Rainbow Hot Springs – Colorado
As one of the most remote natural and primitive pools in Colorado, Rainbow Hot Springs is located in the San Juan National Forest, near Pagosa Springs, CO. If you are up for the challenge, the breathtaking views to go along with the soak of a lifetime is well worth spending a day tracking down this hidden gem. Many try and few succeed. Will you be one to tell the story of failure or one of the best and most relaxing moments of your life?
There are two different soaking pools for you to enjoy, but created by rock walls along side the San Juan River. Depending on the time of year, the temperatures can vary from 95 to 105 degrees. The upper pool area is the closest to the source of the natural mineral waters and hovers around 105 degrees. The lower pooled section is much larger and draws more crowds for socializing. However, it can be much cooler at times averaging around 95 degrees. The few brave like to have a quick soak before jumping into the river to shock the body, before climbing back in to the springs to warm up. It’s the perfect way to relax and rejuvenate the body and mind.
Clothing is optional and due to it’s remote location, you will often find yourself being the sole person there. Due to the hike, it’s also recommended you bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and food. If you want to spend a night, there are some epic camping spots around the area which give you some of the greatest views of the night sky.
Directions to Rainbow Springs
From Pagosa Springs, Colorado
1. Start on US 160 until you see the sign for West Fork Campground (roughly 16 miles)
2. Take CR 648 / Campground Road for 7 miles until you reach the parking area where the trailhead begins
3. It’s roughly a 5 mile hike through the wilderness and can take several hours to do depending on the conditions as well as your ability. It’s almost a thousand feet in elevation change so be prepared for a few breaks if you start feeling light headed or needing to catch your breath.
Take your time and you will be rewarded with one of the greatest soaks of your life. Rainbow Hot Springs gives you everything you could want with tranquility and sense of accomplishment. Happy Soaking!