The Western Slope is home to a number of excellent hiking trails, and Durango is no exception. Thanks to its location in the San Juan Mountains, locals and visitors alike believe Durango is home to some of the most spectacular hiking in Colorado.
For hikers eager to explore some new trail options this spring, here are six of our favorite scenic trails in Durango.
Ranked as an intermediate hike with almost 1,100 feet of elevation gain, the Smelter Mountain Trail is accessible year-round. The trail is 1.2 miles long, so it’s ideal for a quick, steep escape into nature.
Once you reach the top, you’ll have an expansive view of Durango. Plus, if you wait to go after April 15, you can take your dog on the hike with you.
For a longer day hike, consider Animas Mountain Trail. The six-mile, moderate trail is known for its active wildlife and pet-friendly paths.
The trail is closed in the wintertime but opens in March, just in time for spring. This is one of Durango’s most beloved hikes, so expect to share the trail with others who want to explore the area.
Junction Creek is an eight-mile stretch of the famous Colorado Trail, which is 567 miles long.
As one of the more family-friendly trails in Durango, this hike is ranked as a relatively easy option for families of all ages. Due to its length, this is a wonderful option for a longer day hike, especially if you have children or want a less strenuous trek.
Don’t forget to bring a picnic, too, because there are several great picnic settings along the trail.
Goulding Creek Trail has many switchbacks (zig-zag routes that protect the trail from erosion and make it easier to hike up steep terrain), so the six-mile hike is considered an intermediate option for hikers.
The switchbacks make mountain biking difficult, which means the trail is primarily used by runners and hikers, making it a little less crowded. Since it goes directly through the foothills of the San Juan Mountains, the Goulding Creek Trail offers more of a challenge than some of the easier hiking trails in Durango.
At nearly four miles long, Church Camp Meadow Trail follows a ridgeline in the San Juan Mountains. Due to its elevation and sometimes rockier path, it’s considered an intermediate hike. The trail is popular because of its incredible views and interesting terrain — it’s a challenging hike with a variety of landscapes.
One of Durango’s more challenging hikes, the Raider Ridge Overlook Trail is 5.2 miles long and winds through a forest. Mountain biking is popular along this trail, so be sure to brush up on your trail etiquette before hitting the trail — here are ten of the most important rules to remember.