Durango, Colorado, is a winter wonderland offering many outdoor recreational activities. Snowshoeing is a popular pastime for visitors and locals alike, allowing hikers to explore the beautiful snowy landscapes. Snowshoeing trails can be found in the San Juan National Forest, surrounding the city, and nearby areas like Purgatory Resort. The sport can be enjoyed by beginners and experts alike, with trails ranging from easy to difficult. Snowshoers can take in breathtaking views of snow-covered mountains and forests while enjoying the crisp winter air. With its abundance of snowshoeing trails, Durango is an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts in the winter months.
From scenic beginner trails to more challenging backcountry routes, Durango has it all. Whether you're looking for a peaceful solo trek or a fun family adventure, grab your snowshoes and hit the trails for a winter wonderland experience like no other. Discover the best snowshoeing spots in Durango, Colorado!
Our Favorite Snowshoeing Rental Shops and Guides around Durango
Durango offers a variety of rental shops and guide services for snowshoeing enthusiasts. Many shops also provide a range of gear options, including snowshoes, trekking poles, and insulated boots. Guides can help with trail recommendations, safety tips, and navigation skills, making it easy for beginners to enjoy the experience.
Pine Needle Mountaineering
Located on Main Avenue, Pine Needle Mountaineering in Durango provides a variety of snowshoeing gear for rental, including snowshoes, poles, and boots. They offer quality equipment to ensure their customers an enjoyable and safe experience. Additionally, they provide expert advice on trails, conditions, and safety tips to enhance the snowshoeing experience in Durango.
Backcountry Experience in Durango is a premier outdoor gear shop with exceptional snowshoeing experience. They provide top-of-the-line snowshoeing equipment, ensuring that adventurers are well-equipped to explore the snowy landscapes of Durango. With their extensive knowledge and expertise, they offer personalized guidance and expert advice to help visitors make the most of their gear’s fit and function. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced snowshoer, Backcountry Experience is the go-to place for all your snowshoeing needs in Durango.
Located on Camino Del Rio, Purgatory Sports provides high-quality snowshoeing gear rentals. You can also pick up skis, snowboards, seasonal passes, and Purgatory Mountain Resort merch here. The knowledgeable staff at Purgatory Sports can help visitors choose the right equipment and provide tips on the best local trails for all your winter activities—not just snowshoeing
A full-service winter sports rental shop, Ski Barn in Durango offers snowshoe rentals and accessories for visitors looking to explore the area. They provide high-quality snowshoes well-suited for the Durango terrain and knowledgeable staff to help you find the right fit and gear for your adventure. They also offer a “Bargain Basement” with equipment from previous seasons if you’re on a tight budget; with affordable rates and a convenient location in the heart of town, Ski Barn is excellent for those looking to rent snowshoes in Durango.
Our Favorite Places and Trails to Go Snowshoeing around Durango
Durango offers snowshoeing enthusiasts an array of scenic and diverse trails to explore, including the San Juan National Forest, Purgatory Resort, and the Animas City Mountain Trail. With stunning views of snow-covered peaks, picturesque forests, and frozen waterfalls, these trails offer beginners and experienced snowshoers opportunities. Whether seeking an adventurous backcountry experience or a leisurely trek through the woods, Durango's snowshoeing trails have something for everyone.
Molas Pass Area
Molas Pass, located at an elevation of 10,900 feet, is a stunning area near Durango with plenty of snowshoeing opportunities. The pass is accessible year-round, and in winter, the space transforms into a wonderland in winter. The Molas Pass Trailhead offers snowshoeing routes, including the 6-mile out-and-back Little Molas and Molas Lakes Trail. These trails wind through beautiful aspen groves and pine forests, providing stunning views of the surrounding snow-capped peaks. Additionally, the area offers a serene and peaceful experience due to its quieter, less crowded location. It's a perfect spot for those seeking solitude in the winter wonderland.
Vallecito Reservoir and Vallecito Nordic Ski Club
The Vallecito Reservoir area provides excellent opportunities for snowshoeing enthusiasts. The area offers a variety of trails, like the 9-mile Vallecito Creek Trail which weaves through the stunning San Juan Mountains. The Vallecito Nordic Ski Club grooms 9 miles of trails and offers trail maps, lessons, and guided tours. In addition to snowshoeing, visitors can enjoy cross-country skiing and ice skating on the frozen lake. The picturesque scenery, fresh mountain air, and peaceful surroundings make it an ideal spot for a winter outing.
