Selecting Durango, Colorado as a getaway destination is always exciting for travelers. This versatile locale has something for everyone to enjoy whether you’re one for the great outdoors or looking to relax in style. If wildlife watching is what you love to do, Durango offers up opportunities at just about every turn. The following are some of the Durango, Colorado wildlife-watching destinations in and around town that you’re not going to want to miss out on while you’re here.
Make the Most of Viewing Opportunities at Mesa Verde National Park
First established as a National Park in 1906, Mesa Verde National Park is a Durango destination that many travelers add to their itinerary in the name of viewing the stunning cliff dwellings left behind by the Ancestral Puebloan peoples that occupied the area hundreds of years ago. It’s also home to the Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum and Mesa Top Loop Road which takes visitors past many of the most iconic dwelling areas within the community. Complete with scenic overlooks and trails that host petroglyphs, Mesa Verde National Park is the perfect place for visitors to embrace the best of local history. It’s also a prime place in Durango for wildlife watching when you’re looking to connect with nature! The park is only 48 miles west of downtown Durango, making it easy to reach year-round.
The biological diversity found here is stunning and the terrain is home to a variety of incredible species too. Some of the wildlife that are commonly spotted within the parameters of Mesa Verde National Park include great horned owls, pygmy owls, long-earned owls, flammulated owls, and spotted owls too. Those who are specifically visiting the park to set their sights on these winged creatures are advised to focus their attention on places like the Far View Lodge or Morefield. Other wildlife to keep your eyes open for during a visit here include porcupines, elk, marmots, gray foxes, mule deer, and black bears. Wild turkeys are also known to roam throughout Mesa Verde National Park. While visitors are more than welcome to enjoy wildlife watching independently, if you’re looking to learn more along the way, you might want to consider participating in a ranger-led tour to make more of the experience!
Explore the Molas Pass Area
When you’re looking to watch incredible raptors near Durango, you’ll want to grab your binoculars and head to the Molas Pass Area while you’re in town. This destination sits close to the Colorado Trail and is a popular place for visitors to enjoy hiking, biking, and skiing depending on the time of year. It’s also an oasis of potential when it comes to spotting everything from falcons and hawks to eagles overhead! Many visitors report spotting red-tailed hawks, osprey, peregrine falcons, and golden eagles too, particularly around the West Turkshead Peak. Here, elk sightings are also a common occurrence much to the delight of wildlife watchers from near and far. Additionally, wildlife you can spot when you spend time at Molas Pass includes mule deer, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, bobcats, mountain lions, lynxes, marmots, and moose too!
Plan on Birdwatching at Perins Peak State Wildlife Area
If birdwatching is what tops your list of interests while pursuing wildlife encounters in Durango, you’ll want to make sure to set aside time to visit the Perins Peak State Wildlife Area at least once. Situated on Durango’s western edge, the Perins Peak State Wildlife Area is home to everything from great horned owls and black-chinned hummingbirds to downy woodpeckers, white-faced ibis, and Eurasian collared doves as well. This area has several lookout points that offer high-altitude views from which you just might see mule deer, cottontail rabbits, coyotes, raccoons, and black bears during your visit as well!
Add La Plata Canyon to Your Wildlife Watching Adventures
Brimming over with mountain ravines and lush terrain, La Plata Canyon is a must-visit for Durango, Colorado wildlife watching at its best. Just 12 miles north of the city, La Plata Canyon offers 10 sprawling miles of landscape to explore as you pursue one-of-a-kind views of the animals of Durango that call this area home. A visit here is a chance to encounter everything from big horn sheep and lynxes to bobcats, elk, mountain lions, and mountain goats too. Near the bottom of the ravine, Canyon Creek flows, providing a prime habitat for Cordillera flycatchers, spotted sandpipers, and even great blue herons. In the trees at higher elevations, you’re likely to get a good look at bald eagles, great horned owls, American kestrels, woodpeckers, and red-tailed hawks too.
See the Animals of Durango Next Time You Book Your Stay
The next time travel plans bring you to Durango, make sure you have incredible accommodations in place by booking your vacation rental with a jacuzzi through Durango Colorado Vacations. We’re here to make sure your home-away-from-home includes the luxury, comfort, and style you deserve with every booking. Reach out today to learn more about our exciting options!