Summary: Durango River Walk is a beautiful walking path alongside the Animas River, running through the heart of downtown Durango. The scenic trail is ideal for hiking, cycling, and exploring nature, or simply relaxing while enjoying the stunning views of the river.
1. The History of Durango River Walk
Durango River Walk has an interesting history dating back to the early 1900s when the railroad first came to town. Freight trains would rumble through the city center, often causing accidents and disrupting daily life. In the 1980s, residents began to imagine a greenway along the river, which would provide safe access to the area while preserving its scenic beauty. In 1994, the City of Durango was granted a $2 million grant from the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act to build the trail. Today, the 1.3-mile long pathway boasts beautiful gardens, water features, wildlife habitats, and community spaces.
The trail also serves as a connection for cyclists commuting to work or school. Since its opening, it has become a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.
In 2016, the Durango River Walk was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, acknowledging the trail’s significance as a public space and its role in the transportation and social history of the area.
2. Outdoor Activities on Durango River Walk
Durango River Walk offers ample opportunities for outdoor recreation, including walking, biking, running, fishing, and bird-watching. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll along the river, stopping to admire the sculpture installations and murals along the way.
Cyclists can enjoy the comradery of other bicyclists on Bike-to-Work Day, or simply pedal along the riverside on their daily commute. The trail has plenty of rest stops and water fountains, making it an ideal spot for runners, walkers, and hikers of any level.
Catching trout in the Animas River is a favorite activity, with some areas stocked by the Durango Fish Hatchery, while others are managed as wild trout rivers. Bird lovers can spend hours observing the numerous species that call the river their home, such as ospreys, kingfishers, and bald eagles.
3. The Art and Cultural Scene on Durango River Walk
Along the Durango River Walk, you’ll find a creative mix of public art installations. From bronze sculptures to murals, the trail is a pathway to the area’s vibrant art culture. The sculptures, many of which are located in the gardens of the median strip, depict local history, wildlife, and various cultural symbols.
Jogging along the trail, you’ll come across murals that add pops of color and life to the community. These murals reflect the area’s vibrant cultural diversity, including patronage from various tribes, cultures, and ethnic groups.
Taking a stroll through the gardens of the median strip, visitors will also discover many varieties of native plants and trees that make up the natural landscape of the area.
4. Food and Drink on Durango River Walk
When taking a walk on Durango River Walk, make sure to stop by one of the many coffee shops, breweries, or restaurants that line the trail. You can grab a cup of coffee and sit by the river gazing at the mountains, or head into a nearby pub for a cold brew and some delicious food.
The restaurants and bars have outdoor patios that overlook the riverwalk and offer an excellent view of the activities going on around. Seasons change, and some spots offer unique seasonal menu options making each season distinct in its own way.
From gourmet cuisine to easy-going comfort food, and breweries with extensive beer selections, Durango River Walk offers a wide range of culinary delights for every palate.
5. Community Events on Durango River Walk
Durango River Walk is not only an outdoor destination, but it is also a vibrant hub for community events and festivals. Mainly in the summer, numerous popular festivals take place, such as the Festival of the Arts, 4th of July Parade, San Juan Brewfest, and river rafting festivals.
In addition to these festive occasions, weekly farmers’ markets, live music performances, and movie nights are also held on the trail throughout the year. The events add to the liveliness of the area, and people from all walks of life are seen enjoying and participating in them.
Alongside these events, locals organize group outings and gatherings, such as bike rides, hiking adventures, and socials, providing a perfect way to meet new people in the area.
In summary, Durango River Walk is a beautiful escape that offers something for everyone, whether it’s outdoor activities like biking, running, or birdwatching, or soaking up the vibrant art, culture, food, and drink scene that lines the trail. It is the perfect spot to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life and enjoy the natural stunning views around the Animas River. For residents of Durango or visitors alike, the trail is an ideal community space for escaping, gathering for events and festivals, or tranquil walks by the river.