La Plata Canyon
Located in the peaceful La Plata Mountains, La Plata Canyon is an excellent place to experience snowshoeing in a serene and beautiful environment. The canyon offers trails for both beginners and advanced snowshoers. The trails range from moderate to strenuous, providing a challenge for everyone. Snowshoeing in the canyon offers stunning views of the surrounding 13ers, and wildlife sightings are common. The canyon is easily accessible from Durango and provides a unique winter experience for all who enjoy the beauty of the outdoors.
Durango Nordic Center
The Durango Nordic Center area offers a fantastic snowshoeing experience for all skill levels, with over three miles of groomed trails that wind through serene forests and rolling hills. Durango Nordic Center is a full-service Nordic skiing and snowshoeing center located just north of Durango. They offer snowshoe-guided tours, clinics, and lessons for all skill levels. The Nordic Center also offers guided snowshoe tours, providing a unique opportunity to learn about the local flora and fauna from experienced guides. The center also has a cozy lodge with a fireplace, hot cocoa, and snacks to enjoy after a day on the trails.
The Haviland Lake area, located 18 miles north of Durango, offers incredible snowshoeing opportunities. The 9-mile trail system, which is groomed regularly, meanders through towering Ponderosa pines and spruce forests and crosses a frozen lake. Snowshoers can choose from various routes, and the area is a prime location for winter dispersed camping, making it an excellent destination for an immersive winter adventure.
Snowshoeing Safety and Care for Durango Tips
Snowshoeing in the backcountry can be a wonderful and exhilarating experience, but it's also essential to recognize the risks and dangers that come with it. Unpredictable weather, rugged terrain, and limited access to help can quickly turn a fun adventure into a dangerous situation. It's essential to be prepared with the appropriate gear, including avalanche safety equipment, and know the area and current weather conditions. Additionally, it's recommended to travel with a partner or group and to let someone know your plans and expected return time. Following safety guidelines can help ensure a safe and enjoyable snowshoeing experience.
Be Avalanche Aware: Check the Conditions and Know Your Limits
When snowshoeing in the backcountry, check the avalanche conditions before heading out. This can be done by reviewing the avalanche forecast for the area, assessing the current snow conditions, and using common sense. It's also essential to know your limits and those of your group. Stay within your skill level, and don't push yourself too hard. It's always better to err on caution and turn back if conditions become too challenging. Be sure to carry the appropriate safety equipment, including an avalanche beacon, shovel, and probe, and know to use them if needed.
Be Avalanche Aware: Bring All of the Appropriate Avalanche Gear
When heading out for a snowshoeing adventure, bringing along the right gear is essential to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Dressing appropriately for the weather and bringing extra layers is a must. Additionally, snowshoers should bring a map, compass, GPS, and emergency supplies such as a first aid kit. It's also essential to have appropriate snowshoeing equipment, including snowshoes and trekking poles, and to check that they are in good condition before heading out. Finally, remember to let someone know your planned route and expected return time.
Pack the Right Clothes, Food, and Water
When snowshoeing, it's important to pack enough food and water to sustain your body throughout the trip. Dehydration can occur in cold weather just as quickly as in warm weather, and the exertion of snowshoeing can make you even more prone to dehydration. It's best to bring plenty of water, as well as a way to purify additional water if necessary. When it comes to food, choose high-energy snacks like trail mix, energy bars, and jerky to keep your body fueled. Packing an extra meal in case of an emergency or unexpected delay is also a good idea.
Adventure awaits in the heart of Durango's winter wonderland as you embark on thrilling snowshoeing expeditions. The possibilities are endless, from the rugged trails of Molas Pass and the tranquil beauty of Vallecito Reservoir to the serene La Plata Canyon and the groomed paths of Durango Nordic Center. But remember, safety is paramount. Be avalanche aware, know your limits, and equip yourself with the necessary gear. Pack wisely, stay hydrated, and be prepared for the unexpected. Durango's snow-covered landscapes offer a gateway to extraordinary experiences, where the beauty of nature unfolds with every step. So embrace the thrill, soak in the breathtaking vistas, and let Durango ignite your winter spirit like never before. Adventure awaits—come and discover it on the snowy trails of Durango!