It’s Mother Nature’s StairMaster. The Animas City Mountain Trail starts above 6,500 feet and climbs 1,500 feet steadily in just 3 miles. Amazing views await above the downtown Durango trailhead and even locals love this place—the well-marked trail is maintained by volunteers with Durango-based, Trails 2000.
This clockwise lollipop loop begins with an immediate 0.5-mile climb before steadying along the mountain’s tilted mesa. Stay left at all the uphill trail junctions and don’t let burning thighs distract from La Plata Mountain views on the way to the top.
The trail meanders through scrub oak and pine as it approaches the plateau’s northern edge and a photo-op viewpoint of the Animas Valley and Turtle Lake’s pristine surrounds. When normal heart-rates return, follow the narrowing trail up another short—less painful—climb and watch out for scratchy scrub oak that crowds the increasingly narrow trail.
The hike turns downhill at mile 3, weaving along the mountain’s edge and offering birds-eye views into Durango. A final switchback section of trail widens and drops off the mesa just before the trailhead parking area.
-Mapped by Erinn Morgan