Best Hikes Near Durango, CO

Durango and Bayfield are two epic towns nestled in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado. The area is a true Outdoorsy playground with stunning mountains, streams, and world-class wilderness routes.

One of the best things to do when visiting Durango? Grab your trail boots and discover the best hikes near Durango!

With its beautiful scenery, rich history, and diverse terrain, there are plenty of unique and interesting hiking options in the area. There are trails for all levels of hikers, meaning you will absolutely find something to suit your needs.

Here are some of the best hikes near Durango, CO.

Where to Stay

Outdoorsy Bayfield

Our crew at Outdoorsy Bayfield offers everything you need for the ideal luxury camping experience while still putting you right in the middle of the beautiful natural scenery offered by Southwest Colorado. 

You can choose to bring your own RV and park in one of our full-hookup campsites, rent an RV and have it delivered to the campground (or bring it yourself), or relax in one of our luxury camping tents. There’s something for everyone!

Must-Have Hiking Gear

Before you hit the trail, be sure you’re stocked up on a hiking checklist like this:

Hiking shoes

Trekking poles

Hiking backpack

Hiking pants

Water bottle

A compass

AllTrails App

Spud Lake Trail

Sometimes you just need a short and sweet hike to do with the kids. Spud Lake Trail is the perfect trail for those times.

At about 3 miles in length, this is a relatively easy hike that’s suitable for families or those looking for a shorter hike. It takes you along a rocky path through the trees and meadows to Potato Lake, a beautiful body of water that is surrounded by majestic mountains. If you visit during the summer, be sure to bring swimming gear and don’t forget your goggles so you can check out the fish in this clear lake!

The trailhead is located about 15 miles northeast of Durango, and the final mile of road leading to the trail really should be driven with a high-clearance vehicle. That said, it’s totally possible to park a low-clearance vehicle before you reach the actual trailhead and hike along the road for that last mile. 

Mountain view outside Durango

Engineer Mountain Trail

Engineer Mountain Trail is a strenuous hike that passes by beautiful aspens, pine groves, and open meadows, and gives you an awesome view of Engineer Mountain. Additionally, the stunning views from the trail’s summit will keep you breathless (no pun intended).

As mentioned, this trail is a lot of work and is not recommended for beginners. In total, the hike is around 13.1 miles round-trip, with an elevation gain of just over 3,000 feet. It’s located about 20 miles north of Durango, near the town of Silverton.

Highland Mary Lake Trail

Highland Mary Lake Trail is one of the best hikes near Durango. This is a scenic hike that takes you through alpine meadows and past several waterfalls and lakes. You’ll cross the water several times, so be prepared for wet feet!

The trailhead is located about 25 miles north of Durango near the town of Molas Pass, but the drive is lovely and you won’t regret it. The hike itself is rated as moderate and does include a few more technical spots, but is likely doable by most people who are in decent shape, including older kids.

To see the entire trail, you will need to hike for about 5 miles out and back, with an elevation gain of 1,400 feet.

Animas Mountain Trail

Animas Mountain Trail

The Animas Mountain Trail is a local favorite, and for good reason. The path offers breathtaking views of the Animas River Valley as well as the surrounding San Juan Mountains. These gorgeous views are picture-perfect, so you will definitely want to make sure to bring a camera along on this gorgeous hike!

In terms of difficulty, Animas Mountain Trail is a 6-mile loop with an elevation gain of 1,600 feet. It is rated as a moderate hike, and we have to agree with that rating, as you will want to be somewhat physically fit in order to tackle it. You will want to allow at least 3.5 hours to complete the hike, but may need more time depending on how often you stop to rest. 

One of the best things about this particular trail is that the trailhead is located just a few minutes from downtown Durango, making it easily accessible.

Colorado Trail

Lastly, we must mention the Colorado Trail. This is a 500-mile hiking trail that spans from Denver to Durango. It passes through some of the most scenic areas of the state, including the San Juan Mountains.

Obviously, most people don’t hike the whole 500 miles that this trail has to offer. That said, there are many access points to the trail near Durango, making it easy to hike a section of the trail. We recommend Colorado Trail: Segment 28, a nearly 20-mile moderately challenging section that includes babbling streams, beautiful views, and plenty of wildflowers. 

As you can see, Durango offers some of the best hiking in Colorado. Whether you’re looking for a strenuous hike, a leisurely stroll, or something in between, Durango has something to offer and will give you plenty of beautiful things to look at along the way.