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Kyle Jenkins | 06.12.2019

Southwestern Colorado has earned its reputation for being a great place to enjoy the outdoors, and the town of Durango is its adventure capital. With dozens of hiking and biking trails that dot the landscape around town, Durango offers visitors a wide array of choices within minutes at many different skill and difficulty levels. Add these top trails to your list the next time you head to Durango, and finish off a hard day outside by heading downtown to enjoy the region's best restaurants and breweries.

 


Surveying the Durango area atop Animas Mountain. Kyle Jenkins.

Animas Mountain Loop: This incredible 6-mile loop offers a great overview of all the Durango area has to offer. Views to the east showcase the Animas River cutting through town, while incredible views to the north reveal red rock and the San Juan Mountains. You can hike and bike this trail and not even have to leave the city.

Goulding Creek Trail: Located 17 miles north of town, this rugged and remote hike offers some of the best autumn color in the area when its aspen burst into bright yellow and orange hues in September. At the apex of the 6-mile, round-trip hike, you will be able to see into the Hermosa Cliffs Roadless Area and possibly spot some of the many elk that frequent the area.

Perin's Peak: Hike to the top of one of the most recognizable features looming over Durango. The nearly 7-mile hike gets steep in parts, but that helps keep the large crowds at bay. The views are amazing, and the sense of solitude is even better.

 


Stunning views toward the San Juan Mountains north of Smelter Mountain. Kyle Jenkins.

Smelter Mountain Trail: A steep and rocky hiking trail with killer views of Lake Nighthorse, all of town, and the San Juan Mountains. Located just south of town, this doesn't have quite as much traffic as others, and it doesn't require a lot of time. The 4-mile trail gains nearly all of its 1,000 feet of elevation in the first mile.

Colorado Trail to Gudy's Rest: Most people will never complete the nearly 500-mile Colorado Trail, but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't enjoy a beautiful section of the trail northwest of town. The 8-mile round trip gains 1,200 feet before intersecting with the Junction Creek Trail, but it is not too steep to be done by most hikers of normal ability.

 


Singletrack and spectacular views on the Spur Line Trails. Kyle Jenkins.

The Spur Line Trails: A great place for beginner mountain bike riders who aren't yet comfortable with steep and technical descents. Found just southeast of town, this relatively new set of trails is perfect for the whole family or even more advanced riders looking for a place to enjoy easygoing exercise.

Animas River Trail: A nearly 6-mile walking and biking path that hugs the Animas River as it cuts Durango down the middle. Perfect for anyone who doesn't want to deal with a thousand feet of gain like many of the nearby hikes require, the trail is also loved by local fisherman and parents with young kids.

Raiders Ridge: A great example of the steep and technical downhill that the Horse Gulch and Telegraph trail systems have to offer. There are many nearby trails to access the ridge that can be done in shorter or much longer sections, depending on your access points and whether you are shuttling or riding back to the trailhead. Raiders Ridge is further proof that you don't even need to leave Durango proper to find serious riding.

 


Carving a line on singletrack at Meadow Loop. Kyle Jenkins.

Meadow Loop via Horse Gulch: Nearly a mile up Horse Gulch Trail is a fun loop for intermediate mountain bikers. This trail can be done in a 3.3-mile loop or connected to the much larger Telegraph trail system to the east.

Carbon Junction and beyond: The Carbon Junction trailhead offers several different options for hikers and bikers. Hikers can find great views and a variety of terrain from forest to meadows. Bikers can can easily connect to the South Rim and Sidewinder Trail if they are looking for longer rides.

Big Canyon Trail: Often accessed from the top down by way of South Rim Trail, you can also start from the Big Canyon Trailhead and climb as high as Cowboy Trail to find downhill action on your way back. A large curving rock wall acts a perfect bank turn on this fun and fast ride.

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Visit Durango

Durango is nestled in the Four Corners area of Southwest Colorado, surrounded by mountain peaks and away from the frenzy. A premier four-season destination, Durango offers unparalleled cultural, historic and outdoor attractions. Your adventure starts within half an hour of touching down! Get More. Visit durango.org or call 970-247-3500.

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