With spring approaching, it is the perfect time to get out outdoors and experience the amazing hiking opportunities in Durango. There are strenuous hikes for those who want to test their limits. For those just wanting to see a view but not necessarily break a sweat, there are amazing overlooks as well.
Animas Mountain Loop
With various side trails that link to the main trail, this 6 mile loop is a popular one. The entire loop has incredible views in all directions. Because the trail is quite steep, some hikers just head up to one of several great vantage points instead of completing the entire loop. From downtown Durango, make a left on 32nd Street (west of Main Avenue) to its end on W. 4th Avenue. Turn right and travel about 2 blocks to the end of the street where parking is available.
Horse Gulch Trail
The great thing about Horse Gulch is that it's an entire trail system. It accomodates all levels of ability and distance and is popular for hiking, trail running, and mountain biking. Start with a half mile climb into the meadow where you'll find signs explaining the different trail options. Most beginners start with the short and flat meadow loop, but there are plenty of longer options if you're ready to hit it hard.
Perins Peak Trail is said to be one of the most rewarding (and less crowded) day hikes in Durango if you're up for the 7 mile roundtrip journey. There is more than one place to start. The two most recommended options are taking the same route as you would for Hogsback Trail in Overend Mountain Park (just follow the Perins Peak markers) or starting at the intersection between Rockridge and Tanglewood Dr and taking the back way up.
Animas Overlook Trail
Just about a half hour drive from Durango, the Animas Overlook provides a great vantage point of the Animas Valley and San Juan Mountains. It has picnic tables and is ADA accessible (no more than a 5% grade, pavement 3 feet wide). The loop is less than a mile (about 0.8 m) and makes a great option for beginner hikers or those who just want to enjoy a nice lunch spot in the outdoors with little effort.
The Lion's Den
The Lion's Den is a brick covered picnic area overlooking the Animas Valley and surrounding mountains. The hike to this spot is just over a mile long and is considered a fairly easy, kid friendly trail option. You can park at the Chapman Hill Skating Rink and find the trail heading up from the dirt lot. There's a bench with a good view that makes a good marker about halfway up if you don't want to go all the way to the top.
Dry Fork Loop
The 3.9 mile Dry Fork Loop is popular among all outdoor adventures and is beautiful with wildflowers in the springtime. It begins at the west side of the Junction Creek trailhead parking area where you will climb about a mile before turning left at the split. As you continue to climb you'll find yourself among pine trees, scrub oak, and even aspens. The loop continues onto the Colorado Trail and Hofheins Connection, with a final left turn taking you back to the parking lot.
These are just suggested hikes in the area but there are many others you will enjoy! Our hiking page lists guidelines along with a few other trails. Do you have other trails you love? Please share with us! Follow us on instagram and share your favorite hiking pictures with us at #DurangoCO. You might see yourself featured! Get outdoors and enjoy all Durango has to offer!
*Every year the Bureau of Land Management Colorado implements seasonal closures of trail access across the state to reduce disturbance to wintering wildlife. These closures usually take place between December & April. Please see BLM Colorado's interactive map of seasonal closures before planning your outdoor activities.