Guidebook

Hike Southwestern Colorado: 10 Best Trails near Durango

Explore the 10 best day hikes close to Durango.

Greg Heil

Description

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!

Animas Mountain Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Animas Mountain Loop

Durango
2 - 3 hrs
9.3 km
466 m
466 m
Possibly Durango's most popular hike.
Difficult
Private
Hogsback Ridge
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Hogsback Ridge

Durango
1 - 2 hrs
3.9 km
266 m
266 m
Climb the dramatic Hogsback Ridge.
Difficult
Private
Ice Lake Basin
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Ice Lake Basin

Durango
5 - 6 hrs
14.9 km
966 m
967 m
This pair of San Juan alpine lakes is guaranteed to take your breath away.
Difficult
Private
Engineer Mountain
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Engineer Mountain

Durango
9.6 km
712 m
This out-and-back climbs the slopes of Engineer Mountain and rewards with high-altitude wildflowers and views of a rare rock glacier.
Easy
Private
Hermosa Creek Out-and-Back
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Hermosa Creek Out-and-Back

Durango
7 - 8 hrs
27.7 km
929 m
929 m
Traverse a stunning, isolated mountain valley.
Moderate
Private
Molas Pass Out-and-Back
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Molas Pass Out-and-Back

Durango
16.6 km
447 m
447 m
A stunning alpine traverse hike.
Difficult
Private
Spud Lake
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Spud Lake

Durango
4.7 km
135 m
135 m
A quick hike offering up stunning views.
Moderate
Private
Purgatory Creek Trail Out-and-Back
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Purgatory Creek Trail Out-and-Back

Durango
3 - 4 hrs
12.8 km
447 m
447 m
A scenic hike at any time of the year!
Difficult
Private
Perins Peak
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Perins Peak

Durango
4 - 5 hrs
16.2 km
573 m
573 m
Hike to one of the most visually-distinctive peaks above Durango.
Moderate
Private
Goulding Creek Trail
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Goulding Creek Trail

Durango
3 - 4 hrs
9.6 km
670 m
670 m
A beautiful fall hike with stunning views from the top of the ridge.
Difficult
Private