Complete with restaurants, shops, entertainment venues, and historical landmarks to discover, a trip to Durango, Colorado is bound to be filled with options for fun from start to finish. Whether you’re one for dining your way through a stay or enjoying museums and galleries alike, there’s no shortage of activities to keep travelers entertained in this part of Colorado. There’s also no shortage of wildlife to spot and enjoy! If you’re the type of traveler looking for a one-of-a-kind adventure that puts you up close to the best that nature has to offer, Durango is a destination that answers the call with ease. The following are the top five Durango wildlife watching spots that will add a bit of outdoor flair to your experience. Don’t forget your camera when you’re up for some wildlife spotting, as the memories you make are ones you’re sure to want to remember long after you’ve left Durango behind and returned home.
Bear Crossings Along the Animas River
While sightings are seasonal and not as common as other mammals in the area, there is a black bear population that calls the wilderness surrounding Durango home. Black bears are very curious Durango animals that can typically be spotted crossing the Animas River during the spring or summer months. If you find yourself spotting a mother bear with cubs, it’s best to keep a good distance and simply let them go on their way. Spotting a black bear in Durango is exciting but should always be done with caution top of mind.
Mule Deer Within the Fort Lewis College Campus
One of the most common wildlife sightings in Durango is the mule deer, and one of the best places to catch a glimpse is the Fort Lewis College Campus. These herbivores are noticeably larger than their white tail counterparts and boast long ears that resemble a mule—hence the name! They tend to travel in herds and don’t pose a threat to humans but feeding them or approaching them is discouraged. Instead, take some time to appreciate their calm and captivating nature from a distance. If you miss a few passing through, not to worry, there’s sure to be more!
Elk Near Hermosa and Silverton
If you want to get your eyes on some stunning elk, you’ll want to travel just a bit outside of Durango’s city center towards Hermosa or Silverton. This is a haven for elk at certain times of the year as herds move up and down the mountains according to rising and falling temperatures. In general, elk are relatively docile, but male bulls can prove aggressive in certain seasons, so the recommendation is always to take photos and observe from a minimum of 25 yards away.
Mountain Goats in the San Juan Mountains
Visitors love Durango for its stunning scenery. The surrounding San Juan Mountains make for a mesmerizing sight no matter what time of year you arrive. They also provide mountain goats with an oasis of tranquility where they can thrive in high-elevation environments. It’s here that visitors to Durango can get a glimpse of these agile creatures in their natural element, if only you’re willing to hike your way to the adventure. Areas near Chicago Basin are particularly prime spots for mountain goat sightings. As with all wild creatures, it’s best to keep your distance when observation is the goal. Mountain goats are generally calm around people but can show an amount of aggression if they happen to feel threatened. Bring your camera and prepare to stay several feet away while still capturing some incredible photos!
Bird Watching in the Spring and Winter
While the land that makes up the greater Durango area is filled with all kinds of amazing creatures, the skies are no exception to the rule. Bird watchers flock to Durango year-round to make the most of amazing watch experiences that fluctuate in exciting ways depending on the season. If you find yourself in Durango during the winter months, head over to the Animas River Trail where you can enjoy spotting everything from winter songbirds to waterfowl in abundance. In the springtime, Pastorius Reservoir welcomes a wide variety of shorebirds and amongst the cottonwoods, visitors may be lucky enough to spot northern waterthrush.
Book Your Stay and Enjoy Durango Wildlife Watching
Taking time to unwind and enjoy the world around you is important. There’s no better place to do exactly that than Durango, Colorado. When you’re ready for a getaway that pairs outdoor adventure and beauty with in-town fun, this is just the right place to be. Contact Durango Colorado Vacations today to learn more about our vast collection of mountain resort rental properties across the area. We’ll make sure you’re settled in a home away from home that pairs comfort, luxury, and style while keeping you close to those places and Durango animals you just can’t wait to explore and see! We can’t wait to see you soon on your next Colorado-bound adventure! Also, be sure to check out our entire house Airbnb rentals in Durango.
Purgatory Resort is a great place to enjoy nature and has options for wildlife watching as well. Make sure to book one of our Purgatory condos and enjoy all the amenities that come with a great stay!