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Top Places To Adventure Off The Beaten Path In Durango

Fall Durango From Smelter - Durango - Mild to Wild

How to get off the beaten path in Durango. It’s no secret that Durango is a hot spot, which can make it difficult to relax if you don’t know where to escape the crowds at every scenic lookout, campground, and restaurant. Even locals tend to run into lines on the trails and longer waits for their favorite downtown eatery. Luckily there’s still some places around here that not everybody swarms to or even knows about. Check out this guide to getting off the beaten path in Durango, and vacation the way Mother Nature intended you to.

Lemon Reservoir – Camping and Outdoor Fun

Lemon Reservoir - Durango, CO

Vallecito Lake and Lake Nighthorse tend to get pretty thickset during the warmer months, but Lemon Reservoir has somehow kept its low-key vibes. This smaller lake offers the serenity nature-lovers are looking for both on the water and in its surrounding forest. Climbers also love this area for its technical sends and gorgeous granite. Rent a kayak, camp, and explore the Burnt Timber Trailhead that snakes into the vast Weminuche Wilderness.

Bolam pass – Off Roading and San Juan Mountain Views

Fall Aspen Tree at Molas Pass - San Juan Skyway - Mild to Wild

Give Purgatory Ski Resort a welcomed wave goodbye on the way up to this incredible mountain pass. Take this scenic, off-roading excursion without worrying about who’s behind you or the lookie-loos waiting at the top. Segment 26 of the Colorado Trail also intersects at Bolam, which is the perfect spot to explore and perhaps catch a thru-hiker in the last push of their 500-mile journey.

Sailing Hawk Trail – Hiking and Climbing right in town

Sailing Hawks Trails - Durango, CO

This 2.9 loop in Durango off Florida Road is filled with shade and bouldering opportunities. If you’re not into climbing, this is still a great trail to hike and bike as it offers a lot more solitude than any other trail right in town. Also, mountain bikers love the technical descents here and hikers can look forward to a little more of challenge through its rocky terrain.

La Plata Mountains – All around Isolation

Durango, CO-Durango Jeep-Mild to Wild Rafting

No matter what you’re trying to do in Durango’s surrounding beauty, the La Plata mountains will deliver it on a silver platter of serenity. OHV’s will rejoice on Kennebec Pass, hikers will frolic on the Colorado Trail to Taylor Lake, and kids will coo from exploring old mining cabins in La Plata Canyon. These mountains are outside of Hesperus which is 20 minutes west of Durango. It also has the best brunch spot ever, the Kennebec Cafe.

Upper Animas River

Upper Animas River Extreme Colorado Whitewater – Mild to Wild Rafting

Because the Upper Animas is both an incredibly remote and difficult river to run, adventure seekers will find themselves truly immersed in the wilderness finally far from crowds. The best way to get as much time with this gorgeous mountain stream in the Weminuche is to take a multi-day rafting trip. You’ll conquer the most commercially difficult whitewater in the country, and sleep under the most stars Colorado has to offer.

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