Durango is surrounded by the scenic San Juan National Forest, which covers more than 1.8 million acres and is home to high alpine lakes, breathtaking canyons and waterfalls, and historic sites like those at Chimney Rock Archeological Area.
Campgrounds and rustic picnic sites are located throughout the San Juan National Forest. Recreational opportunities are endless, and range from fishing for trout in high alpine lakes to hiking, backpacking, and camping under the Colorado stars. More information on camping and recreation in the San Juan National Forest and Weminuche Wilderness Area is available through the US Forest Service.
Located within the San Juan National Forest is the vast Weminuche Wilderness Area, which at nearly half a million acres is the largest wilderness area in Colorado. The rugged and spectacular Needles Mountains are located in the Weminuche Wilderness just north of Durango, and are are a paradise for hikers, climbers, and photographers alike.
US Forest Service maps, guidebooks, and information for visitors planning trips into the San Juan National Forest can be obtained through the San Juan Mountains Association. The San Juan Mountains Association promotes education, stewardship and information on public lands in southwest Colorado.