History of the Hermosa Creek Travel Management Plan

The US Forest Service introduced the Travel Management Plan for the Hermosa area. At the time, the plan included closing Hermosa Creek Trail and part of the Colorado Trail to bikes through a Wilderness designation.

The Hermosa Creek sub-workgroup met from 2008-2010. The collaborative, community process, which operated on consensus, involved many citizens and organizations in discussions about the human and natural values in the Hermosa Creek watershed. It was a group represented by many points of view, including water users, recreational users, state agencies, the Southern Ute tribe, conservation organizations, and US Congressional representatives.

After almost two years of work, the Hermosa Creek Workgroup arrived at a set of recommendations. Central to their work was recommending that special federal legislation be developed, introduced, and passed. Their final report and recommendations were forwarded to the US Congress in 2010.

After several years of drafts, working through committees, and changes in Congressional representatives, the Hermosa Creek Watershed Protection legislation was finally signed into law on December 19, 2014, as Section 3062 in the Carl Levin and Howard P. “Buck” McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for the Fiscal Year 2015 (PL 113-291).

The legislation divided the watershed into a Special Management Area (SMA) and a wilderness area. Within the SMA, the legislation also delineates the East Hermosa Roadless Area (which was already a designated Colorado Roadless Area before the legislation).

The legislation states that: “The purpose of the Special Management Area is to conserve and protect for the benefit of present and future generations the watershed, geological, cultural, natural, scientific, recreational, wildlife, riparian, historical, educational, and scenic resources of the Special Management Area.”

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.

Check Conditions

Stay up to date by checking the Trail Conditions report and following us on Facebook or Instagram.

Give Back

Donate to Durango Trails or volunteer for trailwork to help give back to the trails you love.

Durango’s National, World Champions & Olympians

July 2021 has proved to be the winningest July in Durango history!

We say Durango has more national, world champions and Olympians than any town in the country.

We proved this to be true at the opening ceremonies of the US Pro Challenge bike race in 2016 when we gathered many of these champions from running, biking, skiing, kayak and of course, biking.

Since that time, the number has increased dramatically. As a town we market the best of our community, the geography and the people. Our community has created a culture that supports athletes at their highest level, especially those that our participating in outdoor recreation pursuits. Click here for a list of National & World Champions and Olympians from Durango.

Ed Zink helped identify this strength for Durango and launched a culture of cycling that continues today.

From watching Durango local Sepp Kuss win Stage 15 of the Tour de France (and then watching the NBC feature of his parents Dolph and Sabina the following day!) to seeing DEVO riders show up in endless ways to toe the start line and give it their best, our legacy and culture of Durango champions runs deep and leaves us proud in so many ways.

A long legacy of Durango Olympians

As we head towards the Summer Olympics, we can include Durango locals Zachary Lokken to represent the US for the canoe slalom team and Christoper Blevins to represent the US for the mens mountain bike team in Tokyo.

Durango has a long legacy of Olympians, including United States Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell in 1964. In 1996, when mountain biking became a full medal sport, former Durango resident Juli Furtado made the first mountain bike team.

Then in 2000, Durango hometown hero and resident Travis Brown represented the US along with Durango Resident Ruthie Matthes.

In 2004 Durango resident Todd Wells took the Olympic and again in 2008 and 2012. Durango resident Howard Grotts followed up in the 2016 games, and now Christopher Blevins in 2020.

Other National, World Champions and Olympians from Durango:

Former United States Senator and Olympian Ben Nighthorse Campbell, 1964 summer games, Judo

Three time Olympian, Mike Elliott; 1964, ‘68, and ‘72 winter games, Nordic Skiing

Two time Olympic Coach, Dolph Kuss, 1964 and 1972, Nordic Combined

National Champion, Allen P. Small, Nordic Skiing

National Champion, Diane Legner, Nordic Skiing

Olympian, Greg Lyman, 1972 winter games, Speed Skating

Two time Olympian, Ron Yeager, 1972 and 1976 winter games, Nordic Skiing

World Champion, Patty Lyman, Speed Skating

26 time Master National Champion, Dennis O’Brien, Swimming

Two time World Champion, Kent Ford, Canoe Slalom

Three time National Champion, Andy Corra, Kayak

Six time NORBA cross-country mountain bike national champion Ned Overend, who became the first-ever cross-country world champion by winning the inaugural UCI Mountain Bike World Championship in 1990 in Durango

Two time Olympian, Cathy Hearn, 1992 and 1996 summer games, slalom kayak

World Champion Cutting Horse Rider and Trainer, Willie Richardson, 1996, while on his beloved horse and friend, Sonitalena  

Three time Olympian, Elaine Youngs, 1996, 2004, and 2008 summer games, Beach Volleyball

Two time Olympian, Chris Thorpe, 1998 and 2002 winter games, Luge

Two time Collegiate National Champion, Amber Blake, Rowing

Two time Olympian, Elva Martinez-Dryer, 2000 and 2004 summer games; Track and Field

Five time Masters National Champion, Walt Axthelm, Cyclocross

Olympian, Tracey Barnes, 2006 winter games; Biathlon

Two time Olympian, Lanny Barnes, 2006 and 2010 winter games; Biathlon

Olympic Coach Gary Colliander, 2010 winter games, Women’s Biathlon

Collegiate National Champion Coach, Dave Hagen, Cycling

Accumulating 15 NORBA National race wins and three NORBA Series Championship titles, Shonny Vanlandingham is the most successful rider in NORBA history. A 7-time U.S. National Mountain Bike Team Member, 3x (2004-06) NORBA National Series X-Country Champ & 2005 U.S. National Short Track Champ as well as World Xterra Champion in 2010.

