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Family-Friendly Hikes

Spud Lake, located north of Durango, is a favorite family hike.

Labor Day is just around the corner! Before school starts, here are few great family-friendly hikes to get in before or during Labor Day weekend. 

Remember to love the trails like a local by familiarizing yourself with our Durango Trail Love campaign before you head out!

For All Skill Levels:

Used as both a walking and biking path, the Animas River Trail is a hard surface path that runs alongside the Animas River where it cuts through the town of Durango. There are various points of access along the trail, with the north end of the trail beginning at the new Oxbow trailhead (39th and Main/550 north).

This is a perfect choice for an easy day stroll without a lot of elevation gain and is a popular spot for bikers, hikers, and fishermen.

  • Distance: 10 miles
  • Elevation Gain: minimal elevation gain/loss
  • Route type: Point to point
  • Rated as moderate

The Falls Creek Loop is a short, yet sweet trail located in the San Juan National Forest, just outside of Durango. An excellent choice for all skill levels, the route features colorful wildflowers in the summer, a waterfall, and forested landscapes of the San Juans.

  • Distance: 4.1 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 393 feet
  • Route type: Loop
  • Rated as easy

A trail the entire family can enjoy, Spud Lake Trail is an easy loop that reaches the trout-filled Spud Lake. Camping, fishing, and picnicking are popular activities to enjoy on the trail. Beaver ponds are found throughout with views of Potato Hill (Spud Mountain) visible from the trail. Take in the views of the Hermosa Cliffs, the Animas Valley, and West Needle Mountains upon reaching Spud Lake. This trail access point is found 29 miles north of Durango on U.S. Highway 550 to Forest Road 591.

  • Distance: 3.1 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 419 feet
  • Route type: Loop
  • Rated as easy

Found in the Perins Peak State Wildlife Area, Perins Peak trail is a great hike for all ages and offers stunning views and rock climbing opportunities for those who dare.

Perins Peak is a notable and distinctive natural landmark that towers over the town of Durango. Add on the North Perins Peak for a 10-mile hike and 2,300 feet in elevation gain.

Due to seasonal wildlife closures, the trail is only open from July 15 to November 15.

  • Distance: 5.9 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,561 feet
  • Route type: Out and back
  • Rated as moderate

For More Intermediate Skill Levels:

A hike most locals would recommend, the Smelter Mountain Trail is a short but steep trail that begins in town. Perfect for an early morning workout, or an early evening (during the summer) stretch, this trail provides little shade but offers big views. The end of the trail brings hikers to a magnificent vantage point that rises above the town of Durango.

  • Distance: 3.8 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,374 feet
  • Route type: Out and back
  • Rated as moderate

Animas Mountain Trail is a 6-mile loop offering a great view of the Hermosa Valley, the Animas River, and the San Juan Mountains. Not only does this moderate hiking trail provide beautiful views, but its convenient access from town makes this a popular day hike for visitors and locals alike.

There is a great deal of elevation gain and the descent is rocky and a bit unstable so be prepared for this hike with hiking poles, rain jacket and good shoes. 

  • Distance: 6 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,519 feet
  • Route type: Loop
  • Rated as moderate

For a bit of a challenge and more remote trail system, check out the Goulding Creek Trail. This is a more intense hike on a steeper switchback. 

The rugged trail offers a chance to see waterfalls, open meadows, and views of the Hermosa Cliffs Roadless Area. In the fall the plentiful aspen groves light up the hike, making this particularly enjoyable in the fall season. The trail begins about 17 miles north of Durango from U.S. Highway 550.

  • Distance: 6 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2,100 feet
  • Route type: Out and back
  • Rated as moderate

Love the Trails Like a Local

Say Hi

Greet all trail users by saying hi when passing on the trail.

Announce Yourself

Say "on your left" as approaching other trail users from behind.

Pick Up After Yourself

Pick up after yourself and your pet. Please don’t litter.

Keep Dogs on a Leash

Keep your dogs on a leash or leave them at home. Off-leash dogs are not allowed on City Open Space and are the number one source of trail conflict.

Stay on the Trail

Help protect natural areas and habitats by staying on established trails. Creating "social trails", cutting switchbacks, or ignoring trail closures leads to greater erosion and impacts on ecosystems.

Give Uphill Traffic the
Right of Way

Uphill traffic always has the right of way. Downhill traffic must be in control, especially around blind corners, to avoid coming in contact with uphill traffic.

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