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Bicycling

With a healthy college population and a generally mild climate, Durango is extremely bike-friendly and a popular destination for single-track enthusiasts. Many locals consider bikes to be their main form of transportation. The bike lobby is active, the trail system is well developed, and mountain biking is a particularly popular recreational activity.

Animas River Trail. Thanks to recent upgrades linking the northern and southern sections of the trail, this 7-mile concrete path parallels the river from Animas City Park south to Dallabretta Park in one smooth stroke. It's the main artery, linking up with several of the town's other trail systems. Durango, CO.

Hermosa Creek Trail. This single-track trail travels roughly 19 miles from Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort to the town of Hermosa. It's an intermediate-to-difficult ride with a couple of steep spots and switchbacks along with mellow rolls through open meadows and towering aspen and pine forests. The trail hugs the steep riverbank at a few places and there are a few creek crossings, so you shouldn't try it too early in the season, while the snow is still melting (the water can be waist-high in the spring and early summer). To minimize the fight against gravity, you can leave your car at the lower trailhead and catch a shuttle to the top—even so, there will still be plenty of climbing. Trailhead 2 miles from Purgatory's upper parking lots, Durango, CO, 81301.

Iron Horse Bicycle Classic. Every Memorial Day weekend, the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic pits cyclists against the steam engine of the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. The 47-mile course roughly parallels the tracks from Durango to Silverton (although the train actually follows a shorter, easier route). The event, one of the biggest bike races in the United States, draws more than 2,000 competitors. College Ave. and Camino del Rio, Durango, CO. 970/259–4621. www.ironhorsebicycleclassic.com.

Tours and Expeditions

Mountain Bike Specialists. Although everybody in town seems to be an expert, the staff at this shop can rent you a bike, help arrange a tour, or just give you directions to the trail of your dreams. It also does expert repairs. 949 Main Ave., Durango, CO, 81301. 970/247–4066. www.mountainbikespecialists.com. Mon.–Sat. 9–6.

Fishing

Duranglers. In business since 1983, Duranglers sells rods, reels, flies, and other equipment, gives fly-fishing lessons, and runs guided trips to top trout-fishing spots in the area, including the San Juan, Animas, Dolores, Piedras, and Los Pinos rivers. 923 Main Ave., Durango, CO, 81301. 970/385–4081. www.duranglers.com.

Golf

Dalton Ranch Golf Club. About 6 miles north of Durango, Dalton Ranch is an 18-hole championship course with inspiring views of the Animas River Valley and surrounding San Juans. Carts cost $15 per person for 18 holes, and nonmembers are required to use a cart. Swing, the clubhouse's full-service restaurant and bar, is a popular hangout for golfers and locals who like watching the resident elk herd take its afternoon stroll. The golf season is early April to late October, weather permitting. 589 County Rd. 252, off U.S. 550, Durango, CO, 81302. 970/247–8774. www.daltonranch.com. Reservations essential. 18 holes. Yards: 6934/5539. Par: 72/72. Green fee: $80/$105. Facilities: Driving range, putting green, pitching area, golf carts, rental clubs, pro-shop, lessons, restaurant, bar.

Hillcrest Golf Club. Hillcrest is an 18-hole public course perched on a mesa near the campus of Fort Lewis College. Carts are $13 per person for 18 holes. The course is open from February to December, weather permitting. 2300 Rim Dr., Durango, CO, 81301. 970/247–1499. www.golfhillcrest.com. Reservations essential. 18 holes. Yards: 6912/5194. Par: 71/71. Green fee: $36. Facilities: Driving range, putting green, pitching area, golf carts, pull carts, rental clubs, pro-shop, lessons, restaurants.

Hiking

Hiking trails are everywhere in and around Durango. Many trailheads at the edges of town lead to backcountry settings, and the San Juan Forest has plenty of mind-boggling walks and trails for those with the urge to explore.

Animas View Overlook Trail. If you're pressed for time (but still want spectacular views), try the 0.7-mile Animas View Overlook Trail. It takes you past signs explaining local geology, flora, and fauna before bringing you to a precipice with an unparallelled view of the valley and the surrounding Needle Mountains. It's the only wheelchair-accessible trail in the area. Trailhead at Forest Rd. 171, Milepost 8, Durango, CO.

