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“National "Forest" not National Park- A Must Do”

San Juan National Forest
Ranked #1 of 77 things to do in Durango
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Wilderness area consisting of forested mountains, 14,000-foot peaks, scenic roads, geological formations, prehistoric communities and a narrow-gauge railroad.
Reviewed 17 August 2014

Keep in mind, this is a national forest, not a national park. This means there is no visitor center or park ranger at the forest. There are minimum trail signs. We drove to the information center at 15 Burnett Court in Durango. The center has a few small exhibits on local wildlife. Alan S was very, very helpful in helping us choose trails out of hundreds of trails. He gave us a useful tips and a few options, including Spud Lake trail which is the trail we decided to do.
The start of this trail is about an hour from Durango. Driving from Durango to San Juan national forest, you do pass the Durango Mountain Resort/purgatory and the Pinkerton Hot spring rock thing on the right side of the road.
Alan at the information center gave us exact directions to find the trail head to Spud Lake. It's about a 45 minute drive up a mountain once turning off the highway. We had a Chevy Sonic as a rental and had to drive about 5pmh to navigate across the rocks, pools of water, etc. It was a tough drive, as Alan warned us. You park off this unofficial dirt lot next to a big pond filled with lilies. It's deceiving because the road does continue upward. The information sheet for this hike says its about a mile to get to Spud Lake, it's definitely more than a mile. It is an easy-moderate hike with great views.
We actually came upon some sad-looking ponds and thought it was Spud Lake but luckily we kept walking because the "Real" Spud Lake is breathtaking. The hike was well worth it.

Thank James G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"beautiful drive"
in 13 reviews
"hiking trails"
in 11 reviews
"beautiful area"
in 14 reviews
"great hiking"
in 5 reviews
"vallecito lake"
in 5 reviews
"the million dollar highway"
in 15 reviews
"pagosa springs"
in 11 reviews
"take your time"
in 5 reviews
"beautiful scenery"
in 19 reviews
"fall colors"
in 8 reviews
"take photos"
in 6 reviews
"animas river"
in 10 reviews
"hike"
in 41 reviews
"beauty"
in 30 reviews
"ridgeway"
in 9 reviews
"turnouts"
in 5 reviews
"wildlife"
in 28 reviews
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305 - 309 of 474 reviews

Reviewed 14 August 2014

We were in Telluride for a wedding and decided to take the long road home. So we drove the Million Dollar Highway which was spectacular and stopped in Silverton then Durango before heading to Salida for the night. Perfect little special look at the SW corner of CO.

1  Thank momof2wildchilds
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 August 2014

Drove through on or way from Cortez to Alamosa!! One of the most beautiful drives of our trip. Give yourself enough time to stop at the turnouts and take pictures. We drove Hwy 160 and the stream with small waterfalls running along the side was so peaceful. Also the small towns along this route are worth a stop.

Thank BonnieS45
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 August 2014

Beautiful campground just outside Durango. No hookups. Quiet! Absolutely beautiful! Nice hike down the road.

Thank cr8zykittens
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 10 August 2014

Beautiful hiking amazing views. Trails well marked. Hike to the top and see amazing scenery. Nothing bad can be said about this beautiful Forest.

Thank Vanwith7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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