East Animas. You'll find some of the best crack and face climbing at East Animas, just a few miles east of town. Don't miss the "Watch Crystal" route, a favorite with the locals. East Animas is off County Road 250, about 2 miles east of U.S. 550. The parking area is on the east side of the road. Off County Rd. 250, 2 miles east of U.S. 550, Durango, CO.
San Juan National Forest. There are plenty of opportunities for climbing in the Columbine Ranger District of the San Juan National Forest, just outside of Durango. Some of the more popular spots are Julia's Spire, Golf Wall, and Fume Wall. U.S. Forestry office, 15 Burnett Ct., Durango, CO, 80301. 970/247–4874. www.fs.usda.gov/sanjuan.
X-Rock. Just north of town, X-Rock offers a little bit of everything—slag, crack climbs, bouldering—for novice and intermediate climbers. It's also a great place to learn (or just brush up on) basic climbing skills. One look at the distinctive natural cracks that cross its face will tell you how it got its name. Off U.S. 550, just north of 32nd St., Durango, CO.
San Juan Mountain Guides. For classes and guided trips in some of the area's most beautiful and challenging crags, talk to San Juan Mountain Guides. Seasonal courses run year-round and cover the basics (beginning climbing techniques, belaying, and rappeling) as well as specifics such as rock rescue and desert crack climbing. Trips run from one to five days. 1111 Camino del Rio, Suite 105, Durango, CO, 81302. 970/259–0370. www.mtnguide.net.