If you are looking for a beautiful city to travel to for your next vacation, look no further. Durango, Colorado offers some of the most breathtaking views in all of the United States of America. With an elevation of 6,522 feet above sea level, Southwest Colorado’s largest city has some breathtaking mountains and ski resorts to offer.
Outdoor enthusiasts love to visit this city because it offers some of the most beautiful hikes in all of America. It’s home to Fort Lewis College and is famous or breading olympic cyclists. The beautiful city is also well known for hosting train rides that offer spectacular views of the mountains. The weather is warm in the summer, perfect in the fall, and sunny skies with lots of snow in the winter creating the outdoor paradise it is.
Engineer Mountain, Durango Colorado
Start: Top of Coal Bank Pass, Engineer mountain trail
Distance: 6.9 miles RT
Hike Time: 3-4 hours
Water: Bring water
Dog Friendly: Absolutely, with a leash
Engineer Mountain in Durango attracts a lot of hikers due to its beautiful scenery. The total length of the trail is 6.9 miles out and back. Most hikers begin the trail at Coal Bank Pass which is located off of US Highway 550. The difficulty of the hike is set at an advanced level. The hikers can access water through a restroom facility located at the Coal Bank Pass. The average time to hike up the trail and back is about four hours if you are walking casually.
The Engineer mountain hike provides amazing views of the Southern San Juan Mountains. It sits alone and you can see for miles. The hike is relatively easy to follow but with steep ascents. The final push up to the top is loose rock and narrow paths that you may want to leave the dog at the bottom depending on the dog.
Animas Mountain, Durango Colorado
Start: 32nd street, Animas Mountain Trailhead
Distance: 6 miles RT
Hike Time: 3 hours
Water: No water on trail
Dog Friendly: Yes, on leash.
With a total trail length of about six miles, the beautiful Animas Mountain trail is set at a difficulty of intermediate level. One of the starting points for the trail is on 32nd street located in North Durango. The total hike takes about three hours to complete. This hike can be done as an out and back or a loop and be sure to watch out for bears and mountain bikers as they come speeding down.
Animas Mountain is one of the locals favorite because it starts right in town. It’s a great trail run with plenty of elevation gain and still provides amazing views of the snow capped peaks in the distance. Despite being in town, there is rarely many people on the trail. Once you are done be sure to check on some of the local brewers including one of our favorites, Ska Brewing and try the unique Pink Vapor Stew Beer.
The Colorado Trail, Durango Colorado
Start: Junction Creek Trailhead
Distance: 4.1 miles to overlook, the entire trail is 485 miles
Hike Time: 3-5 hours
Water: Near Trailhead and beginning of trail
Dog Friendly: Yes, on leash
The end of the Colorado trail is located in Durango and is referred to as the Junction Creek Trailhead. Hikers will start on Main Avenue and follow 25th street to the end of Junction Creek Road. The Junction Creek Trail is located about 3.5 miles from Main Avenue in town. The total length of the trail is 4.1 miles set at an intermediate difficulty level. If you are riding a bicycle, it takes about 4-5 hours to ride to High Point and back. Hikers have access to water from the creek itself.
You can also take the Colorado Trail quite a bit longer than the 4.1 miles as the Colorado Trail goes from Denver to Durango across Colorado. In starting from Durango you quickly leave the high desert terrain and gain elevation at a quick rate towards 12,000 ft. The trail is rocky so it’s best to have good quality shoes.
Spud Lake (Potato Lake), Durango Colorado
Start: 29 miles north of Durango on Old Lime Creek Road
Distance: 2 miles
Hike Time: 2-3 hours
Water: Readily available
Dog Friendly: Yes
Spud Lake Trail is an easy, two miles long hike that beginners can embark on. The entrance to the trail is located across a beaver pond three miles away from Cascade Village. The trail takes about 1.5 hours to complete. The lake is a good resource of water for hikers and perfect for a picnic or for a family with kids. This hike is also amazing in the fall with great colors and loads of aspens.
Crater Lake, Durango Colorado
Start: Andrews Lake Trail off Highway 550 on Red Mountain Pass
Distance: 5.4 miles out and back
Hike Time: 2-4 hours
Water: Readily available in streams and lakes
Dog Friendly: Yes, on leash in parking areas
Located in the high country, The Crater Lake Trail is 5.4 miles long. This one-way trail takes about 3.5 hours to complete. The trail is mainly recommended for advanced level hikers. You can begin the trail at Andrews Lake which is south of Molas Pass on US 550. Andrews lake is also a good source of water for visitors.
This trail is also great for trail running as it is a relatively flat trail for the mountains. The final destination at Crater Lake is gorgeous and a great place to bring food for a picnic or take a quick dip.
Chicago Basin, Durango Colorado
Start: Chicago Basin Trailhead
Distance: 15.2 miles RT
Hike Time: 6 – 9 hours
Water: Readily available in streams and lakes
Dog Friendly: Depends on how you access the trail, but dogs are allowed.
The Chicago Basin Trail is an advanced and difficult trail that is 15.2 miles long. Located in the San Juan Mountains, the trail is a part of Colorado’s 14er mountains to summit Eulus, Sunlight, and Windom Peak. Colorado features 58 mountain peaks that have an elevation of 14,000 feet or higher. Colorado has more high standing mountains than any other state in America. Hikers can enter the Chicago Basin Trailhead by riding the Durango-Silverton Train.
Truly, Durango is one of the most beautiful cities in the United States of America. Hikers and outdoor enthusiasts love to venture out to Colorado so they can see the beautiful sunrise and breathtaking views from the “14ers” mountains. If you are looking for your next hiking adventure, you must check out Durango and all of the beautiful scenery the city has to offer.
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