Spring Hiking in Durango

 

Hiking in Durango, dogs in Durango, Engineer Trail, Southwest Colorado

 

Durango is a crossroads for many extraordinary hiking trails that are accessible nearly all year around. The sunny days, abundant water, and gorgeous views are ideal for hiking excursions in southwest Colorado. The Colorado Trail’s Southern Terminus is located in Durango and much of the Continental Divide Trail is accesible from close by areas. You can grab skis or a board and summit a peak in the spring, just to ski back down. However, if you’re not interested in worrying about snow-related mishaps, Durango still offers many day excursions.

It’s no coincidence Durango’s trail systems are already being prepped and ready for spring hiking. The San Juan National Forest and the Weminuche Wilderness are close to Durango, not to mention the expansive wildernesses that Utah has to offer. So, for those who are hoping to gain some alpine views or explore in the desert, Durango is the right place to be. Spring hiking can be tricky here because of the melting snow, but here are a few options that I’ve visited in the past week.

 

Hiking statistics found on https://www.trails2000.org/trails

               

Long Chutes

Difficulty Rating: Moderate/Difficult

Length: Varies

Usage: All non-motorized

System: In town trails

Connections: Colorado Trail

 

Long Chutes hiking trail is located above the trailhead for Colorado trail in Junction Creek. Follow 25th st from Main Ave. The street turns into Junction Creek, as well as turning into a dirt trail. Go past the Colorado Trail sign for roughly 4.4 miles to see the trail on your right hand side.

 

Smelter Mountain Trail

Length: 1 mile RT

Usage: Day hike only

System: In town trails

 

This trail is located on the southern side of town, west of Highway 550. As you pass Santa Rita park going South, turn right onto frontage road and take the first right on County Road 210. Immediately following the first right after this, the trailhead is apparent.

As a moderately ranked hike, Smelter does gain elevation quickly but is short enough to easily accomplish this hike in less than an afternoon.

 

Animas Mountain

Length: 5.5 miles

Usage: Hike/Bike only

System: In town trails

Connections: Dalla Mountain Park

 

From north Main St, turn left onto 32nd st and follow this road until you come upon West 3rd Ave. Follow West 3rd until you come across the trailhead.

Animas City Trail is a highly popular trail in Durango. From the highest point of this hike, the views of the North valley of Durango are wide-ranging. The trail is gradual and shaded most of the way, making for a somewhat easy hiking trek given the length. However, the entirety of this trail is not yet open due to seasonal preservation. But you can still get in a roughly 1.5 mile loop of this trail.

 

Sky Steps

Difficulty Rating: Moderate

Length: 500 steps, 250 feet elevation gain

Usage: Hiking/running

System: In town

Connections: Nature Trail; Fort Lewis/Rim Drive Trail

 

Follow 10th St. to the intersection of 10th and 6th avenue. Find an appropriate parking spot here and follow the path to the Nature Trail. This trail is also accessible from the Chapel at Fort Lewis college, off of Rim Dr.

As a newer addition to Durango’s trail system, the Sky Steps are at the heart of Durango ‘on the grid’ and perfect for a short run. While intended for college students to have a quicker route to class, the sky steps are a great addition for the community of Durango as an outdoor activity.

 

To find an extensive list of Durango’s hiking opportunities, visit https://www.trails2000.org/

 

Hiking Trails in Durango, Co, hiking in Soutwest Colorado, San Juan National Forest

 

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