Fort Lewis Trail System

Perfect for thrillseekers and families alike, the Fort Lewis Trail System provides a unique vantage point for visitors to see Durango and the La Plata Mountains. While short, the Rim Trail and Lion’s Den Trail reveal the best of what the area offers—in under five miles. The Trail System can be accessed from either Chapman Hill, the Skysteps, or hookups around the Fort Lewis College campus.

In the summer, there are opportunities for trail running, mountain biking, and bird watching. 

In the winter, visitors can snowshoe at their leisure or pop over to the nearby Chapman Hill for a downhill ski experience in town. 

Things to Do in the Fort Lewis Trail System


Family Hiking on the Rim Trail During Fall

Hikers can expect easy to moderate difficulty while hiking the Rim Trail and Lion’s Den Trail.

For college visits, hikers thinking about attending Fort Lewis College can see most of the campus from the Rim Trail. For a challenging ascent, hikers can use the 500-step Skysteps or the ABC Trail to access the trail system. 

On the Lion’s Den trail, hikers can stop by the Peter Carver Memorial Forest, and Geology Overlook to learn about the region’s geologic history and topography from a series of placards and models. There is also a picnic station and bathroom near the top of the trail. 

Mountain Biking

Mountain Biking on the Rim Trail During Fall

The Fort Lewis Trail System is a gentle ride for most mountain bikers. The most extreme terrain can be found on the western, Durango-facing section of the trails.

Be cautious of the steep drop-offs in this area. There is a connection to a bike park just past Animas High School. 

Bird Watching

Avid birders have a unique opportunity to find birds nestled in the trees on the western section of the Trail System. Some common species that can be found here are red-tailed hawks, great-horned owls, and western bluebirds — to name a few. Please do not disturb the nests. 


Winter visitors can stay close to town and enjoy fresh snow in the Fort Lewis Trail System. The Rim Trail and Lion’s Den trail are not groomed but are heavily trafficked. 

Maps and Site Resources

Travel Tips for Fort Lewis Trail System

  • Bring plenty of water with you on your journey. 

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

  • Check out and play with the large chimes near the top of the Skysteps.

  • Access the Trail system from campus for a more leisurely hike. 


Accessibility Information

  • The trail is unpaved and narrow

  • Steep through multiple sections


Care for Durango

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

  • If you're biking, be mindful of foot traffic. 

  • Follow Leave No Trace (LNT) principles.

  • Do not engage with or feed the wildlife. 

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

  • Please be respectful of others on the trail. 

  • Please be quiet and courteous to FLC field classes utilizing trail space.