Hiking trails are everywhere in and around Durango. Many trailheads at the edges of town lead to backcountry settings, and the San Juan Forest has plenty of mind-boggling walks and trails for those with the urge to explore.
Animas View Overlook Trail. If you're pressed for time (but still want spectacular views), try the 0.7-mile Animas View Overlook Trail. It takes you past signs explaining local geology, flora, and fauna before bringing you to a precipice with an unparallelled view of the valley and the surrounding Needle Mountains. It's the only wheelchair-accessible trail in the area. Trailhead at Forest Rd. 171, Milepost 8, Durango, CO.
Across from the Fort Lewis College Recreation Complex is a kid-friendly hike called Lion’s Den Trail. It connects with the Chapman Hill Trail for a nice moderate hike, climbing switchbacks that take you away from town and hook up with the Rim Trail.
Colorado Trail. Starting a few miles northwest of Durango, the Colorado Trail covers about 500 miles on its way to Denver. You're not obliged to go that far, of course. Just a few miles in and out will give you a taste of this epic trail, which winds through mountain ranges and high passes and some of the most amazing mountain scenery around. Trailhead off County Rd. 204, Durango, CO. www.coloradotrail.org.
Trails2000. Before you go, check the local organization Trails2000 for directions, information, and news about hiking in and around Durango. Durango, CO. 970/259–4682. www.trails2000.org.