Be Aware- Recreate with Care in Summer

When adventuring in Durango, Colorado, make sure to follow some easy tips to "Recreate with Care."

With over 300 trails throughout its picturesque landscapes, there's something for everyone here. However, as we begin using these trails more during the summer months, it's crucial that we take care of them and each other.

By following a few basic guidelines, we can help preserve Durango's natural beauty while also keeping ourselves and others safe:

Things to Consider

Know and Respect the Fire Restrictions

Restrictions vary across land boundaries. In City limits, no fires, grilling, or smoking is allowed on City trails, parks, and open space areas.

If heading into federal public lands, be sure to know the current fire restrictions before heading out! These restrictions are put into place for a reason- to help prevent human-caused wildfires.

Campfires and charcoal grills are typically not allowed on US Forest Service land.

Always check the US Forest Service's website before considering a campfire of any kind.

Pack Out Your Waste, TP, and Litter

Nobody likes to see trash on the trails. Please be respectful and pack out your own waste as well as any litter you may see.

That includes toilet paper and cigarette butts!

Though burying it may seem like a good idea, it takes a long time to decompose and can contaminate water sources. Instead, pack it out in a plastic bag until you can properly dispose of it.

Stick To the Trail

Durango's trails are fragile- please stay on the designated paths to avoid damaging soil and vegetation. Walking off the trail also creates social trails which can cause erosion problems.

Switchbacks play an important role in maintaining Durango's trails. They help reduce erosion by evening out foot traffic impact and prevent overuse by allowing for a more gradual elevation gain.

In short, don't take shortcuts on switchbacks!

Know The Trail Conditions

Before you hit the trail, check the conditions! Durango Trails updates its website regularly with the current conditions of popular trails around the area.

Stay on approved trails and remember:

Hike/ride dirt, not mud!

Be a Responsible Pet Owner

Make sure you know the local leash laws before taking your furry friend out for a walk. They vary depending on where you are.

And don't forget to pick up their waste and carry it with you when you leave. Leaving poop bags at the trailhead is inconsiderate– there are usually free dog bag dispensers available at businesses and trails anyways.

Help us keep things clean by doing your part!

Know The Proper Camping Etiquette

Planning on spending the night under the stars? Make sure you know the proper camping etiquette:

  • Pack out all of your trash!
  • Don't camp too close to water- at least 200 feet away
  • Use existing campsites whenever possible to minimize your impact


Be Bear Aware

In Durango, we coexist with a variety of wildlife, including bears. Bears are attracted to human foods, so it's important to take precautions when storing food while camping or hiking.

Keep all food stored in airtight containers and never leave food unattended- not even for a second!

If you see a bear, do not approach it. Give it space and time to move away on its own. If a bear does not see you, it will usually go about its business and ignore you.

Know The Proper Trail Etiquette

We know that you are excited to get outside and explore, but please be considerate of others while doing so.

Be sure to know and follow the proper trail etiquette: be considerate of other users, yield to uphill traffic, control your speed, leash pets, etc.

Please be mindful of your noise level, especially early in the morning or later in the evening when people may be trying to enjoy the peace and quiet of the trails. This includes not using portable or backpack speakers.

Dogs must be on-leash or under vocal control at all times.

Be High-Altitude Aware

Because Durango's elevation is already high at 6,512 feet, it is important to drink lots of water and take breaks when needed.

If you start experiencing any altitude sickness symptoms like headaches, nausea, or lightheadedness, immediately descend to a lower elevation and get medical help if needed.

Also be mindful not to consume too much alcohol as the body processes it differently at high elevations- you will become inebriated more quickly than usual.

Know and Respect the Weather

Before you head out, check the weather conditions and be prepared for whatever may come! Thunderstorms during monsoon season (which starts around July 4th) are unpredictable.

A good rule of thumb is to be descending from any high ground at 10:00 am. Earlier starts during monsoon season are the name of the game!

Plan for the elevation you're heading to!

Take the Care for Durango Pledge



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