Falls Creek Hiking

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About

Summary

Discretely tucked away behind the hubbub of Durango, the Falls Creek trail system undulates through what many locals call Hidden Valley. These easily accessible trails follow the remote CR 205 through a wide, grassy meadow with white sandstone cliffs flanking it on either side.

Written by

Margaret Hedderman

Distance

6.0 miles

Destination Distance From Downtown

0.1 miles

Difficulty

2 of 5 diamonds

Time To Complete

2 hours

At your leisure, as it is an out and back

Seasonality

Spring, Summer, and Fall

Dog Friendly

Yes

Fees Permits

No

Land Website

Falls Creek Trail

Review

Intro

Discretely tucked away behind the hubbub of Durango, the Falls Creek trail system undulates through what many locals call Hidden Valley. These easily accessible trails follow the remote CR 205 through a wide, grassy meadow with white sandstone cliffs flanking it on either side. Sheltered beneath these cliff faces are some of the oldest known Anasazi ruins, which are currently closed to the public.

If you choose to incorporate an easy climb into your hike, the trail branches off to the east after a mile and gains the ridgeline for views of the Animas Valley. This relatively easy hike is great for families, or anyone looking for a relaxing afternoon walk.

What Makes It Great

Falls Creek is essentially an “in-town” hike, but its secluded location lends to its wonderful feeling of remoteness. With multiple trailheads and access points along CR 205, you can begin hiking at your leisure. Follow the narrow single track straight down the valley. On your left, you may be able to see Anasazi ruins hidden beneath the sandstone ledges.

Discovered in 1938-39 by Earl H. Morris, the Durango Rock Shelters are some of the oldest Anasazi ruins in the nation, dating back to 200-500 CE. Forty-seven human remains were found along with jewelry, sandals, and pottery, making this a significant archeological discovery. The rock shelters are currently off limits to the public, but if you’re curious about Anasazi ruins and culture, make the drive out to Mesa Verde National Park near Cortez.

As you head down the valley, you’ll begin to see trails leading up to the eastern ridge. It’s a low-angle and gradual climb to the first of several viewpoints of the Animas Valley, stretching away into the mountains. Though this trail system is marked on very few maps, it is relatively hard to get lost up here. That said; don’t venture behind your comfort zone.

Who is Going to Love It

From downtown, Falls Creek is a fifteen to twenty minute drive, making it a great choice for a short afternoon hike or early morning workout. You’ll frequently see trail runners and the occasional mountain biker. Because of it’s easy grade, kids and seniors alike will enjoy Falls Creek. If it’s been raining heavily, the trail across the grassy meadow can be quite muddy and even waterlogged.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

From downtown, drive north on US 550 to 25th St. Take a left. Twenty-fifth turns into Junction Creek Rd., which then turns into CR 204. At 4.3 miles, take a right onto CR 205. After another 2.5 miles, you’ll see a small carpark next to several large boulders and a sign for the Falls Creek Archeological Area. You can park here, or continue up the road to several other small parking areas. The Falls Creek trail system can be enjoyed at most times of the year and would be a great area to snowshoe or cross-country ski if the snow were deep enough.

Location

Falls Creek

Durango, CO,
37.27528, -107.880067

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