Making an impact in the sport of cycling with Durango ties

Numerous mechanics, coaches, promoters, designers and builders support any successful development program.  The following people with ties to Durango have had an impact on the sport of cycling:

Juli Furtado–World Champion downhill and cross-country

Daryl Price— Mountain Bike Champion and bike Industry sales executive

Scott Daubert— Team mechanic, manager

Forest Yelverton-Olympic project designer

John Parker–Tesigner, builder

Peter Graves–Olympic announcer

Eric Moore–Director of NORBA

Mert Lawill–Designer, builder

David Farmer–International coach

Ed Zink–Promoter, official, all-around guru

Tyler Philger–Mechanic, manager

Gunner Conrad–Photographer

Dean Howard–Photographer

Bill Manning–Trail designer

Tom Mayer–Inventor

Dr. Frank Jarrell–Chiropractor, D.C.

Mary Monroe–Bike Industry Executive and Executive Director Trails 2000

Matt Phillips–Editor of Bicycling Magazine

Bob Gregario–Mountain Bike Pro’s mechanic, Mountain Bike Hall of Fame


Chad Cheeney – DEVO Co-Founder and Coach

Dave Hagen  FLC Coach

Gaige Sippy-Iron Horse Race Director

Steve Owens – Colorado Premier Training

Aaron Urquidez – BS-KINE, NSCA-CPT, NASM-PES

If we did not list you, please fill out the following form to be included!

Durango Trails Launches Durango Trail Love Campaign

We are excited to announce the launch of  “Durango Trail Love,” a seasonal campaign designed to promote share the trail and leave no trace ethics.

After an unprecedented trail season in 2020, Durango Trails, in partnership with Alpine Bank and area land managers, are launching a stewardship education campaign to help combat the impact on our area trails and outdoor recreation amenities.

Trails are the gateway to the outdoors. Whether you're fly fishing, fat biking, backpacking, or hiking, you're taking a trail to your adventure.

Before COVID, the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable found about 50% of Americans were getting outdoors. In July of last year, the recent survey found 89% were getting outdoors, and 30% were new outdoorists.

With so many users on the trails, it's important we all practice proper Durango Trail Love and show some love back to our trails!

This campaign is intended not just to speak to visitors and new trail users, but also to remind locals and longtime trail users to lead by example, so that we can all understand how to better care for our land.

Stage I Fire Restrictions Now in Place

As of June 16, 2021 La Plata County and the San Juan National Forest have enacted Stage I Fire Restrictions.

Southwest Colorado is in extreme drought with continued hot, dry weather forecasts creating a critical fire environment. 

Under the restrictions, the following acts are prohibited:

  • Igniting, building, maintaining, or using a fire (includes fires fueled by charcoal or briquettes) outside of a permanent metal or concrete fire pit or grate that the Forest Service has installed and maintained at its developed recreation sites (campgrounds and picnic areas). The fine for violating campfire restrictions is $500. 
    • EXCEPTIONS: The use of a stove or grill solely fueled by liquid
      petroleum fuels, or a fully enclosed metal stove, grill, or sheep herder type stove with a chimney at least 5’ and a mesh screen spark arrestor.
  • Smoking, except in an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least 3’ in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials. $300 fine.
  • Using explosive material (i.e., fireworks, blasting caps, or any incendiary device which may result in the ignition of flammable material).
  • Welding and/or operating an acetylene or similar torch with an open flame, except that, as long as a fire watch individual is on site and readily available with proper hand tools and either one 2 ½ gallon pressurized fire extinguisher, one 5 pound ABC extinguisher, or pressurized water supply, welding and/or operating an acetylene or similar torch with an open flame in a 20-foot radius safe zone free of vegetation is not prohibited
  • Operating a chainsaw without an effective and properly installed USDA- or Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE)- approved spark arrestor, a chemical pressurized fire extinguishers.

Fire restrictions are designed to protect public safety and our area’s natural resources.

Neighboring federal, state, and local fire managers are also entering fire restrictions. 

Almost 90% of all wildfires on public lands are started by humans. It is every forest visitor’s responsibility to recreate responsibly and follow best practices. To report a fire call 911.

Please follow all local fire restrictions and help keep our lands safe!


Celebrate the launch of Trail Crew Brew!

Drive Thru Meet the Crew | Membership Join or Renew

Earth Day

Thursday, April 22nd

12 Pm to 6 Pm

Ska Brewing, 225 Girard

Celebrate the launch of Trail Crew Brew at our Spring Fundraiser and 2020 30th Anniversary Celebration Re-Do!

This event is a “Drive-Thru” only event to support Durango Trails in partnership with our friends at Ska. 

Walk, ride, or drive thru at Ska Brewing to support your area trails, meet our 2021 trail crew, and join or renew your Durango Trails membership!

Plus, we’ll be launching a new Ska beer crafted specially for Durango Trails: Trail Crew Brew.

Donate $25 or more to Durango Trails and you’ll receive 15% off a 6-pack of the limited edition brew. Or donate $100 or more and you’ll receive one 32 oz crowler!

Ride-thru, walk-thru or drive-thru to meet the crew, join or renew, and enjoy a Trail Crew Brew. We hope you’ll be able to join us on Earth Day, April 22nd, for our first fundraiser in over a year and to show your love for Durango Trails.

Support the trails that connect you to the outdoors

Trails are the cornerstone of our community and the gateway to the outdoors.

Help support our work so you can continue to connect to the outdoors by giving to Durango Trails!


Before you head out...

Please consider giving to Durango Trails!

The trails you’re about to enjoy wouldn’t exist without our year-round work to plan, build, and maintain them.

And we wouldn’t exist without your support!

Please consider financially contributing to help us continue to build and maintain great trails.

Great communities build great trails and great trails build great communities.