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Pagosa Springs
Thursday, September 21, 2023

Riverwalk wetland tours begin May 31

Photo courtesy Jean Zirnhelt
The Riverwalk Naturalist Program guides prepare for another year of welcoming visitors and residents to the Riverwalk wetlands.

By Josh Pike | Pagosa Wetland Partners

The Riverwalk wetlands are one of the richest and most unique natural areas around Pagosa Springs. Fed by geothermal water, they are filled with an extraordinary diversity of birds, plants and mammals, and an abundance of natural beauty. 

Easily accessed by the Riverwalk trail that winds through the wetlands, they form an oasis of nature and peace in the middle of downtown Pagosa Springs. And now, for the second year, you have the opportunity to explore the wetlands through the free nature tours being offered weekly by the Riverwalk Naturalist Program.

This program is the result of a partnership between Pagosa Wetland Partners, The Springs Resort and Weminuche Audubon Society, and will offer four guided naturalist tours of the wetlands every week between May 31 and Aug. 30 and two tours a week between Aug. 2 and Sept. 27. 

These tours provide a bevy of information on the ecology, geology and history of the area as well as a prime opportunity to observe the wildlife of the wetlands and relax in their soothing beauty. Each tour is led by our passionate and knowledgeable guides, community members who are excited to share the wetlands and their value with you.

Free tours will be offered starting at 8 a.m. on Friday and Saturday mornings and 7 p.m. on Tuesday and Saturday evenings from May to August. In September, tours will be offered at 9 a.m. on Saturday mornings and 6 p.m. on Tuesday evenings. No reservations are required; just show up when you want to join us. 

Each tour will last between one and 1.5 hours and will involve an approximately 1.5-mile walk on a paved trail. People of all ages, abilities and identities are welcomed to join us. Tours will meet at the Native Plants Garden on the Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership site in Centennial Park behind the courthouse. Tours will then follow the Riverwalk trail through the wetlands, ending near Town Hall. At the end of the tour, participants will have options for their walk back to their lodging or vehicle.

Bringing binoculars and a water bottle is recommended, as many wetland animals, such as birds, are more easily seen with binoculars and the trail can be quite warm in summer. We ask that you leave your furry friends at home, as their presence will often disturb wildlife on the trail and reduce the amount of things we can see. However, service animals are always welcome.

Each tour is quite different, as the wildlife and situations encountered vary greatly across different days and times of day. Therefore, coming to multiple tours is encouraged to get the full portrait of the Riverwalk wetlands. We look forward to welcoming residents and visitors to explore the wetlands with us for a second year. 

Contact us at pagosawetlands@gmail.com if you have questions. Otherwise, we will see you on the trail.

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