When playing around Durango, Colorado, make sure you're following some simple things to "Recreate with Care." Durango has over 300 trails spread across the incredible trail and local recreation areas. As the trails get more usage during the warmer months of the year, we all have a responsibility to share and play together- for the benefit of the trail's health, each other, and our Durango animal friends.

In order to keep everyone safe and minimize environmental impact, here are some things to remember when recreating in Durango this spring:

#1 Obey Fire, Grilling, and Smoking 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.

#2 Check 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!

#3 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.

#4 Stay on Designated Trails

When exploring Durango's incredible trail system, please stay on the marked and designated trails. Walking off-trail can damage fragile vegetation and soils. It also creates new social trails which can lead to erosion problems.

Switchbacks are an important part of trail design. They help reduce erosion by spreading out the impact of foot traffic. They also help protect against overuse by allowing for a more gradual elevation gain. Please do not shortcut switchbacks!

#5 Pack Out Your Poop (And Your Pet's Too)

Be sure to pack out your own waste, and your pet's as well! There are many Leave No Trace principles to follow when recreating, one being to "Pack it in, Pack it Out".

There are dog bags available for free at many of Durango's trailheads and at many local businesses. Please do your part in keeping our trails clean!

#6 Respect Wildlife

Help protect our amazing wildlife by giving them distance, leashing your dog, and obeying wildlife closure areas.

It is tempting to feed the many rabbits, squirrels, and other wildlife you may see while enjoying Durango's great outdoors, but please resist the temptation!

#7 Check the Weather and Stay Off Of High Elevation Areas After 10:00 am

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!

#8 Wear the Right Clothes

Durango's weather during the warmer months can fluctuate a lot throughout the day. It is important to dress in layers so that you can easily take off or put on clothing as the temperature changes.

Wearing synthetic fabrics (that wick sweat away from your body) and a hat is always a good idea!

#9 Pack Enough Food, Water, and Salt

No matter where you are going or how long you plan to be out, always pack more food and water than you think you will need. The elevation in Durango can cause dehydration quickly, so it is important to stay hydrated.

Bring along some salty snacks as well: trail mix, pretzels, or even a small bag of chips, etc. Eating salty foods helps your body retain water. It's also common practice to salt your water before hitting the trails!

#10 Wear and Reapply Sunscreen Every Two Hours

Wearing sunscreen is important no matter what elevation you are at or how long you plan to be out in the sun. Be sure to reapply every two hours, or more if you are sweating a lot or playing in Durango's rivers or lakes.

#11 Stretch Early and Often

Stretching before and after your adventures is crucial in order to avoid injury. Durango has many beautiful trails with varied terrain from easy, flat sections to more difficult, rocky climbs.

Your body will thank you if you take the time to stretch those muscles before and after a day of recreating!

#12 If On Wheels, Water, or the Wall- Wear a Helmet

If you are doing any activities that involve wheels, water, or rock climbing- be sure to wear a helmet! This will help protect your noggin in case of an accident. We want everyone to stay safe and healthy in Durango!


There are many things to consider before heading out to recreate in Durango- from obeying the fire restrictions to knowing what to wear and pack.

By following these tips, you can help ensure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience while recreating in Durango!

We hope you enjoy your time recreating in Durango! Please remember to do so with care- for the sake of the trails, the environment, and each other.