Pagosa Springs is a Municipality that is the county seat of, and the only incorporated municipality in, Archuleta County, Colorado, United States. The population was 1,727 at the 2010 census. Approximately 65 percent of the land in Archuleta County is either San Juan National Forest or Southern Ute Indian land.
Pagosa Springs and the surrounding county are both experiencing a substantial influx of second-home owners; a 2006 property assessment indicates that 60% of area private properties are owned by non-residents.
Pagosa Springs is located approximately 35 miles (56 km) north of the New Mexico border, nestled at 7,000 feet (2,100 m) on the Western Slope of the Continental Divide. This combination of high desert plateau and dramatic Rocky Mountains to the north and east creates an unusually mild climate, especially in the summer months, when compared with much of the surrounding Southwest. Pagosa is favored with around 300 days of sun each year, as well as four distinct seasons.
The town is located in the upper San Juan Basin, surrounded by the 3 million acre (12,000 km²) San Juan National Forest, and adjacent to the largest wilderness area in the state of Colorado, the Weminuche Wilderness.
The town is named for the sulfur springs located there, including the world’s deepest geothermal hot spring. This “Mother Spring” feeds the pools hosted by three local hot spring soaking locations within town. The largest is at The Springs Resort & Spa which hosts the mother spring. The mineral-rich water continues to be celebrated for its therapeutic powers. The Utes called the sulfur-rich mineral springs Pah gosah, meaning “healing waters”, and visitors from all over the world come to enjoy its hot baths. Some come to cure ailments, others to simply relax in the mineral-rich waters. Other recreational activities in the area include downhill and cross country skiing at nearby Wolf Creek ski area. Snowmobiling in the forest service land is also quite popular. Summertime activities include fishing, hiking, and rafting. Come autumn, the area is a popular destination for hunters, who harvest elk, deer, and other game animals.
“Downtown Pagosa Springs” was the final destination for a duo of truckers in the 1975 country song “Wolf Creek Pass” by C. W. McCall. U.S. Highway 160 from the pass to town goes through a vertical drop of around 5,000 feet (1,500 m), and is described in the song as “hairpin county and switchback city”.
Pagosa Springs is located at 37°16′5″N 107°1′28″W (37.268032, -107.024554).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 4.88 square miles (12.64 km2), of which 4.85 square miles (12.57 km2) is land and 0.027 square miles (0.07 km2), or 0.53%, is water. The area around Pagosa Springs has numerous large waterfalls, including Treasure Falls to the east of town off of Hwy 160 just past the Wolf Creek Pass summit.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,591 people, 633 households, and 415 families residing in the town. The population density was 363.1 people per square mile (140.2/km²). There were 746 housing units at an average density of 170.2 per square mile (65.8/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 74.61% White, 0.50% African American, 2.20% Native American, 0.25% Asian, 18.73% from other races, and 3.71% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 43.18% of the population.
There were 633 households out of which 32.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.1% were married couples living together, 13.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.4% were non-families. 27.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 3.07.
In the town the population was spread out with 27.6% under the age of 18, 9.4% from 18 to 24, 26.9% from 25 to 44, 24.8% from 45 to 64, and 11.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 96.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.3 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $29,469, and the median income for a family was $33,831. Males had a median income of $24,125 versus $21,406 for females. The per capita income for the town was $15,355. About 11.9% of families and 14.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.6% of those under age 18 and 21.1% of those age 65 or over.