Best Places to Snowshoe Around Durango
You don’t have to give up nature walks and trail hikes just because there’s a little (or a lot) of snow on the ground. Throw on some winter gear, round up your friends, and check out one of the many local snowshoeing hotspots in and around Durango. Each offers a unique snowshoeing experience with varying difficulty levels. There are many trails with challenging treks or simple trails for those of us who’ve never put on a snowshoe in our lives. So grab your gear and even bring your furry friends and head out into the snowy abyss.
Vallecito Creek Trail - Easy/Moderate
This out and back style trail is great for those who have snowshoed once or twice in the past but need a little refresher. Breathtaking views are available during the first mile; the valley closes into a gorge and displays enormous ice formations on the cliffs adjacent to the trail. Overall, the entire trail offers a mild elevation gain of just over 1,000 feet spread over 11 miles of snow ... not that you'd want to go almost 12 miles into the wilderness during the winter unless you know what you're doing. But with a fairly slow climb and gentle inclines and declines, its great for getting used to that feeling of wearing snowshoes again while experiencing great views on a three-mile round tripper.
Photo of Snowshoeing Vallecito Creek Trail from Uncovering Colorado
Hermosa Creek Trail - Moderate
If views are what you’re looking for, be sure to consider this out and back style trail, following Hermosa creek into the San Juan Mountains. At any time, you’ll be surrounded by either rolling hills or soaring pines, but you’ll always have the creek (and the snow) by your side. It also joins with Dutch Creek Trail, an easy 1.2 mile out and back detour if you’re looking for some extra views.
Photo of Hermosa Creek Trail from All Trails
Colorado Trail to Gudy’s - Moderate
From April thru November, this trail is highly trafficked with hikers, trail runners, and bikers. If you’ve been wanting to head up to Gudy’s but didn’t want to deal with the crowd, now is the perfect time! The summer crowds are gone, and the trail still offers the same astonishing views just waiting for you to see. Bonus, if you’re a geocacher, there is a hidden geocache about 20 minutes in!
Photo of Colorado Trail to Gudy's from All Trails
Smelter Mountain Trail - Easy/Moderate
This classic Durango trail offers a steep yet fast snowshoeing experience without having to actually leave the town. The 3.8-mile hike features an incline of over 1,300 feet making it somewhat of a challenging incline. During the winter season (December - April 15th) the trail is only opened from 10am to 2pm so plan accordingly.
Photo of View from Smelter Mountain from All Trails
Falls Creek Loop - Easy
With only a 500-foot elevation gain this trail is perfect for absolute beginners. Located near Trimble, this trail is flat, long, and a great way to discover your love for snowshoeing. Even though the elevation gain is low, the trail still offers great views and offers many adventurous options.
Photo of Falls Creek Path from All Trails
Cascade Creek East Fork - Moderate
This Durango favorite, well known for its waterfall, is a great adventure for avid snowshoers. With a 1,500-ft. elevation gain, the trail offers a unique shoe shoeing experience for all. Keep in mind, December thru March, snowshoes are required to get to the falls. If you’re lucky, you may get to see the waterfall completely frozen!
Photo of Frozen waterfall from Cascade Creek East Fork from All Trails