Great Kid Friendly Local Trails
With such a plethora of wonderful trails in the Durango area we thought we would provide you with some kid friendly options.
POTATO (SPUD) LAKE TRAIL is an easy day hike or overnight camp is great for children, offering fishing and picnic spots and plenty of places to camp. The lily pond across from the trailhead provides an intriguing and valuable lesson about lake ecology, while the 2-mile round-trip hike, climbing from 9,360 feet to 9,800 feet, provides plenty of interesting diversions. Beaver ponds exist along this journey and children have the chance to feel the toothmarks in Aspen stumps. When reaching the trout-filled lake, the trail may be followed in either direction. Children may explore the banks and find strawberries and raspberries. Local campsites are available and no camping permits are required. Potato Hill (also called Spud Mountain) is visible from the trail, as well as Engineer Mountain and Graysill Peak and Grizzly Peak.
Location: From Main and 32nd Street in Durango, head North out of town on Highway 550 for roughly 27 miles. Turn right onto the Old Lime Creek Road (Road 591) directly after passing over Cascade Creek. Follow this dirt road for about 6 miles. There will be a large pond covered with yellow waterlilies directly to the South at the trail head. There is limited parking at this trailhead. The trailhead itself is on the North side of the dirt road. There is no well defined trail head sign or marker, but there is a wooden board on an Aspen tree that has the words “Spud Lake” carved into. The dirt road to the trail head can be rough in several places and four-wheel-drive is recommended
COLORADO TRAIL/JUNCTION CREEK offers an excellent chance to explore part of the 469-mile Colorado Trail. Children have the perfect opportunity to explore the woods and search for signs of wildlife along this spruce-covered trail. The trail follows Junction Creek and provides beautiful views in all directions. Hikers should be careful on this path because it is a very popular, multi-use trail.
Location: From Durango, head north on Main Avenue, and turn left onto 25th Street, also called Junction Creek Road. Travel on Junction Creek Road for about 3 miles to where it enters the San Juan National Forest. A parking area is located on the left, near the trailhead
HERMOSA CREEK TRAIL offers beautiful scenery of pine, spruce and wildflowers. Creeks follow parts of the trail and provide children with an excellent opportunity to view creek life. Possible wildlife sightings include deer, squirrels, birds and elk. Hermosa Creek Trail is one of the heavily used trails in Southwestern Colorado. It is also considered one of the easiest because there are no major changes in altitude. This is also a multi-use trail, so use caution when hiking.
Location: Take Highway 550 north of Durango to Hermosa. Turn left and travel west until you meet County Road 203. Turn north and proceed about five miles to where the road ends and the trail begins. Parking is available here.
LION’S DEN TRAIL is a hike which children will find very enjoyable. As will all trails in the area, there is a chance of wildlife sightings. This path is a multi-use trail, so hikers should use caution since the trail is also used by bikers. The trail is located across from Fort Lewis College Recreation Complex, complete with a playground, covered picnic areas, restrooms and softball fields.
Location: From Durango, follow E. 3rd Avenue northeast to merge with Florida Road. Continue 1.7 miles, turning right on College Drive. Follow uphill for 1 mile and take the 2nd right west onto Rim Drive. Follow for mile to the edge of the mesa. Turn left into the first dirt parking lot on your right. Or turn right and follow Rim Drive north to Lion’s Den, where off-road parking is available on the left.
CENTENNIAL NATURE TRAIL at Fort Lewis is a mile trail that connects Fort Lewis College and Durango. It offers a beautiful view of Durango an up-close look at nature. The trail begins at the south edge of the college, near the chapel and descends 300 feet. After a series of turns, the hike comes to an end at E. 10th Street and 6th Avenue.
Location: From Durango, follow North College Drive, or 8th Avenue, to Rim Drive. Parking is available across from the chapel. This is the downhill version of the nature trail hike.