North of Durango near Purgatory, the Animas River Trail runs along steep river banks through a rocky canyon. The route starts by following the Purgatory Trail (#511) east and then southeast down along Cascade Creek to the Animas River (3.7 miles). At the Animas River, turn northeast onto the Animas River Trail (#675) and follow upstream for 5 miles to the Weminuche Wilderness boundary. The trail continues into the Weminuche Wilderness up along Needle Creek.
To reach the hiking trailhead from Durango, head north on US550 for 28 miles to the NFS Purgatory Campground. The trail is on the east side of the road.
Note: This trail should not be confused with the paved Animas River Trail that runs through downtown Durango.
Overall, Animas River Trail is the 19th most popular hiking trail of all 72 hikes in Colorado.