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Enjoying the view on Animas Mountain

Hike Southwestern Colorado: 10 Best Trails near Durango

Explore the 10 best day hikes close to Durango.

Alpine Climbing, Hiking Moderate, Difficult

Enjoying the view on Animas Mountain
Enjoying the view on Animas Mountain Photo: Greg Heil


The small mountain town of Durango serves as the primary jumping off point for mountain adventure across the entire southwestern corner of Colorado. With dozens of hikes accessible from downtown and the main artery of Highway 550 leading deep into the San Juan mountain range, there are more trails accessible within day-trip distance of Durango than you could hike in a lifetime.

As southwestern Colorado's hub, you can choose to fly into the small regional airport if traveling from a distance. Once in town, a wide array of hotels and resorts offer lodging options, and the nearby national forest offers dozens of campgrounds. Local stores can easily outfit you with any gear you didn't bring. And even when you're not hiking, the bustling downtown food and beer scene will keep you entertained.

With so many trails to choose from, the question is: where do you begin? Well, with this guidebook, for starters! Within this guidebook, we've rounded up 10 of the top-recommended day hikes accessible from Durango. While popular backpacking routes abound in this area, with peak climbing itineraries deep in the Weminuche and the entire Colorado Trail running from Durango to Denver, this guidebook is focused on day hiking excursions within day-trip distance of downtown.

For in-town hikes, the top two spots to start are Animas Mountain and Hogsback Ridge. Both hikes gain vantage points above downtown Durango, with long-range views of the mountains beyond. For the ultimate view of downtown Durango, hike to the top of Perins Peak, but be sure to check if the trail is open.

If you head up Highway 550 into the mountains, Spud Lake, Purgatory Creek, and Goulding Creek offer shorter-length hikes that can be tackled without too much time investment. If you want to spend most of your day hiking, head to the Molas Pass section of the Colorado Trail or Hermosa Creek.

Looking to bag a peak? Engineer Mountain is a visually-impressive summit that rewards climbers with 360-degree views of the San Juan mountains.

Last but not least, Ice Lake Basin is renowned as one of the most beautiful hikes in all of Colorado! While it requires the longest drive from downtown Durango of any hike on this list, it is well-worth the commute, or even flying from around the world to experience!

Routes included

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