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Pagosa Springs is well known year-round for its thermal waters, but it also charms with its cultural and outdoor activities

Pagosa Springs may seem like a sleepy little ski town but that’s not exactly the case.

Sure, it’s generally known as the bedroom community for Wolf Creek Ski Area, with some world-class hot springs.

But Pagosa Springs boasts a year-round professional theater, a quirky little museum dedicated to a renowned comic strip writer and artist, several micro breweries – including one that taps its own root beer – fine dining and many outdoor activities besides skiing.

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The town sits atop what has been measured as the world’s deepest thermal springs and three sites in town offer easy access to the soothing waters, said Jennifer Green, director of Visit Pagosa Springs.

The Healing Waters Resort & Spa (pshotsprings.com) offers a large, naturally heated, mineral pool in addition to more intimate tubs.

The Overlook Hot Springs (overlookhotsprings.com) has rooftop perches for uninhibited views of the surroundings, as well as a private tub room.

And the Springs Resort & Spa (pagosahotsprings.com), snuggled alongside the San Juan River, has 23 different soaking tubs, with five of those for adults only.

“The hot springs are a great attraction year round,” Green said. “The hot water is certainly a nice way to relax at the end of the day.”

Especially when that day was spent on the mountains of Wolf Creek (wolfcreekski.com), Green said.

new map temp_oct_15“We’re a destination ski area,” said Rosanne Haidorfer-Pitcherm spokeswoman for the resort.

Because of the large snow pack, the ski area appears to be on pace to staying open through the first week of April, she said.

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“It’s hard to get people excited about skiing in April,” she said with a chuckle. “But sometimes we extend the season. We do that if we see that we’re in some good winter storm cycles. March and April can be very snowy months for us but it hasn’t been that way for us in a little while.”

In addition to the world-class skiing and snowboarding, the ski area grooms about 10 miles of trails for Nordic skiing, which is available for free use, she said.

And that helps make the area a huge draw for folks who enjoy a less-intense ski rush, said Dan Batwinas, secretary for the Pagosa Springs Nordic Club (pagosanordic.com).

The club oversees the maintenance of about 37 miles, of which at least 12 is groomed for Nordic and skate skiing, he said.

The U.S. Forest Service also maintains trails in the San Juan National Forest near Coyote Hill, Batwinas said. And all of them are free to ski.

And when the timing is just right after the Wolf Creek Trailblazers Snowmobile Club has groomed miles upon miles of roads, vast tracts are primed for skiing, he said, at least until the snowmobiles come through.

For some alternative snow action, the High Country Tubing Park (highcountrytubingpark.com) has a three-lane, 450-foot long tubing run for the young and the young at heart, said France Kudelski, who owns the Park and the accompanying High Country Lodge (highcountrylodge.com) with her husband, former NHL player Bob Kudelski.

“We’re the only place to go unless you want to climb up into the woods with snow up to your hips,” she said. “The lanes are made to fit the tubes.”

When the day of fun is done, a trip to the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts (pagosacenter.org) is a full-force, year-round professional theater company,” said Laura Moore, who owns the theater with her husband, Tim Moore.

Riff Raff Brewing is one of the local breweries.

Riff Raff Brewing is one of the local breweries.

The theater runs four national-talent musical productions over the summer, beginning with “A Few Good Men,” coming up in May, she said.

“People are always pretty surprised that a theater here in Pagosa Springs doing four major musicals,” Laura Moore said.

The theater also has an art gallery and right now it’s featuring the work of travel artist Virginia Baxt, showing through the first June, Laura Moore said.

When it’s time for night cap, the microbrew houses have just the thing. Pagosa Brewing & Grill not only offers up an array of beers for any palette, it also has its own root beer that’s a hit with the kids, Green said. It also has tours of the brew works.

And the Riff Raff Brewing Co. (riffraffbrewing.com) is just the second brewery in the world to take advantage of spring-fed geothermal energy, she said.

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