SJMA’s Durango Nature Center

Acquired in 1998 by Durango Nature Studies, the 140 acre Nature Center is situated on the Florida River and traverses riparian, sagebrush, and pinyon juniper ecosystems. With hiking trails, river play, a picnic pavilion, interpretive trails, a nesting bird walk and more the Nature Center offers fun for the whole family! Check out our Trail Map.

The Nature Center provides a unique outdoor learning laboratory for hands-on learning, and SJMA utilizes it for our Summer Camps and other educational programs throughout the year.

THIS SUMMER, we will be open to the public every Friday through Sunday starting May 17, 2024 from 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM. SMJA’s Nature Center Visitor Information Specialist and volunteer ambassadors will welcome you and your family, answer any questions about the properties self-guided tours and picnic areas, as well as any questions about any of Southwest Colorado’s public lands. Stay tuned for upcoming guided hikes, star parties and more!

The Nature Center has a porta potty, but please note that there is no running water or other bathroom facilities. We practice Leave No Trace at the Nature Center, please plan to pack out your trash accordingly and thank you for helping us to preserve this pristine landscape.

Sorry, we love our four-legged friends, but no pets allowed since it’s a wildlife sensitive area. In addition, no bikes or fishing allowed.

Address:  63 County Road 310, Durango, CO 81301

From Durango: Take US Highway 550 south towards Farmington 12 miles from Farmington Hill. At the base of Bondad Hill, turn left at the green Nature Center sign onto County Road 310/318. Make an immediate left onto “River’s End Lane” and travel less than 1/10 mile to the parking area. Travel time from Durango is about 20 minutes.

From Aztec/Farmington/Bloomfield: Take US Highway 550 north from Aztec about 19 miles. Be looking for a firehouse on your right, just before you see County Road 310/318. Turn right onto County Road 310/318, and make an immediate left onto “River’s End Lane”. Travel less than 1/10 mile to the parking area. Travel time from Aztec is about 1/2 hour.

The site entrance is marked with SJMA Nature Studies sign.

Facility Rentals

Looking for a unique setting for a group meeting, staff retreat, your child’s birthday party, community project or scientific studies?

Consider the Durango Nature Center, a place of outdoor fun as well as perfect learning laboratory for many scientific studies and community projects. We can accommodate up to 60 people on the site at a time.

With its remote location, interpretive trail system, open fields, and beautiful pavilion, the Nature Center might just be the perfect place for your next meeting, community project or scientific studies.

Interested? View our rates and policies, as well as submit our Nature Center Usage Agreement.

Please contact SJMA to discuss your group and desired dates at 970-385-1210 or

Partners and Projects

Projects that have been conducted at the Nature Center include:

Fort Lewis College Archaeological Field School – The Durango Nature Center is home to a Prehistoric Dinetah Gobernador Phase Site. This is a very exciting discovery that was excavated by Mona Charles and her students.

Fort Lewis College Biology Department – Field Ecology classes have a long-term weather station and water sampling projects going on at the site each spring.

Fort Lewis Geology Department – Geology classes sample water along the Florida River at the site each fall.

The Lions Club – The Lions Club paid to construct a beautiful all-season pavilion where most of our programs gather.

High Noon Rotary – The High Noon Rotary built a footbridge that crosses the Florida River and leads to the heart of the site.  Upon crossing the bridge, visitors step into the beauty of the Nature Center.

Southwest Conservation Corp (SCC) – SCC had been a community partner at the Nature Center for several 12-13 year old crews. We also serve as a training site for other adult crews.

Eagle Scouts – The site hosts various projects to obtain their eagle scout badge. Recent projects have been the completion of a floating dock in our pond, a foot bridge across the Florida River, and bird house project for nesting birds.

Colorado State University – Graduate students conducted a study on boreal chorus frogs based on the large number of frogs at the site. The study involved obtaining cotton mouth swabs for genetic analysis and recording audio samples.

Animas High School – Students conducted a bullfrog study and came up with plans to eliminate this invasive species so the native leopard frogs could thrive. 

Colorado Breeding Bird Atlas – Because of our excellent riparian habitat, field studies were conducted at our site for the atlas. Findings included 42 species, including three that had not been seen before in the area. .