Outdoor Recreation

Explore the many hiking and biking trails of the Mesa Verde and San Juan Mountain region.  You can also go skiing, horseback riding, fishing or rafting.

Skiing Near Mesa Verde
Chicken Creek Nordic Area

Chicken Creek Nordic area offers beautifully groomed trails just down the road from Starry Nights Ranch.  A great group of volunteers spend many hours taking care of the more than 10 miles of trails for both classic and skate skiing.  (Snowshoes and fat-tire bikes are not allowed.) (5 minutes)


Families from Durango love Purgatory’s unintimidating slopes, free lessons and beginners’ terrain park.  It sports 103 trails, 7 terrain parks, a racing course and 35,000 acres of snow cat playland. (1 hour)

Silverton Mountain

All thrills, no frills. Colorado’s highest and steepest ski mountain offers an un-groomed, no-easy-way-down expert terrain for those who prefer skiing the old-school way. (2 hours)

Ski Hesperus

About 20 miles east of Mancos on Route 160, Hesperus is an especially great option for families and has the region’s largest night-skiing operation with 26 trails and 60 acres. (25 minutes)


Driving into the Victorian-era town of Telluride (shortened from an early visitor’s remark – “to hell you ride”), one wouldn’t believe there are 2,000 acres of ski terrain because it’s hidden behind a soaring mountain ridge.  A quick gondola ride ferries visitors to skiing and riding bliss. (2 hours)

Wolf Creek Ski Area

There is always snow at Wolf Creek Ski Area at Pagosa Springs with back country skiing.  Soak at the Hot Springs after a day of enjoying fresh powder on the slopes. (2 hours)

Mountain Biking
Boggy Draw Loop

Many great trails to choose from for both beginner and intermediate riders.

Phil's World

When seeking bike trails near Mesa Verde National Park, look no further than the Phil’s World Trail System.  Built by and for mountain bikers, Phil’s World offers nearly 60 miles of mind-blowing mountain bike trails just about 10 miles from Mancos.  It is one of Colorado’s most popular mountain biking locations – without the crowds.  Full of steep, enjoyable pitches that dip in and out of arroyos, over slickrock and ledges, with views of the Sleeping Ute, La Plata, and Mesa Verde mountains, the MTB Project and International Mountain Biking Association rated Phil’s World the #2 in Colorado and #10 Best Rides of All Time.  The trail system, maintained by the Southwest Colorado Cycling Association, offers something for every level of rider – including the famous Rib Cage trail, a rollercoaster of flowy single track, sweeping berms and hoots ‘n hollers.

Horseback Riding
Four Corners Horseback Adventure

Located in Mancos. (15 minutes)

Rimrock Outfitters

Sleigh rides, wagon rides, pack trips, breakfast rides, and dinner rides – all these are offered at Rimrock Outfitters in Mancos.  Check out their website at rimrockoutfitters.com for more detailed information. (14 minutes)

River Rafting
Durango Rafting Company

Located in Durango. (40 minutes)

Mild to Wild Rafting & Jeep Tours

Located in Durango. (40 minutes)

Mountain Waters Rafting

Located near Durango. (34 minutes)

McPhee Reservoir

The second largest body of water in Colorado, has both warm water and cold water fishing, swimming and boating
. (20 minutes)

Basin Creek Waterfall

Located in Hesperus. (49 minutes)

Centennial Peak Trail

A 4.4-mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Mancos, Colorado that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is best used from May until September. (58 minutes)

Chicken Creek Trail

A 13.8-mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Mancos, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, mountain biking, and snowshoeing. Dogs are also able to use this trail. (7 minutes)

Dolores Canyon Overlook

Located near Dolores. (1 1/4 hours)

Dry Fork Trail

Beautiful mountain biking, hiking trail just outside Durango. Moderate to hard 7 mile loop.  This trail also meets up to the Colorado Trail for a full day hike. (42 minutes)

Mancos State Park

There are a number of trails in and around Mancos State Park great for hiking. (14 minutes)

Ramparts Loop Trail

Ramparts Loop is a 5.1 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Mancos, Colorado that features a great forest setting and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and mountain biking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. (28 minutes)

Transfer Campground: Big Al Trail

Views and scenery abound. (25 minutes)