Piedra Hot Springs. Near Chimney Rock, Colorado. Summer 2019

The Piedra River

About 7 miles up a forest service fire road and a 4 mile round trip hike down and back, this little known gem sits on the side of The Piedra River between Durango and Pagosa Springs. These springs are a little remote and don’t get a whole lot of visitors. What a treat, and right out my back door!

Hippie pools

Being an avid hot spring junkie and a recovering hippie I had wanted to visit this place for a while, I had just never gotten around to it. But I’m damn glad I finally did! It was TOTALLY worth it and was a good reminder of why I live here. See, sometimes you get caught up in the daily grind of life and forget about taking the time to enjoy the simple joys. Like sitting your ass in some hot water and taking in the solitude and beauty of nature.

The hot springs

I set out on a Friday afternoon in Annie ( my Tiger Adventure Vehicle) to go get away. I needed some alone time to ponder…….Life has been raining on me lately so it was fitting that there was a storm brewing and the road in, the trailhead and the trail to the river bottom were a slimy quagmire. I arrived at the Sheep Creek trailhead around 5 PM and started my descent down the steep trail. After slipping and sliding for about a mile I finally hit a GORGEOUS meadow. I wiped out a couple of times and was a muddy mess by the time I got there, but after a leisurely 15 minute hike upstream I finally saw the pools and thought to myself ” I have found paradise!” It was deserted except for me, my thoughts and the doobie I rolled at the trailhead…… I got naked (which at almost 50 is not a pretty sight), lit up the fatty and stuck my hand in 5 or 6 of the shallow rock pools until I found one to my liking and climbed in. It was delightful! A couple of puffs later all was good…….

The trail down to the river

Prior visitors have constructed these pools by piling up river rocks and you can control the heat by simply moving a rock or two to let cold river water in, throw a rock or two more to dam it up or move some sand with your feet to let more heat up from underneath……. Really cool! I have a pretty good life and I’m extremely blessed to live in a place that hasn’t been TOO overrun by the masses yet, but it’s happening faster than I would like. Colorado isn’t the same place it was when I moved here 28 years ago……

Beautiful meadow at the bottom of the hill

After about an hour of soaking I knew I’d be racing darkness so I got dressed and started the climb back to my rig. It was an ASS KICKER hiking back out! Steep and muddy from the rain. I took my time because at 8500 ft the air is thin.

I finally made it back to Annie and settled in for the night by searing some flesh on the grill and then crawled into bed. Vowing to return soon…….


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