Piedra River Hot Springs – Arboles, CO

In the heart of Colorado, where the winds whisper secrets of hot springs long coveted by weary travelers, lies the majestic Piedra River Hot Springs. Nestled along the banks of the Piedra River, this hidden gem offers respite from the hustle and bustle of city life. The verdant landscape stretches as far as the eye can see, adorned with green grass and sprightly plant life, while the melody of river water serenades its visitors.

Hiking Piedra River Hot Springs, one can’t help but be in awe of the surrounding beauty. The steep switchbacks demand a spirit of adventure, the elevation gain urging one to reach for the sky. A mile roundtrip hike stands between the curious explorer and the mystical hot springs pools, but the rewards are worth the journey.

In the shadow of the towering Chimney Rock National Monument, a testament to the region’s rich Native American history, the hot springs beckon. Step into the hot water, ranging from 100-107 degrees, and feel your body succumb to the healing embrace of nature’s elixir. The mineral-rich spring waters are a balm for the weary soul.

From Pagosa Springs, venture down the marked road of Piedra Road, a dirt path leading towards serenity. Along the way, a quarter mile detour offers a glimpse of Chimney Rock Archaeological Area, where ancient stories are etched into the stone. As daylight dwindles, the anticipation builds for the soothing waters that lie just beyond the horizon.

As you prepare to embark on this journey, remember to treat the sacred land and its beautiful nature with care. And when the sun sets and the hot springs winds whisper their lullaby, may you find solace in the warm embrace of Piedra River Hot Springs.


Free Primitive Pool  at Piedra River Hot Springs
Free Primitive Pool at Piedra River Hot Springs

Nestled within Colorado’s rugged landscape, the Piedra River Hot Springs beckon like an oasis in the wilderness. Just beyond the quaint town of Pagosa Springs, a dirt road called Piedra Road leads to this haven of serenity. The journey, filled with steep switchbacks, reminds one of life’s uphill climbs, testing the mettle of those who venture forth.

The trailhead parking at Sheep’s Creek Trail greets hikers with a challenge: a mile roundtrip hike that demands both courage and determination. Yet, as they traverse the trail, the verdant plant life sways gently in the hot springs winds, as if encouraging the intrepid explorers to push on.

With the Chimney Rock National Monument standing sentinel in the distance, the Piedra River Hot Springs emerge like a well-kept secret among the river rocks. The access to these soothing waters may not be easy, but the rewards are worth the effort – a testament to the adage that the best things in life are often hidden just beyond the horizon.


Piedra River Hot Spring withstands a long history
Piedra River Hot Spring withstands a long history

The Piedra River Hot Springs has a rich and varied past, one that is divided into two distinct eras: the native Americans, and the modern era.

Native American History

In the shadow of the majestic Chimney Rock National Monument, the Piedra River Hot Springs have long been a source of solace and rejuvenation for the native tribes who called this land home. For centuries, the hot water has whispered secrets of healing and renewal, drawing people to its nurturing embrace.

Etched into the ancient stones, the stories of these tribes have withstood the test of time. As you hike the mile roundtrip trail, the echoes of the past linger in the air, melding with the hot springs winds, as if to remind us of the deep connection between man and nature.

Modern History

As modernity encroached upon the tranquil realm of the Piedra River Hot Springs, the lure of the healing waters persisted. Today, Pagosa Springs serves as a gateway to this enchanted world, where the passage of time seems to slow down and the worries of the world fade away.

Visitors to the Springs Resort, Healing Waters Hot Springs Spa, or the Chimney Rock Interpretive Association immerse themselves in a legacy that spans generations. The experience is transformative – a reminder that even in our fast-paced world, the power of nature remains steadfast.

The Piedra River Hot Springs stand as a testament to the resilience of history, where the stories of the past merge with the present, forging a bond that transcends time.

Hot Springs Pool

Piedra River – near Pagosa Springs-Arboles, CO. Photo: San Juan National Park
Piedra River – near Pagosa Springs – Arboles, CO. Photo: San Juan National Park

Hidden within a labyrinth of river rock and embraced by the Piedra River’s cool currents, the Piedra River Hot Springs offer a sanctuary of warmth and solace. These rock-walled hot spring pools, each unique in size and shape, invite the weary traveler to step in and leave their burdens behind.

The hot springs water, nature’s healing balm, ranges in temperature from 100 to 107 degrees. The hottest pool, a veritable hot spot, envelops the body in soothing warmth, while the gentle flow of the river nearby cools the senses, offering a perfect balance of elements to rejuvenate the mind and body.

As the steam from the hot springs mingles with the cool mountain air, a lush tapestry of plant life flourishes nearby. Green grass carpets the landscape, while wildflowers dance in the hot springs winds, weaving a story of resilience and beauty in this oasis of serenity.

The Piedra River Hot Springs serve as a refuge for wildlife as well, creating a symphony of life amidst the tranquil surroundings. Deer graze contentedly on the green grass, while birdsong fills the air, a reminder of nature’s harmonious balance.

In this secluded paradise, where the hot springs pools beckon and the landscape teems with life, one can’t help but feel a profound connection to the world around them – a reminder of the enduring power of nature’s embrace.

