Popular Snowshoeing Trails:
Back Country: The snowshoe is very versatile and where you choose to use them is completely dependent on personal likes and dislikes.  On flatter terrain they may not be as fast as their cousin, the Nordic ski, but the snowshoe is ideal for trekking through deeper snow on steeper slopes.  This makes the snowshoe a very useful means of transportation in the backcountry.  A word of caution:  with the ability to traverse steeper terrain in deeper snow, comes the increased risk of avalanches.  When enjoying the backcountry it is important to remember that any slope steeper than 30 degrees offers potential avalanche danger.  Checking the current avalanche conditions at the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) is a very good idea before you head out. 
Gear: Being so inexpensive and healthy, it is no wonder that snowshoeing is one of the fastest growing winter sports in the US.  Unlike other winter sports, specialized boots that snap into a ski or board are NOT a necessity.  A good tough pair of hiking boots may be adequate, I personally like to utilize my Sorrels (a winter boot) and strap the snowshoes to them.  A good pair of gators will go a long ways in keeping snow out of your shoes and are well worth the money.  Ski poles are also a good idea when traveling in deeper powder.  As for the snowshoe itself, the sport has evolved enough that there are different types of snowshoes for different types of activities and what you want to buy will depend on what you want to use them for.  Today's snowshoes are divided into 3 main types:   1. Aerobic/running snowshoes - small and light, meant for running, racing or aerobic workouts, these are NOT intended for backcountry use. 2. Recreational snowshoes - larger than the running snowshoes, they are designed for gentle to moderate walks of 3-5 miles 3. Mountaineering snowshoes - this is the largest type of snowshoe meant for off-trail trekking in deep powdery snow, serious hill climbing and long trips.
Near By: Boggy Draw (Dolores) Chicken Creek (near Mancos) Bear Creek (near Telluride) San Miguel River Trail (near Telluride)
Durango Area: Colorado Trail La Plata Canyon Road Hermosa Creek Trail Graham Creek Telegraph Trail   Falls Creek Trail  Andrews Lake
from the CAIC
Avalanche Conditions Avalanche Conditions
Any hiking trail you may find around Durango, if covered in snow it is GREAT for snowshoeing! For more hiking maps please visit:  Durango Trail Maps!
Snowshoeing is a fantastic way to experience the backcountry during the winter wonderland months in Durango, Colorado.   A winter sport that is both inexpensive and easy to learn, not to mention a great low-impact workout for stamina, strength, and balance!  In this region of Colorado, snowshoeing is often enjoyed from November to March in the high mountain country near timberline. No need to give up a love for hiking when the trails are covered with snow.  Just strap on a pair of snowshoes and hit one the many beautiful, scenic trails around Durango for a rewarding trek through the great outdoors, GO snowshoeing!!!
History/Origins: The origins of snowshoeing are thought go back roughly 6,000 years, although no one knows for certain.   Then a crude, solid slab of wood was used to keep ancient people above the snow in central Asia.  This is also considered the origin of the modern ski.  The first laced frame snowshoes were used by the ancestors of the Eskimos and Native Americans of present-day Canada and Alaska.  This striking design is still used even today. (Pater, 2002) Native Americans, not the Eskimos, are actually responsible for the evolution of the snowshoe to present day.  Eskimos spent much of their time traveling over ice and wind packed snow, where snowshoes were not needed.  The Native Americans on the other hand occupied more temperate forested areas where snowshoes were almost a necessity for winter travel.   One common cultural characteristic between all Native American tribes was the use of snowshoes in snow-covered regions.  The Athanbascan Indians of the Northwest, the Algonquin Indians of the Northeast and the Iroquois are credited in perfecting the craftsmanship of the snowshoe making them in hundreds of different sizes, shapes and patterns suited for all kinds of conditions. (Prater, 2002) The classic wood snowshoe went through transformation in materials in the mid 19th century.  Rawhide lacing was replaced with neoprene-coated nylon in the late 1950s, along with steel rods as toe cords.  Not much later, in the mid 60s, the wooden frame was replaced with lightweight aluminium tubing.  This began the transformation into what is now the modern snowshoe.  (Prater, 2002)  
Snowshoe Racing: Durango's premier winter snowshoe event is the Winter Warrior Snowshoe races, including 10K, 5K, and a kids race!  Like to compete in marathons, cycling, or even mountain biking during the summer months?  Well this is an excellent event to join for keeping your endurance up, there is no off season!  The course is phenomenal, challenging and majestic, located at the Durango Nordic Center just North of Durango on highway 550.  For more information on the Winter Warrior Snowshoe races visit:  Winter Warrior 10k
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References Prater, G. (2002). Snowshoeing from novice to master. (5th ed. ed.). Seattle, WA: Mountaineers Books. Walter, C. (2004). Snowshoeing Colorado. (3rd ed. ed.). Golden, CO: Fulcrum Publishing
Tailwind Endurance Fuel: A Durango local who has formulated the ultimate endurance drink, both healthy and effective.  For more information please visit:   Tailwind Nutrition
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