Church Camp Trail System

The Church Camp Trail System is Durango’s best-kept secret. Though small, this trail system packs a punch as it cruises through a hidden valley with tall grass and Ponderosa Pines. It also offers breathtaking views of the layered Hermosa cliffs across the Animas River Valley. 

In the summer, visitors can take a short hike, ride their mountain bike, or climb and boulder in this area. 

For winter visitors, this valley becomes the destination for cross country skiers and snowshoers looking for a quick jaunt. 

Things to Do in the Church Camp Trail System


Hiking to the Falls Creek Waterfalls During Spring | Hans Hollenbeck | Visit Durango

There are two trails in the Church Camp Trail System: the 1.3-mile Ridge Hike Trail and the 1.4-mile Church Camp Loop.

Though slightly longer, the Church Camp Loop is flatter and easier for children and the elderly.

For more of a challenge, try the Ridge Hike Trail, which has more variation in elevation gain. It also has stunning views of the lower Animas River Valley. 

Mountain Biking

Without a doubt, the best trail for mountain bikers is the Ridge Hike Trail, which has breathtaking, technical drop-offs through buttery smooth powder. 

Because of the brevity of the trails, many mountain bikers combine both the Church Camp Loop and Ridge Hike Trail for a longer, more difficult ride. 

Climbing and Bouldering

Rock Climbing at Falls Creek During Summer | Grumpyhighlander

The best climbing and bouldering spots near this trail system can be found nearby at Turtle Lake

For climbers, the Turtle Lake Cliffs offer some interesting, technical challenges along quality sandstone. Some favorite routes are Coyote’s Tooth and Ichabod

For boulderers, there are a variety of problems along CR 205. The most popular challenges are Gray Beard and Angler

Cross Country Skiing and Snowshoeing

Church Camp Loop and Ridge Hike Trail are fantastic paths for cross country skiing and snowshoeing. Keep in mind, though, that there is no winter signage posted in this trail system. 

Please educate yourself on avalanche safety and best practices, and remember that mountain slopes are not the only place where avalanches can occur.

Maps and Site Resources


Travel Tips for the Church Camp Trail System

Falls Creek Recreation Area During Summer | Dave Sugnet | Visit Durango

  • Bring plenty of water on your journey.

  • The sun is much stronger at higher altitudes, so apply and reapply sunscreen liberally every two hours.

  • Keep an eye out for the secret waterfall in the area. 

  • Be aware that predators are known to stalk the area at dusk.

  • Avoid blisters and stop by Brown’s Sport Shoe to get properly fitted shoes for trail running.


Care for Durango 

  • Please pack out all trash and waste, including your pet's waste.

  •  If you bike in, be mindful of foot traffic.

  • Follow Leave No Trace (LNT) principles.

  •  Dogs must be leashed or otherwise physically restrained. Do not leave pets unattended.

  • Do not pick the wildflowers.

  • Do not engage with or feed the wildlife.

Pledge to Care for Durango