A project that has been on going in some way or another since the first section was paved in 1976, the river trail is now connected from for over 7 miles. As the name would suggest, it winds along side the Animas River.
The river, originally named Rio de las Animas Perdidos, means River of Los Souls. The headwaters begin in the mountains north of Silverton, CO and the upper Animas is visible from the Durango Narrow Gauge Rail Road tracks, though most of the upper section is not visible to the public.
By the time the river travels to the Animas Valley, the river widens and slows into a winding snake pattern caused by the glaciers that receded with the last ice age. More river features appear in town and a white water park is visible from the River Trail near Santa Rita Park.
The white water park is prime for watching rafters and kayakers play in the waves. In high water in early June, rafts may flip and kayak races are held for the Animas River Days.
What Makes It Great
The River Trail’s access to all that Durango has to offer is unparalleled. However, what makes the path great is in the name: the river.
You’ll remember feeling the pulse of Durango as you travel through the heart of town. From the rafters and kayakers floating, to kids and dogs playing in the shallows on the banks, to the train rumbling by, the town centers around the river.
Who is Going to Love It
Those looking for a recovery day between epic hikes in the San Juan Mountains or a day to acclimate to higher elevation will embrace the level incline of the River Trail. It doesn’t take an off-day to enjoy everything the River Trail has to offer, though, just open eyes and a sense of adventure.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
The River Trail can be easily accessed by nearly any point in town, here are a few suggestions. Some of the better starting points going south are the corner of East 29th Street, the Durango Recreation Center, or the Durango Public Library. To go north into town on the River Trail, park at Santa Rita Park, Four Corner’s River Sports, La Plata County Humane Society.