How to Get There

If you’re aiming for Piedra River Hot Springs, you have two ways to get there: driving or hiking. Why not choose the latter and explore the area with your own two feet? You can take in the sights, sounds, and smells of nature as you make your way to your destination – it’s an experience you won’t soon forget! Alternatively, if you’d prefer to take it easy, you can always drive and have a chance to take in the views from the comfort of your car. Either way, you’re sure to have a great time.

Car Directions from Pagosa Springs

From the heart of Pagosa Springs, the journey to Piedra River Hot Springs begins. Head north on Hot Springs Blvd, where the road unfolds like an invitation to adventure. A short drive leads to Piedra Road, a dirt path that stretches towards the horizon, its twists and turns echoing the contours of the land.

With the impressive Chimney Rock National Monument as a distant beacon, navigate the mile markers, Forest Development Road, and Forest Road 621, where each bend in the road brings you closer to the healing embrace of the hot springs.

Hiking Directions

Upon reaching the trailhead parking at Sheep’s Creek Trail, the true adventure begins. Lace up your hiking boots and embark on a mile roundtrip hike, where steep switchbacks and an elevation gain of 450 feet challenge both body and spirit.

As you tread the well-worn path, surrounded by the beauty of nature, the anticipation builds. The hot springs pools, their steam rising like a siren’s call, await just beyond the final bend. As the Piedra River Trail unfolds beneath your feet, the promise of solace at the end of the journey keeps you moving forward, where the soothing waters of the Piedra River Hot Springs await.

Things to Do Near Piedra River Hot Springs

There are plenty of exciting activities in the area. From hiking through gorgeous forests and fishing in the river, to exploring the hot springs and admiring the stunning views, there’s something to suit every kind of traveler. Whether you’re looking for an adventurous day trip or a peaceful weekend getaway, you’ll find it at Piedra River Hot Springs.

Chimney Rock National Monument

While visiting the Piedra River Hot Springs, take time to explore the Chimney Rock National Monument. This ancient marvel of nature and history towers over the landscape, its stories etched in stone, waiting to be discovered. Embark on a guided tour, led by the knowledgeable Chimney Rock Interpretive Association, to delve deeper into the mysteries of the past.

Turkey Springs Recreational Area

A short drive from the hot springs, Turkey Springs Recreational Area offers a respite amidst nature’s splendor. The area features a network of hiking and mountain biking trails, where one can immerse themselves in the beauty of the landscape. With the sun casting its golden light on the trails, the spirit of adventure is palpable in the air.

Rainbow Hot Springs

For those who seek more of nature’s healing waters, a visit to Rainbow Hot Springs is a must. Nestled deep in the wilderness, these secluded hot spring pools offer a serene escape from the world. Embrace the adventure of a downhill hike, where the promise of soothing waters waits to reward your efforts.

Stargazing and Camping

As daylight fades and the sky transforms into a tapestry of stars, the Piedra River Hot Springs area becomes a haven for stargazing. With the absence of city lights, the heavens reveal their celestial beauty. Set up camp near the hot springs, with stone campfire rings providing a warm and welcoming glow, and allow the night sky to share its secrets with you.

The Piedra River Hot Springs region offers a wealth of experiences for those who heed the call of adventure. From ancient monuments to secluded hot springs, the landscape holds a treasure trove of memories just waiting to be made.


In conclusion, the Piedra River Hot Springs region, with its hidden gem Sheep Creek Hot Springs, is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking the healing embrace of nature. With just a mile hike separating you from the soothing waters, this hot springs destination is accessible to those willing to embrace the challenge.

Be sure to set aside plenty of time and bring plenty of water to enjoy the entire experience. As stewards of this beautiful landscape, it is our duty to keep it pristine for future generations – remember to clean up after yourself and leave no trace, including beer cans.

Embarking on this journey armed with a hot springs guide, you will discover the marvels of Colorado Hot Springs, from the hottest pool to the flat rocks that provide a place to relax and take in the serene surroundings. The entrance road, flanked by lane mountain roads, leads you to a world of natural wonder and enchantment.

From Monument Park Road to the 4-mile trail that weaves its way through the lush landscape, there is much to explore and experience. Whether you are seeking a rejuvenating hot springs resort or a more rugged hot springs vacation, the Piedra River Hot Springs region has it all.

So, heed the call of the wild and immerse yourself in the magic of the Piedra River Hot Springs. Be captivated by the allure of nature’s healing waters, and let the memories of this remarkable journey linger long after you’ve returned home.


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Local Information

Address: San Juan National Forest, Arboles, CO 81121
GPS: 37.311943,-107.355327
Season: Summer to Fall
Type: Primitive, free, 1.5-mile hike access
Clothing: Optional
Temp: 100°-107° F




Anne loves to explore the world and share her experiences through her blog. She loves to travel to places that are off the beaten path and find unique experiences to share with her readers. She also loves to share tips on how to make the most of a trip, from budgeting to activities. She hopes that her blog will inspire others to explore the world and enjoy the beauty of nature.