Summer Activities Dolores Colorado

Dolores, located in Southwest Colorado, offers a multitude of opportunities for summer activities. Everything that comes to my mind is outdoors, for good reason. The attraction is what you see outdoors; mountains, rivers, lakes, canyons. The activities in this part of the world are available four seasons of the year. They differ by season, because of the weather during the four seasons, but for the outdoor lover this part of the world can’t be beat. In a series of posts I have outlined some of the things to do, by the season. I have also listed some resources you can use for further research and planning. And of course if you need a great place to stay, please keep us in mind.


Dolores Colorado Summer ActivitiesHiking – One of the summer activities near Dolores Colorado is hiking. There are countless trails with trailheads an hour from our accommodations. To help you choose where to go, you will want to consider a few things:

  • Weather – The summer weather can be dangerous in the Southwest Colorado Mountains or at the very least you can get soaked by a summer thunderstorm if you are still hiking too late in the afternoon.
  • Your Conditioning – How far are you able to comfortably hike/walk?
  • Altitude – Are you acclimated? Did you just come from sea level?
  • Your Ability – Are you a seasoned hiker, a beginner or somewhere in between?

Answering these questions above will help to guide you to the right trail. If you are new to hiking and would like some pointers, please visit our article ‘Tips and Hacks for Beginning Hikers’. Also keep in mid that we offer a Guided Hiking Tour if would like some company or are new to the area.

A good resource for researching different hikes is AllTrails. AllTrails will provide critical information for you including; length of the hike, elevation gain, the type of route, access, directions, photos and reviews. Following are links to searches on AllTrails with some possibilities for you to explore.

Lower Altitude Hikes Near Dolores

Dolores Colorado Summer ActivitiesSome of the results given are not lower altitude so please pay attention to that. Most of the lower elevation hikes given are in the Boggy Draw trail system. Boggy Draw is a beautiful area that sits above the town of Dolores. The trails meander through ponderosa pine forests, open meadows and canyons with views of the Dolores River Valley and Mcfee reservoir. Keep in mind the biggest activity in Boggy is mountain biking, so you will need to be alert and ready to share the trail.

Lizard Head Wilderness

Dolores Colorado Summer Activities - Lizard Head PeakA 45 minute drive from our accommodations will get you to Lizard Head pass which sits at about 10,000′. Everything is up from there so be prepared for the high altitude. The rewards though are fantastic! Most of these trails offer views of 13,000′ and 14,000′ peaks and some of these trails will get you up close and personal with the peaks. Timberline is around 12,000′ feet and many of the trails get above timberline so you can expect some good altitude gain. One hike that is a little more mild is Wilson Meadows Trail.

From the Dutton Side

Water Falls near Dolores ColoradoThere is a great trail, The Navajo Lake Trail, that is also part of the Lizard Head Wilderness. This trail head is accessed from FS 535 above Dutton Hot Springs. This is an out and back trail that is 9.5 miles with some serious elevation gain mostly towards the end of the hike as you climb up towards the lake. This trail offers possibilities to take a shorter milder hike. There are plenty of amazing views of the peaks, beautiful flowers in the meadows and at about 1.5 miles in you’ll hear the sound of some waterfalls that you can hike to.

Another trail from this side is the Kilpacker Trail.

On the Other Side of Lizard Head

accommodations in the Dolores river valley - Hope LakeOne of our favorite hikes is Hope Lake.

This is a very popular trail and can be busy, much like the Blue Lakes trail over on the Dallas Divide. It is best hiked during the week. The distance to the lake is about 4.5 miles. The trail starts out pretty flat meandering through some nice forest then begins to climb as it switchbacks up toward timberline. Once at the lake, you can stay to the left and continue up the trail. This is a good way to avoid any people that stayed at the lake and the elevation of the trail gives a better vantage point for viewing the lake. If you want a little more, continue up the trail to the saddle that sits at 12,440′. There are beautiful views from up there.


One of the great attractions for summer activities near Dolores Colorado is Telluride. The town offers great dining, window browsing and shopping. The Telluride Ski Resort offers many activities in the summer including the Telluride Bike Park.

We recommend driving to Mountain Village and jumping on the free gondola for a fun ride right down into town. The parking is usually much easier at the gondola parking garage. Helpful Hint – you will change gondolas at lift four. The next gondola has another station halfway up, stay on the gondola here if you want to go into town.

Mountain Biking

Mountain Biking in Dolores ColoradoSouthwest Colorado is a mecca for world class mountain biking. There are two primary systems that include several trail loops near our accommodations, Phil’s World near Cortez and Boggy Draw above the town of Dolores. Phil’s is known to be more technical while Boggy is mostly tame. Between the two you could ride several days on different trails before repeating. Scenery is amazing from both! There are other trails and trail systems nearby and I would recommend using Mountain Bike Project or Trailforks to discover all the possibilities. Both offer apps for your phone and are a great way to discover, research and navigate.

If you need any biking gear or maintenance, Kokopelli Bike Shop has locations both in Cortez and Dolores.

If you would like a tour or company on a Boggy Draw ride, remember we offer a guided mountain bike tour.


After your day out on the trails, Dolores offers some options for dining many with outdoor seating so you can enjoy the mild summer temperatures. One of our favorites is the Dolores River Brewery with great pizza, really good brews and live entertainment. Another one of our favorites is The Farm Bistro in Cortez where everything is fresh and sourced locally. Here is a link to Trip Advisor’s Dolores dining guide.