Everyone says that southwest Colorado got the best end of the Colorado trail from Denver to Durango and I agree. We live here and have many, many other trails to compare it to. The trail is beautifully maintained by many volunteers, the scenery is wonderful and there are several ways to enjoy it. For an hour to a half day, the trail starts very close to Durango out Junction Creek Road and follows Junction Creek. Try a short walk in an almost wilderness setting or go several miles up to Goudy's Rest with a great view towards Durango and the mesa beyond. Have a day and car? You can find the trail in the very high country at Molas Pass. Wide open high altitude walking. I would head west from the highway to avoid the steeper east heading trail. Easy down but tougher up on the way back. Watch out for possible afternoon lightning in the summer. Take plenty of water, good shoes, a good hat, suntan lotion, some snacks and a light windbreaker in case the weather turns cool. This is about 40 miles north of Durango and near the fun old mining town of Silverton. We recommend the Handlebar restaurant for a pure mountain Colorado experience. Have a day and a four wheel vehicle? Ask for the way to Kennebec Pass. The road goes from pavement to true four wheeling over many mile up to the pass where the trail crosses. I suggest heading west. Beautiful meadows. A small lake. Wildflowers. Amazing views of the La Plata peaks and the San Juan Mountains marching to the north. Big vistas of forest and peaks. Our friends from Baltimore (sea level) flew to Albuquerque (say 5,000') then drove to our home (7,500') in one day. They insisted on hiking the pass (say 11,000') the very next day. Let's just say they had a great time and . . . survived the altitude. I would recommend a few days of acclimation to really get the most out of this area. Have a backpack and some time? The wilderness camping is first class.
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