Better than the river trail with views of the Animas River Valley and the La Platas, the Rim Trail circumnavigates Fort Lewis College and Hill Crest Golf Course all while offering unimpeded views of Historic Downtown Durango.
Want the experience of running through the town of Durango without the pounding of pavement or river trail traffic? The Rim Trail, beginning at the base of Chapman Hill and winding around Fort Lewis College, AKA The Campus in the Sky, and overlooking town can bring great perspective along with a great run.
What Makes It Great
Follow the single track as it travels left across the base of the hill and begins to climb and switchback. Gaining altitude quickly will bring views of the valley and river below. Near the ridge the trail will split, both go to the rim trail, but the lookout from the highest point is at the top of the left and well worth the extra hundred meters.
The right will merge seamlessly with the rim trail, however the left option, once the lookout is reached will disappear near the Hillcrest Golf Course parking lot and reappear on the other side, not a long detour but noteworthy.
The rim trail remains level as it goes south toward campus and overlooks downtown Durango. The perspective offered from this vantage point is unparalleled by any trail in town. Stay high on the trail as it begins to curve east and then drops near a creek bed and road crossing.
Continue to skirt the perimeter of campus by circling the backside of the dorms and Frisbee golf course. Several footpaths may appear, but when in doubt follow any evidence of bikers – they stick to the main trail. An option to descend to the right will appear, but that leads to more bike trails and away from campus.
Circle the fields and turn left when you’ve returned to the golf course, head due west until you find yourself back at the rim trail. You may either descend the way you came, from Lion’s Den, or go down Chapman Hill to where you began.
The Lion’s Den Loop and Rim Trail are dog friendly, however within city limits, especially with several street crossings, leashes are required.
Who is Going to Love It
Runners ready for a quick workout with some real burn.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Begin at the base of Chapman Hill, the town ski hill that has served as the start for bike races and training ground for young skiers. To reach Chapman from Highway 550 going north, turn right onto 15th Street. Cross the train tracks and continue uphill turning left onto Florida Road. At the roundabout turn right into the Chapman Hill parking lot. There is no permit or fee required. The trailhead is located at the far north end of the indoor skating rink.