Chimney Rock monument covers 7 square miles and preserves 200 ancient homes and ceremonial buildings, some of which have been excavated for viewing and exploration: a Great Kiva, a Pit House, a Multi-Family Dwelling, and the most impressive — a Chacoan-style Great House Pueblo located at over 7,500 feet above sea level. The hike to the top is just a half mile and rewards visitors with dramatic 360-degree views of the San Juan Mountains making Chimney Rock a southwest Colorado must-see.
"Downtown Pagosa Springs" was the final destination for a duo of truckers in the 1975 country song "Wolf Creek Pass" by C. W. McCall. From Wolf Creek pass to town, U.S. Highway 160 goes through a vertical drop of 3,730 feet (1,140 m), and is described in the song as "hairpin county and switchback city."
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