Southwest and Northwest Colorado – Pagosa Sprngs

Three Day Tour to Pagosa Springs and Ouray Colorado

This journey will take you through the Southwest Region where I stayed the night in Pagosa Springs and then the following day rode to Durango, Silverton, and stopped in Ouray, CO for the night. The next day I took the long way home (the best way) and went into the Northwest Region through Grand Mesa. I planned, mapped, and reserved hotel using all the resources from this website!

Day 1

I hit the road on Monday morning headed to Pagosa Springs, CO to enjoy a relaxing soak in the Famous Pagosa Springs Hot Springs. I took HWY-285 S over Kenosha Pass and through Fairplay all the way to the intersection of HWY-24 N to Buena Vista and HWY-285 S toward Poncha Springs. We’re headed to Pagosa Springs so we will continue S on HWY-285. As we roll South we’ll go through Poncha Springs and over Poncha Pass all the way to HWY-112. At this intersection we turn right and head West until we reach HWY-160 W. Now HWY-160 W will take us over Wolf Creek Pass to our day 1 destination, Pagosa Springs, CO.


There are several places to stay in Pagosa Springs. Where you chose to stay will depend on how much you want to spend, location to the hot springs, and amenities, right? Well, my preference is cheap and easy! Get you mind out of the gutter! Inexpensive room and close to what I want to see or do is what I’m talking about. I chose the San Juan Motel because it was walking distance to the hot springs and it was inexpensive, only $100 for the night. I did not care for the room, personally, it had hard wood floors, no closet space to hang anything, very small bathroom with a shower (no tub), did not have towel racks, and the TV had a huge scratch and did not work very well. The grounds were unkept, long grass and weeds, and old water heaters and piles of wood. The first room I got had dirty sheets so I had to switch rooms and the breakfast were package donuts and danishes with coffee in the lobby. I would find another place to stay next time I visit.

The Pagosa Springs Hot Springs were very nice and I enjoyed a much needed natural mineral springs soak! It cost $35 to enter, $4 towel rental, and I was able to leave and come back if desired. The only thing is that they are only allowed so many guests in the pool area at a time, so when I get back, they could have a line that I would have to wait in to get back in. I stayed for a few hours and when I left for dinner, there was a line! The hot spring pools ranged from 107 degrees (hottest) to a mild 95 degrees down by the river. I stayed in the 103-105 degree range and that suited my tired bones just fine! The pool area also had 1 large pool and two hot tubs (not sure of temps) separate from the rest. There was also a drink station for alcohol and non-alcohol beverages and a snack food area in a covered/shaded area as well.

Pagosa Springs Hot Springs

There were several places to eat in the area, everything from fast food to brewery’s, pizza joints, Mexican food, and small diners. On my way back to the motel I stopped at a place called Kip’s Grill and had a great buffalo burger and a bear.

Day 2

I departed Pagosa Springs and continue South on HWY-160 headed to Durango, CO where I’ll stop at the Durango HD to get a challenge coin. From Durango I picked up HWY-550 N headed to Silverton, CO and stop at the Worlds Highest Harley Store, Silverton HD for another challenge coin.

Pagosa Springs to Ouray via Durango and Silverton, CO
Durango and Silverton Challenge Coins

The route to Silverton is another spectacular ride that will take us over Coal Bank Pass (10,640 ft above sea level) and Molas Pass (10,910 ft above sea level) where there are some great scenic views!

Molas Pass

From Silverton we’ll continue on HWY-550 N to Ouray, CO where I’m going to stop for the night. On the way to Ouray we’ll go over Red Mountain Pass and the famous Million Dollar Highway, and believe me, you don’t want to get caught in bad weather on this road, so check the forecast and know before you go. Before I went to the hotel I stopped at the Box Falls to take a look at this amazing site.

The hotel I stayed at in Ouray was the Riverside Inn and Cabins, and with the exception that they did not have breakfast, it was a great place to stay. The hot tubs were clean and private, the room was very clean with comfortable beds, there was a riverwalk that was about 2 miles round trip, there was a gas station and convenience store onsite and there was jeep rental next door. They were also nice enough to let me check in an hour early.

River Walk

I had dinner at The Goldbelt Bar and Grill (pizza) and I had breakfast at Timerline Deli of Ouray before I packed for the trip home.

Day 3

After breakfast at the Timberline Deli of Ouray I packed up, fueled up, and hit the road for home, via Grand Mesa that is.

I took HWY-550 N / HWY-50 W through Delta to CO HWY-92 E to CO-65 W (Grand Mesa Scenic Byway) which will take us through Cedaredge then on to Grand Mesa. There are a lot of lakes to fish in and many trails to hike or bike. The are is very wooded with wide open spaces between that are breathtaking!

Grand Mesa
Grand Mesa-2

Grand Mesa Scenic Byway (CO HWY-65 W) goes through the town of Mesa and then the road turns into 45 1/2 Rd which is a very curvey road with tall and steep canyon walls that will take us to I-70 E, just West of Parachute, CO. I-70 will get us back to the Denver area after we make one more stop for gas.

Tour Recap

This was a great trip and I would highly recommend it to anybody visiting Colorado. From Denver to Pagosa Springs where I spent a few hours soaking at the famous Pagosa Springs Hot Springs, had a great buffalo burger and a beer at Kips Grill.

Day 2 I rode to Durango and got a challenge coin for my collection, then rode up Coal Bank Pass and Molas Pass on my way to Silverton for another challenge coin, then continued up Red Mountain pass to the Million Dollar Highway and stayed the night in Ouray, CO. I went to see the Box Falls, had a great pizza for dinner and the hotel was great. The only bummer was the road construction by Telluride, CO…I hate road construction!

Day 3 I headed home via Grand Mesa which was a beautiful, relaxing, beginning of great ride home to Denver!

I hope you enjoyed reading about my Colorado Tour in the Southwest and Northwest region and it inspires you to come visit Colordo and tour this beautiful state.

As usual,

Be Safe, Have Fun and Ride On!

Short Shot

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