Rainbow Hot Springs Hike
Your reward at the end of this hike will be a rare opportunity to lie back and immerse your tired body in a waste-deep pool of warm spring water on the shore of a scenic, fast-flowing mountain stream. The spring flows from a small fissure on the east side of the West Fork San Juan River and tumbles down the rock face into two small pools that have been constructed by previous hikers. The lower pool, about 20 feet long and 8 feet wide, is situated right on the shore of the river. Its temperature averages 95 degrees F, but if that is not hot enough you can climb up to the slightly smaller upper pool. The smaller pool is 15 feet closer to the spring and 10 degrees hotter. Most people cannot stay in the upper pool for longer than about 15 minutes, but there is always the option of cooling off in the 50- degree water of the river. Although Rainbow Hot Springs is not well known outside southwestern Colorado it is quite popular among local hikers and you are unlikely to have the springs all to yourself. Nevertheless it can be a very enjoyable hike. There are also a number of fine campsites in the open forest above the springs, and many people do this hike as an overnighter.
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Directions to: Rainbow Hot Springs Hikeprint directions
Trail Statistics & Information
|Nearby City||Pagosa Springs|
|Elevation Gain||1,000 ft|
|Skill Level||Mostly well marked and easy to follow.|
|Season||Summer through mid-Fall. The upper parts of the trail are generally covered with snow from Late November through mid- June.|
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