A new route to an old favorite, from Turtle Lake to Animas Overlook

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A new route to an old favorite, from Turtle Lake to Animas Overlook

A narrow opening reveals Entrada Sandstone cliffs below. U.S. Highway 550 rolls pleasantly through Hermosa and then rakes up into the San Juan Mountains.
Begin at the Turtle Lake Bouldering Garden and walk north through BLM property to the Log Chutes trail system in the National Forest. Hike east on the Scenic Route above the Turtle Lake valley and swing north tracking Hidden Valley to the Animas Overlook. Return on the Cut-Off.
Travel basics

Travel: From Main Avenue in Durango, go west on 25th Street. It transitions to Junction Street and then La Plata County Road 204/Junction Creek Road. At the first stop sign, 2.8 miles from Main Avenue, turn right onto County Road 205. Pass Turtle Lake and watch for a long parking pull-out on the right as you are midway up a hill. A large undercut boulder on the northwest side of the road marks the spot, 1.1 miles from the stop sign.


Distance and Elevation Gain: 9.2 miles; 2,240 feet of climbing for the Scenic Route, ascending, and Cut-Off, descending.


Time: 4 to 6 hours


Difficulty: Trail; navigation moderate; no exposure


Maps: Durango West; Durango East, Colorado 7.5’ USGS Quads or Apogee Mapping

A new route to an old favorite, from Turtle Lake to Animas Overlook

A narrow opening reveals Entrada Sandstone cliffs below. U.S. Highway 550 rolls pleasantly through Hermosa and then rakes up into the San Juan Mountains.
Begin at the Turtle Lake Bouldering Garden and walk north through BLM property to the Log Chutes trail system in the National Forest. Hike east on the Scenic Route above the Turtle Lake valley and swing north tracking Hidden Valley to the Animas Overlook. Return on the Cut-Off.

A new route to an old favorite, from Turtle Lake to Animas Overlook

Irresistible viewpoints are frequent. Missionary Ridge rises 3,000 feet above the Animas River Valley.

A new route to an old favorite, from Turtle Lake to Animas Overlook

A hiker at Animas Valley Vista looks over to Animas City Mountain. A low ridge separates Hidden Valley from the Animas River Valley. Meandering oxbows span the width of the floodplain.

A new route to an old favorite, from Turtle Lake to Animas Overlook

The volume of earth space at the Animas Overlook spans from the valley floor to fourteeners in the Weminuche Wilderness. Two hikers look toward the Twilights.
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