Choose from the following to find a site:
San Juan National Forest is known for spectacular high elevation hiking and extensive backcountry opportunities. Whether hiking for a day or heading to the backcountry for several nights, the scenery will take your breath away and perhaps you will leave feeling a bit more connected to this gorgeous, but rugged country.
- Colorado Trail: From Denver to Durango, the Colorado Trail passes through 88 miles of the San Juan National Forest. All the information you need to know before you hit the trail can be found at Colorado Trail Foundation with up-to-date conditions, closures, etc.
- Continental Divide Trail (CDT): The CDT travels 3,100 miles from the Canadian to the Mexican border with approximately 152 miles traversing through the Pagosa and Columbine Districts of the San Juan National Forest. Before heading out, visit the Continental Divide Trail Coalition website and make sure to check the Closures & Alerts page to find out if there are any closures, fire bans, or other restrictions affecting the section of trail you’d like to visit.
Resources to Help Plan Your Adventure
Columbine District: DurangoTrails.org - maps and descriptions of hiking/biking trails throughout Durango and the San Juan Mountains
Pagosa District: PagosaTrails.org - hiking suggestions and detailed descriptions for the Pagosa Springs area
Know Before You Go
- Weather: Conditions can change rapidly! Violent afternoon thunderstorms are something the San Juan Mountains are notorious for.
- Start early. Storms typically hit early afternoon and can last until after dark.
- If you are planning to be above treeline, start early to avoid exposure during afternoon thunderstorms. Check out our Lightning Safety Guidance for more information
- Altitude: Elevations range from 7,000 to 14,000 feet. Pace yourself, drink water, and eat snacks to help prevent altitude sickness. Symptoms include headache, loss of appetite, and weakness or drowsiness. If affected, descend quickly. If symptoms persist, seek medical aid.
- For more safety tips, check out our Know Before You Go page.