Best Resupply Point Silverton’s Outdoor World (970) 387-5628
Best Photo Op Elk Creek beaver ponds
From the Durango & Silverton Railroad’s Elk Park stop, hike 2.7 miles to the Elk Creek beaver ponds. The still waters frame the near-vertical ramps of Vestal and Arrow Peaks. Camp near the ponds and plan a shoot for just after sunrise, when the crags’ eastern faces glow pink. Go in early July before the waters recede.
Trippiest Wildflowers Indian Trail Ridge
A rainbow of early-August blossoms—a confetti-throw of Western-slope endemics—sprinkles the tundra on this ridge northwest of Durango. Thru-hikers hit the best blooms at mile 423; dayhikers can hit them on a four-mile out-and-back west from Kennebec Pass.
Best Family Hike Taylor Lake
From Kennebec Pass, you’ll drop 500 feet over 1.8 miles (on the Colorado and Highline Trails) to a yellow and green hellebore-choked cirque sheltering Taylor Lake. Flat rocks, perfect for skipping, line the shore. Thru-hiker bonus: This is the first water source after a 20-mile dry stretch.
Fattest Pizza Spaghetti pizza with meatballs at Durango’s Homeslice (homeslicedelivers.com; 970-259-5551)