Photo: Pagosa Hot Springs – Ca. 1885

Photo: Pagosa Hot Springs – Ca. 1885

In the Southern Ute language “pah gosah” translates to “healing waters” or possibly as a Ute elder once translated the phrase as “water (pah) that has a bad smell (gosah).” The spring has healing powers and the unmistakable sulfur odor so either translation might be correct. Either way, thus did the town of Pagosa Springs get its name. Pictured is the “Mother Spring,” taken in about 1885. Today, this spring still feeds three separate soaking locations. It is the deepest geothermal hot springs in the world. “The Guinness Book of World Records” has certified the record depth as at least 1,002 feet. The spring is actually deeper, but no one knows exactly how deep because the plumb line used to measure attained its maximum length before reaching the bottom.

The water temperature is reliably between 110 and 144 degrees. The springs are known to have been used by the Ancestral Puebloans. Later, members of the Ute, Navajo and Apache tribes all enjoyed its healing properties.

Ed Horvat for Animas Museum, edhorvat@animasmuseum.org

Photo: Pagosa Hot Springs – Ca. 1885

In the Southern Ute language “pah gosah” translates to “healing waters” or possibly as a Ute elder once translated the phrase as “water (pah) that has a bad smell (gosah).” The spring has healing powers and the unmistakable sulfur odor so either translation might be correct. Either way, thus did the town of Pagosa Springs get its name. Pictured is the “Mother Spring,” taken in about 1885. Today, this spring still feeds three separate soaking locations. It is the deepest geothermal hot springs in the world. “The Guinness Book of World Records” has certified the record depth as at least 1,002 feet. The spring is actually deeper, but no one knows exactly how deep because the plumb line used to measure attained its maximum length before reaching the bottom.

The water temperature is reliably between 110 and 144 degrees. The springs are known to have been used by the Ancestral Puebloans. Later, members of the Ute, Navajo and Apache tribes all enjoyed its healing properties.

Ed Horvat for Animas Museum, edhorvat@animasmuseum.org