Our Favorite Durango Hikes
There’s a reason why we love our hometown of Durango, CO so much – there’s so many incredible hiking trails, it’s difficult to choose one! If you’re visiting Southwest Colorado this summer, be sure to check out a few of our favorite hikes.
The Highland Mary Trail climbing toward the Continental Divide. Photo by Margaret Hedderman.
Named for a nearby mine, the Highland Mary Trail is one of Southwest Colorado’s true gems. Starting at 10,750 ft., the trail quickly climbs above treeline and affords incredible views of the San Juan Mountains almost the entire way. Once you reach the first Highland Mary Lake at 12,310 ft., it’s an easy hike to the nearby Verde Lakes where, believe it or not, the views are even better. Roundtrip, the hike is roughly 6.6 miles. It’s also possible to connect to the Continental Divide Trail and make an 8-mile loop.
The outlet stream flowing out of Ice Lake near Silverton, CO. Photo by Larry Gross.
Another favorite near Silverton is the Ice Lakes Trail. Though its only 3.5 mile to the main lake, it’s a real slog. You’ll climb nearly 2,500 ft. from the trailhead to the lake! Because this trail takes you above tree line, you’ll want to start early to avoid the afternoon thunderstorms. Plus, it’s one of the most popular trails in the region, so you’ll want to beat the crowds. If you fancy additional altitude, hike another mile up the steep rocky ridge above Ice Lake to reach the gorgeous Island Lake.
Indian Trail Ridge
Indian Trail Ridge near Durango, CO. Photo by Margaret Hedderman
You’ll need access to a 4WD vehicle to reach the trailhead as it begins at the top of Kennebec Pass, 11,600 ft. This is one of the Colorado Trail’s most spectacular sections, but it’s completely exposed so you’ll want to keep an eye on the weather. Follow the CT to Taylor Lake (a lovely campsite, if you’d like to stay the night and hike Indian Trail Ridge the following morning). From there, you’ll quickly gain elevation to the top of the ridge. The La Platas are every bit as spectacular as the San Juans and see considerably less traffic. Enjoy the views! Once you’ve gained the ridge, it’s easy to follow north with little elevation gain.
Mountain View Crest
The hike to Mountain View Crest. Photo by Larry Gross.
Another trail that requires 4WD, Mountain View Crest is perhaps one of the easiest, yet most rewarding hikes in the Durango area. Follow the Lime Mesa Trail, which begins at 11,800 ft. to the top of Mountain View Crest. Here the mesa suddenly breaks away, revealing views of the Animas River, the Weminuche Wilderness, and numerous 14ers. All in all, the trail gains little elevation (only 700 ft.), so it’s a pleasant way to spend a morning!