hiking trails in durango

Best Hiking Trails in Durango

Hikers will face some unforgettable adventures by heading for many of the trails near Durango. The town itself offers you a kaleidoscope of color, particularly during the fall. Located in southwest Colorado, it is just a short drive from Four Corners Monument, where New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado meet. Most hikers agree that these trails are desirable if you are looking for a quick-hour hike or seeking all-day challenges. So here are some of the best hiking trails in Durango!

Animas River Trail

Best Hiking Trails in Durango 1

  • Stretches nearly seven miles
  • Easy access to parks, open spaces
  • Discovered by Juan Maria Antonio Rivera in 1765

When hikers discuss the best trails to hike in the Durango area, the Animas River Trail is often at the top of their list. It is a beautiful trail that offers you several changes in scenery as you progress in your climb. While hiking, there is an unusual fish hatchery worthy of your visit. There is also a fantastic waterfall that offers a refreshing place to stop and cool down. You might also want to stop by and visit the extraordinary science museum. The Animas River Trail is paved, and it is accessible for all skill levels.

Rim Trail/Campus Loop

  • Good for beginning hikers
  • Great views
  • Visit Fort Lewis College campus

Rim Trail is a fantastic place to savor magnificent sunsets over the town and the mountains to the west. You will enjoy a pleasant hiking trail running along the ridge where the Ft. Lewis College is located. There is a small parking lot, near the battlefields, to the west of the campus to park your car. Once you begin your climb, you will be amazed by the sheer beauty the area has to offer. You can also relax while you enjoy every moment of this gentle hike.

Potato Lake Trail

  • Features high altitude lakes
  • Some demanding areas during the hike
  • Offers a beautiful backcountry lake and scenery

Some people consider the Potato Lake Trail a relatively easy trail, although some areas are challenging. It is located in a lovely spot, and you only have two miles to hike round-trip. There is an elevation change of only 400 feet. Even so, the hike will take you to a fabulous backcountry lake. There you will see some unusual sites, including impressive lily pads of all shapes and sizes. Interestingly, the locals call this Spud Lake. This gorgeous trail offers groves of aspen, which intermingle with the multi-size rocks. If you look for it, you will spot a break in the woods, which provides a spectacular view across the beautifully forested valley below. When you complete your hike, go toward the west end of the lake where the West Needles and their craggy tops provide a classic Rocky Mountains backdrop.

Haflin Creek Trail

Best Hiking Trails in Durango 2

  • Climb a few thousand feet during five miles of hiking
  • Climbing rated as difficult
  • Fantastic view at the top

Be prepared for a somewhat challenging hike. It is mostly a steady, gradual incline during the entire climb. A few spots are located along the way where you can take a break and catch some beautiful pictures. You will be astonished by the views at the top as well as some little critters you will see moving about. Be sure to watch out for rattlesnakes coming out from under the rocks and the bushes alongside the trail.

Purgatory Trail

  • 20% beginner, 45% intermediate, 35% Advanced/expert
  • This 10.3-mile trail sees heavy traffic
  • Summit elevation is 10,822

It can be a difficult trail to traverse, but well worth it once you see the lake. It is also a great area for bird watching, allowing you to see numerous species. It is also well-known as a grazing area, so it is not unusual to encounter cattle at any time.

Goulding Creek Trail

Best Hiking Trails in Durango 3

  • Six-mile round-trip hike
  • Great place to spot elk in Southwest
  • The trail is moderately difficult

Goulding Creek Trail can be a rugged trail to hike. First things first – you need to find it. This is because the trailhead is on a Forest Service road that is not mapped on Google or other apps. So, be sure to understand where it is you are going. After you climb about a third of a mile, you are out of the brush and into the woods. Here the trail begins switch-backing up the mountain. You will have a first-hand view of the fire that ravaged the area a few years ago. The further you climb, the more the environment attracts you. There are particularly impressive views of the Animus River Valley. Eventually, you will hear the melodious sounds, and then you will be hiking alongside the creek. The hike offers a variety of different visions. Some of these include beautiful flowers and other growth, while others show how destructive a fire can be. It is an adventure you will not forget.

Located in the San Juan Mountains, Durango offers locals and visitors the opportunity to enjoy some of Colorado’s most spectacular hiking. Since the area offers so many hiking areas, everyone can find a suitable trail to hike.

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