Hike San Juan Mountain Trails in the Southwestern Rockies

Mark Twain once said, “Golf is a good walk spoiled.” Cascade Village has many activities but no golf. In fact, there is nothing here to spoil your walk. You can walk in any direction and see nature at its most beautiful. The difference in the trails is the degree of difficulty.

Durango hiking trails are everywhere. Our resort has two picturesque hiking trails that begin just outside the lodge, not far away. Purgatory Resort has hiking trails where you can take a chairlift up and a hiking trail back down. If you are a serious hiker, definitely bring your boots. If you are a casual hiker, you will just need a pair of comfy sneakers.

Safety First, Be Ready for Your Hike

Cascade Village sits at an altitude of 8,836 ft. For flat-landers, that is a factor to consider as you prepare for your trip. Traveling from 300 or 400 feet of altitude to over 7,500 feet will make a big difference in the way your body performs. If you plan to do some aggressive hiking, you also need to do some aggressive conditioning over several months before your trip. You will find some helpful advice on a website called www.hiking-for-her.com. And while the information seems slanted toward female hikers it’s also wholly applicable to male hikers. When you are hiking, you should always carry water and be prepared for severe weather.

If you decide to skip the conditioning, you will surely enjoy being outdoors at Cascade Village enjoying less strenuous exercise and many easy hiking trails available.

Easy Hiking Trails Near Durango, CO

  • Animas River Tour – The Animas river curves around Durango and the downtown section of the river walk is paved and meanders along the river. The water dances over the rocky bottom and is beautiful. There is an excellent children’s playground that is clean and well maintained. There are stunning vistas in the mountains above the river. It is an easy walk
  • Animas Overlook Trail – This is a 0.7-mile loop trail with 75 feet elevation change. It is one of the shortest and easiest hiking trails in Durango, CO. It is available from May until October. Leashed dogs may use this trail. It is a beautiful paved trail that overlooks Durango and the Animas Valley. It has picnic tables and is ideal for small children.

Moderate Durango CO Hiking

  • Falls Creek Loop – A 4.1-mile trail with easy options that is mostly meadows with some uphill terrain to get to a ridge. It features excellent views and works for all skill levels. Dogs can use this trail but should be leashed. There is also bicycle and horse traffic on the trail.
  • Animas Mountain Trail – Animas Mountain Trail is a 5.9 mile heavily trafficked loop trail for hiking near Durango CO that features a grand forest setting and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best from March until October. You may also bring your dog along. Easily accessible from town with an overall elevation gain of 1,500 feet it has a steady climb for the first hour. The hike takes about 2 hours if you don’t push it. The view of the mountains and river is worth the effort. There is little shade on the trail itself, and it can get warm in the summer.
  • Colorado Trail to Gudy’s – An 8.1 mile out and back trail rated as moderate (1,417 feet elevation gain) and is accessible all year round. Dogs are also able to use the path but must remain leashed. It is near a beautiful stream, and the gurgling water is always within earshot. Some reviewers call it the best hiking in Durango. The trail is well marked, and the view from Gudy’s Rest (named for Gudy Gaskill, the mother of the Colorado Trail) is fantastic.

These are a just a sample of some of the best hiking trails in the Southwestern Colorado area. Hiking is always popular in the spring, summer, and fall. Plan your trip to Cascade Village and find trails for all-terrain and skill levels. Start with the more relaxed, lower elevation-change trails and move to the longer, more difficult trails as your body becomes acclimated to the higher elevation of Durango.