While the Colorado Trail goes all the way to Denver from Durango, you don’t have to go that far to enjoy the pleasantries of one of the greatest trails in North America.

Commonly known as Junction Creek, the Colorado Trail leads immediately into a narrow canyon that follows the bubbling and sometimes rushing Junction Creek. This can make for the perfect day hike, or short jaunt. There are numerous places to stop by the water, let pets jump in and soak up the scenery. The trail does break away from the water’s edge for a length but rejoins it at about two and a half miles, crossing a bridge then leading up seven switchbacks through ponderosa pines that sway in the breeze. Without fail, you can hear the wind in the treetops for miles around you.

At just under four miles you’ll come to Gudy’s Rest, named for the tireless advocate of the Colorado Trail, Gudy Gaskill, known affectionately as “the mother of the Colorado Trail.” Finding a broad and engaging view of the Junction Creek drainage into Durango, it meets views with Perins Peak State Wildlife Area that rises to the south. For many, this overlook is quite moving and is a good point of return, making a nice eight mile round trip.

This trail does have slight exposure in a few spots, and is very popular with hikers, runners and mountain bikers, so be cautious of other users.