Colorado is notorious for ever-changing conditions. Whether it be the weather, updated health tips, and conditions, or road conditions. Not to mention, too much or too little information can be one of those things where knowing ahead of time could end up saving your life.
Much of La Plata County is accessed by two-lane county roads. the San Juan Skyway, as an extension of 550, is also a highly trafficked two-lane road that traverses high alpine terrain and is vulnerable to extreme weather conditions. Icy roads, snow-packed roads, mudslides, rock slides, and other extreme conditions can exist. Be aware before heading out.
Colorado's weather conditions are always changing and can be unpredictable. Having multiple layers, a rain shell, a hat, and plenty of water and food is critical. Stay up to date on weather conditions before hitting the trail. Temperatures in town can carry greatly from those at a mountain peak or deep into a canyon.
City of Durango order #2020-08 requires all persons to wear a face-covering when entering, waiting in line to enter, and while in the following locations within the City of Durango, regardless of whether they have a fever or symptoms of COVID-19 until further notice. Additionally on July 16, Colorado Order D 2020 138 requires all individuals over ten (10) years old must wear a face covering over their noses and mouths.
Fishing License: Required to enter Smelter Wildlife Area and Perins Peak Wildlife Area. These can be acquired at Big 5 in Bodo Park.
Interagency Recreation Passes: These national interagency passes offer discounts, free entrances, and cover some standard amenity fees at recreation sites.
Durango is surrounded by National Forest land, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land, and Private Property. Knowing where you are and are not permitted to travel is imperative. Below are resources to better assist in your activity and route planning:
Having adequate information before venturing out can increase the enjoyment of your trip and experience while setting you up for success. The repercussions of being unprepared can lead to very dangerous exposure while putting your life and others' lives in danger.
Practicing the Leave No Trace Principles allows you to enjoy your excursion without causing irreversible damage to the surrounding environment.
Knowing routes, waypoints, and the ability of your group will aid you in completing an expedition that is realistic, safe, and comfortable for everyone involved.
La Plata County Search and Rescue consists of multiple teams of wilderness and backcountry emergency first responders. These volunteers are skilled outdoorsmen and women with extensive knowledge of the surrounding terrain. By getting into a position that requires search and rescue to respond, you are now putting their lives in danger trying to locate and extract you. Knowing before you go can increase your probability of success and decrease the possibility of needing extraction. By requiring extraction, you expense an entire medical, fire, and police team when there may be more severe matters that also need attending to.
High elevation and exposure to the sun at said elevations can quickly become a problem. Heat exhaustion (caused by dehydration and fatigue can lead to organ failure), Heatstroke (a life-threatening rise in core body temperature), Hyponatremia (a combo of high sweat, high water consumption and low salt intake, leading to seizures), and exertional rhabdomyolysis (the breakdown of muscle fibers, release of myoglobin and leading to renal failure) are all conditions that can lead to trouble on the trail. Hypothermia continually ranks of the top three killers in the backcountry. A pleasant day in the mountains can sometimes end in snowfall and whiteout conditions.