Current Temp. 52°

History of Poncha Springs

 Printable Version

Poncha Springs, originally Poncho Springs, is the small town just west of Salida, right on Highway 285.  South from town, the highway crosses from the Arkansas River drainage into the San Luis Valley and the Rio Grande basin.  Historically, Spain claimed the entire Rio Grande drainage right to the top of the pass.  France claimed the land to the north.  After much legal work, France sold their claim to America in 1803 as the Louisiana Purchase. 

Captain Zebulon Pike explored the Arkansas basin in 1806/7.  He and his men failed to find game further north and were nearing starvation when they came across a small herd of buffalo on Christmas Day.  They feasted very close to modern day Poncha Springs.

Traditionally, Utes and Apaches used the valley as part of their hunting territory.  They presumably used the hot springs for centuries. 

The first cabin in Poncha was built in 1866 by a pair of prospectors.  The town exploded in anticipation of the prospective rail yard.  But then, the D&RG railroad chose Salida instead.  Poncha remained a tiny town supported by farming and tourism.  In 1956, even the school shut down. 

The water from Poncha’s hot springs is piped five miles to the Salida Aquatic Center. 

Current Weather in Poncha Springs
Find more about Weather in Poncha Springs, CO

Historic building in Ponch Springs, Colorado

Upcoming Events

Farmer's Market Salida (free)

Saturday,  July 21

Salida

Salida Riverside Art & Music Festival (free)

Saturday,  July 21

Salida

Leadville Train Wildflower Special

Saturday,  July 21

Leadville

Farmer's Market Buena Vista (free)

Sunday,  July 22

Buena Vista

Burro Days (free)

Friday,  July 27

Fairplay

See all Events >

Colorado's Best Deals

Get Deals, Discounts, Information and more, in your inbox!