Directions: From Downtown Pagosa Springs, turn south on Hot Springs Blvd. Cross over the San Juan River and look for the trailhead on the left.
Reservoir Hill is a recreation area right in the middle of Downtown Pagosa Springs. Just up the hill from The Springs Resort (the main hot springs) the wooded hilltop provides miles of nice wooded trails, and frisbee golf. Twice a year the site is home to wonderful folk and bluegrass festivals, see folkwest.com. The views from the top of the hill are fantastic. To the north you can see the Uncompahgre and Wetterhorn Peaks among others, to the Northwest you can see the cone shaped Pagosa Peak.
There are a few trailheads to access the trail system, this description discusses the two western trailheads; Spa Trailhead & Spring Street Trailhead. Both Traiheads will take you to the same spot, a junction with the Tecolote Loop. The Tenderfoot Trail is the easiest way up the hillside with gentle switchbacks that take you to the Greenhorn Trail and the Tecolote Loop. The Bankshot Trail, starting from Spring Street, is shorter but much steeper and the trail is not as well maintained. Either way, turn right on the Tecolote Loop and cross the dirt road to continue on the Tecolote Loop.
There are many options for trail loops, so this is just one of many possible routes. Follow the Tecolote Loop south along the western edge of the hill, with views of the rolling hills west of Pagosa Springs, to the Rosebud Trail and turn left (uphill). Follow the switchbacks up to the Buena Vista Trail and stay to the right, uphill again. After a short walk, stay straight onto the Terri Smith Memorial Loop and head east to the south of the Radio Tower. The loop will curve around to the north and exit the loop onto the Wapiti Trail towards the Observation Deck (your destination on this hike).
The Wapiti Trail rolls to the north and stay straight at the unsigned junction (now on the Highline Trail). Continue north up and down forested hills to the dirt road and turn right (uphill) towards the Observation Deck. After a few minutes you "summit" the hill and you'll see the scenic Observation Deck. The views from here are wonderful looking to the north. Pagosa Peak dominates the view but various other Weminuche peaks are visible from here.
To the west of the Observation Deck, take the Crosscut Trail along the northern slopes of Reservoir Hill, with more nice northerly views, back to the Dirt Road. Cross the road onto the Wapiti Trail heading south. At the next junction, bear right onto the PBR Trail. Cross another road and hook up with the Tecolote Trail again or follow the dirt road back to the Bankshot/Tecolote Loop junction. From here you can descend the hill on the Bankshot Trail or continue north on the Tecolote Loop back to the Greenhorn Trail.
Reservoir Hill is a pleasant shady hike with nice San Juan views but the best part of this hike is the proximity to the Hot Springs. After your hike, take a relaxing soak along the San Juan River, or head over to Riff Raff Brewpub for refreshments. You gotta love Pagosa Springs...
Photos from September 3, 2016
Photos from May 13, 2009
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- INTERACTIVE MAP
Reservoir Park Observation Deck
Reservoir Hill Mountain Park
Date Hiked: September 3, 2016
Distance: 2.5 mi (RT)
Elevation Gain: 630 ft
Elevation Min/Max: 7,080 to 7,505 ft
Trailhead Lat/Long: 37º 15' 55" N; 107º 00' 29" W
Managing Agency: City of Pagosa Springs