Starting in Durango
The great majority of thru-hikers, bikers and riders start their Colorado Trail journeys in Denver. (Here at the CTF we think starting from Denver is probably best for most everyone. Reasons appear on the Starting in Denver page.) Some Trail travelers, however, find it either more convenient to begin at the Junction Creek Trailhead, the CT’s southern terminus of about 4.5 miles from downtown Durango, or are already acclimatized to high elevations and up for the challenge of climbing from around 7,000 feet in elevation to more than 12,000 feet in the first 23 miles. And some who are considering traveling northbound like the opportunity to cross paths with far more fellow travelers than they would were they heading southbound.
The Junction Creek Trailhead is about three and a half miles along a paved road beginning at Main Avenue and West 25th Street in Durango. After about four blocks, West 25th becomes Junction Street and then Junction Creek Road (County Road 204), which leads to the trailhead. About a mile farther on County Road 204 is Junction Creek Campground, administered by the U.S. Forest Service.
While there is parking at the Junction Creek Trailhead, in part because of its small size and high demand, it is not advisable to leave a vehicle there for extended periods. Either arrange a ride to the trailhead or plan to walk there from your accommodations in Durango. There are numerous lodging options in town, including several on Main Avenue near West 25th Street. The city operates a trolley through downtown Durango and along Main Avenue. For other transportation options, go to the official Durango website, durangogov.org, and click on “Ground Transportation,” or visit the Durango Area Tourism Office website, durango.org, and click on “Durango Business Directory” and then on “Transportation and Motor Vehicles.”
Those arriving at the Durango-La Plata County Airport will want to arrange transportation into town, about 20 miles away, before arriving because there is no regular taxi or shuttle service to and from the airport. Again, a number of options are listed under “Ground Transportation” on durangogov.org.
Finishing in Durango
More people finish than start a thru-hike in Durango. We have received many photos of celebrations at the trailhead. We offer this gallery.