Across from the Fort Lewis College Recreation Complex is a kid-friendly hike called Lion’s Den Trail. It connects with the Chapman Hill Trail for a nice moderate hike, climbing switchbacks that take you away from town and hook up with the Rim Trail.

Colorado Trail. Starting a few miles northwest of Durango, the Colorado Trail covers about 500 miles on its way to Denver. You're not obliged to go that far, of course. Just a few miles in and out will give you a taste of this epic trail, which winds through mountain ranges and high passes and some of the most amazing mountain scenery around. Trailhead off County Rd. 204, Durango, CO. www.coloradotrail.org.

Trails2000. Before you go, check the local organization Trails2000 for directions, information, and news about hiking in and around Durango. Durango, CO. 970/259–4682. www.trails2000.org.

Horseback Riding

At the entrance to Haviland Lake, about 20 miles north of town, Rapp Corrall offers a variety of trail rides into San Juan National Forest. Trips range from one-, two-, or three-hour jaunts to day-long treks to above-timberline trails on Engineer Mountain, or you can combine horseback riding with cave-exploration. In the winter, they offer sleigh rides. Prices range from $45 to $200.

This outfit offers a variety of guided trail rides (hour-long to full-day rides, plus breakfast or sunset dinner trips). You can also take part in cattle drives.

Rapp Corral. At the entrance to Haviland Lake, about 20 miles north of town, Rapp Corrall offers a variety of trail rides into San Juan National Forest. Trips range from one-, two-, or three-hour jaunts to day-long treks to above-timberline trails on Engineer Mountain, or you can combine horseback riding with cave-exploration. In the winter, they offer sleigh rides. Prices range from $45 to $200. 51 Haviland Lake Rd., 81301. 970/247–8454. www.rappcorral.com.

Rafting

Durango Rivertrippers. This outfitter runs two- and four-hour trips down the Animas River. You can up your adrenaline output by swapping the raft for an inflatable kayak on any of the Animas River trips. Or ask about zipline and rafting packages, tube rentals, and ATV tours. 720 Main Ave., Durango, CO, 81301. 970/259–0289. www.durangorivertrippers.com.

Rock-Climbing

East Animas. You'll find some of the best crack and face climbing at East Animas, just a few miles east of town. Don't miss the "Watch Crystal" route, a favorite with the locals. East Animas is off County Road 250, about 2 miles east of U.S. 550. The parking area is on the east side of the road. Off County Rd. 250, 2 miles east of U.S. 550, Durango, CO.

San Juan National Forest. There are plenty of opportunities for climbing in the Columbine Ranger District of the San Juan National Forest, just outside of Durango. Some of the more popular spots are Julia's Spire, Golf Wall, and Fume Wall. U.S. Forestry office, 15 Burnett Ct., Durango, CO, 80301. 970/247–4874. www.fs.usda.gov/sanjuan.

X-Rock. Just north of town, X-Rock offers a little bit of everything—slag, crack climbs, bouldering—for novice and intermediate climbers. It's also a great place to learn (or just brush up on) basic climbing skills. One look at the distinctive natural cracks that cross its face will tell you how it got its name. Off U.S. 550, just north of 32nd St., Durango, CO.

Tours and Expeditions

San Juan Mountain Guides. For classes and guided trips in some of the area's most beautiful and challenging crags, talk to San Juan Mountain Guides. Seasonal courses run year-round and cover the basics (beginning climbing techniques, belaying, and rappeling) as well as specifics such as rock rescue and desert crack climbing. Trips run from one to five days. 1111 Camino del Rio, Suite 105, Durango, CO, 81302. 970/259–0370. www.mtnguide.net.

Snowmobiling

Snowmobile Adventures. With access to more than 75 miles of trails traversing mountain passes, old stagecoach roads, and mining sites, Snowmobile Adventures leads one- to four-hour tours from base area of Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort. Rides are available daily during ski season between 9 and 5. Village Center, Durango, CO, 81301. 970/385–2141. www.durangomountainresort.com.