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Riverwalk Trail – Recreation, Beauty, and Relaxation in Downtown Pagosa Springs

The Riverwalk Trail takes you from our hotel into the heart of downtown Pagosa Springs, with the natural beauty of southern Colorado on full display along the 3.2-mile out-and-back route along the banks of the San Juan River. Dating back thousands of years to the time when Navajo, Apache, and Ute tribes made their home near the bountiful river and flowing mineral springs – Pagosa is a Ute word describing the “boiling and healing” water – the area along the San Juan River has been a place to soak in the soothing and warm water pools, recreate both in and out of the water and enjoy the small-town charm of Pagosa Springs.

RiverWalk Inn - the best place to stay at downtown Pagosa Springs

You are right on the water when you stay at our award winning hotel in Pagosa Springs. The Riverwalk Trail is easily accessible from our parking area, with everything from outdoor fun and adventure (tubing or rafting make for an incredible and thrilling day on the water) to casual strolls, fishing, and mineral spring soaks. Discover the beauty of Pagosa Springs and soak for free in the pools of hot springs along the river trail. The riverwalk takes you past the big 42' Growing Domes right off the riverwalk in the downtown area.

Mineral Pool Soaking, Birding, Local Coffee, Greenhouse Tours, and More – Things To See and Do Along the Trail

Flowing for over 350 miles from its starting point at over 10,000 feet, the San Juan River is one of the major waterways in Colorado, making its way through Pagosa Springs in the upper San Juan watershed section. The “in-town” portion of the San Juan stretches from right near our location, at River Center Park, to Yamaguchi Park at the other end. Along the way, the Riverwalk Trail traces the water’s path by the downtown area, numerous mineral-soaking pools, wetland conservation areas, and city parks.

Start on the walking trail at the end of our parking lot by the gazebo and follow the path to the left, cross the road at the bridge to continue on the path along the river, and it will take you downtown into Pagosa Springs Town Park. Ask the front desk if you are unsure where to go or download the Pagosa Springs town app from the app store. The whole trail is easy flat walking for all ages.

Visitor's Center - a place to go to when visiting downtown Pagosa Springs

Bring your bathing suit as adjacent to the park is the Hot Springs Blvd bridge, appropriately named as there are several hot mineral spring pools to soak in. You will see people relaxing in the various hot pools alongside the river. These pools are also known as the “hippie dip” pools and are free (unlike the resort nearby that charges a fee to soak in their pools), with naturally-formed and beautifully-contoured rock forming the pools. They vary by depth, with the shallower pools generally a hotter temperature, so try a few out and find the perfect one. Relaxing in the mineral-rich water is a world away from a chlorinated hot tub, with sodium, potassium, magnesium, silica, and iron enriching your soaking experience.

After a refreshing soak, grab a drink at Root House Coffee near the water by Centennial Park. Have a latte, chai, or smoothie, or spice it up with a “cowboy coffee” (espresso, milk, and whiskey). Stop by the Geothermal Greenhouse Project, which is impossible to miss, with its three striking geodesic domes filled with beautiful flowers on the river. Harnessing the geothermal power of the mineral springs allows for year-round gardening in the greenhouse domes, all in service of sustainability and fostering food self-sufficiency. Take a tour from one of their volunteers and learn about their inspiring work serving the Pagosa Springs community.

As you make your way along the Riverwalk Trail, keep an eye out for birds along the watershed conservation area along the river – this is a prime place for bird enthusiasts, as the warm spring water keeps the river from freezing over in the winter and attracts numerous types of birds. You’ll likely see the green and pink-colored Lewis’s Woodpecker, hear the singsongy sparrows, or even spot a bald eagle fishing from the San Juan (for more info, check out our Pagosa Springs bird-watching blog).

More Fun on the River – Fishing, Rafting, and Good Eats
A man fishing in San Juan River - one of the activities you can do at downtown Pagosa Springs

With so many ways to explore the San Juan River plan for different activities and outings along the Riverwalk Trail during your stay. Stocked with trophy trout, there are endless places along the trail to drop a line in the water, where the rainbow and brown trout are legendary, and you may even catch a unique fish like a bony tail chub or razorback sucker.

When the water is flowing at a safe level, a day of rafting down the river is fun-filled for the whole family and safe for kids when it’s running below 250 cubic feet per second. Check the updated San Juan river conditions before your visit, but generally, it flows highest and fastest during the snowmelt of spring and then calms down (and warms up 10-15 degrees) by midsummer. You can drop in right by our parking lot. We are the only hotel (other than the Pagosa Hot Springs) right on the river, making access easy.

After a day of watersports, grab a meal at Malt Shoppe, they serve malts, but you’ll also find 13 different types of milkshakes, a real treat. Do Riff Raff on the Rio, and visit the local geothermal-run brewery that brews its own beer with burgers and sandwiches. You can also visit these other local restaurants: Meander, Kips Grill, Alley House Grille, the Baking Company

Stay with us where the river is at your doorstep!


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