The City of Durango Parks offers world-class views and facilities for visitors of any age. The 12 major parks in town have unique amenities, vistas, and culture.
Whether you are visiting in mid-winter or the heat of summer, the City of Durango parks has day-long activities for children and seniors alike. The parks dot the entirety of the cityscape, so visitors will be within walkable distance from a quaint park picnic regardless of where they stay.
In addition, every park in Durango is immaculately maintained and cared for by the Durango Parks & Recreation office. Visitors will be pressed to find parks elsewhere in the southwest that are as clean, safe, and well-built as the City of Durango Parks.
Just a 10-minute walk from downtown Durango, Santa Rita Whitewater Park is the perfect destination for weekend warriors looking to spike a volleyball or for families looking for a riverside picnic experience.
The park includes a picnic pavilion and tables, a visitor’s center, grassy areas for picnicking, a children’s playground, restrooms, horseshoe pits, fishing spots, basketball courts, kayak courses, and access to the 7.1-mile, e-bike-friendly Animas River Trail.
For nighttime visitors, there are abundant light sources that span the park.
At the base of Smelter Mountain (7,723 ft) lies the Durango Off-Leash Dog Park. Located just 12 minutes from downtown Durango, it is the perfect place to play with your canine best friend, and it is the only park that allows dogs to run free without a leash. The gated park entryway off Highway 160 is equipped with pick-up bags and trash receptacles, so please be sure to clean up after your furry companions.
If you can’t keep up with your pup, there are plenty of benches to relax on and watch the waters of the Animas River flow.
A cultural fixture in downtown Durango, Buckley Park is a favorite for young people looking to picnic or protest. The park is a 3-acre green space with towering trees that provide ample shade for intimate gatherings or individuals looking for a reprieve from the bustle of downtown.
The park features a rock garden, bench seating, and is handicap accessible.
The Hesperus Peace Park is approximately 3.3 miles from downtown Durango and located on the Fort Lewis College campus. The serene park is styled after a kiva, a ceremonial building used by the Ancestral Puebloan people, and is a favorite for deep thinkers and focused college students.
The park has ample seating, a rock garden, and a variety of native trees scattered about the grounds.
The Chapman Hill Ice Rink is located just one mile from downtown Durango and is a mecca for skaters, rollerbladers, and hockey enthusiasts. Depending on the season, the rink offers public skating, drop-in hockey, stick and puck, a freestyle program, adult hockey leagues, and weekly Disco Night skating.
Located just outside the ice rink, the Chapman Hill Ski Area is a seven-acre downhill slope that locals and visitors frequent in lieu of a lengthy trip to Purgatory Ski Resort. The groomed ski area has two lifts, 25 ski trails, and a steep vertical drop of 500 feet.
Most ski trails at the Chapman Hill Ski Area are beginner-friendly, but some may be challenging.
Only four miles from downtown Durango, Dallabetta Park is a beautiful green space with towering ponderosa pines and views of the Animas River. The park comes complete with a picnic shelter, bench seating, restrooms, and fishing access.
The park is also barrier-free and wheelchair-accessible and has access to the Animas River Trail.
The Oxbox Park and Preserve is a large park with 44 acres of green space along 1.7 miles of the Animas River. 38 acres of the park and preserve have been earmarked for riparian conservation, with the remaining six developed for park facilities and river access. Oxbow is a local favorite for birders and wildlife enthusiasts.
Oxbow Park and Preserve is located at the beginning of the 7-mile Animas River Trail and is a great place to start your trek.
There is no onsite parking in the vicinity, so the park must be accessed via bike or on foot.
Smith Sports Complex is an expansive 17-acre park located on the Fort Lewis College campus, just 3.3 miles from downtown Durango. From the complex, visitors are treated to beautiful views of Raider Ridge, the La Plata Mountains, and the FLC campus.
The complex has a playground, a soccer field, restrooms, picnic tables, and tennis courts. There are lights installed around the complex for night visitors.
The complex is located near a disc golf course to the south.
Memorial Park is a favorite for locals and their families looking to watch the waters of the Animas River drift by. Depending on the time, visitors may see the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Train also pass by.
A mile and a half from downtown Durango, Memorial Park is a quaint space near the Animas River. The park has a playground, picnic tables, bench seating, restrooms, and a boat ramp.
Additionally, there is nearby access to the Animas River Trail.
Durango Botanic Gardens will excite any visitor with a green thumb. Just a short, 10-minute trek from downtown Durango, the botanic gardens will be a marvel for horticulturists of any ability.
For visitors, there are ten gardens with various flora and fauna to explore, both individual and group tours, and opportunities to learn about horticulture as a volunteer.
Just a 5-minute walk from downtown Durango, Rotary Park is perhaps the most idyllic riverside park in town. With views of the Animas River, an abundance of Aspen trees, and Victorian-style structures, Rotary Park calls to mind a simpler time in Durango’s long history.
The park is equipped with bathrooms, bench seating, fishing areas, picnic tables and chairs, and a lovely gazebo for intimate gatherings. It is also barrier-free and wheelchair-accesible.
The Animas River Trail can also be accessed from this park.
A favorite for young people, Schneider Park is a 7-acre mecca for skaters and anglers alike. Located just two minutes from downtown Durango, the park has restrooms, picnic tables and chairs, fishing areas, a playground, and—of course—the biggest skate park in Durango.
Schneider park also has access to the Animas River Trail, and avid fishers frequently drop in and fly fish nearby.
The park is also barrier-free and wheelchair-accessible.
Except for Santa Rita Park and Rotary Park, all other park bathrooms are subject to seasonal closure in the winter.
Stop by 2nd Deli and Spirits to grab food and drink for your picnic!
The sun is much stronger at higher altitudes, so apply and reapply sunscreen liberally every two hours.
Visitors looking to put in the Animas River should do so upstream at Oxbow Park and Preserve or Memorial Park.
Park in residential neighborhoods to save on parking costs.
Most parks in this list are paved, barrier-free, and wheelchair-accessible.
When visiting these parks, do not be loud or obnoxious out of respect for other visitors and locals.
Please pick up all of your waste and dispose of it properly.
Except at the Durango Off-Leash Park, dogs must be leashed or otherwise physically restrained. Do not leave pets unattended.
Please research the park restrictions and conditions before you make your trip.
Wear a personal flotation device when swimming or putting in the Animas River.
Be courteous and quiet to nearby homeowners when you visit the parks.