The Animas River is large by southwest Colorado standards (100 feet wide in some places) and there is no dam interrupting its flow from Silverton to Farmington, New Mexico. The narrow gauge Durango & Silverton railroad runs through the scenic canyons and along the upper river June-August. (Make reservations six weeks in advance.) The water here is fast with riffles and pools.

Starting about nine miles north of Durango the river meanders and in places is deep, slow, large, open and generally windy. There's public access to the river through the city and three miles downstream to the "Purple Cliffs" below town.

Water for the Animas comes from a huge drainage area and is affected by snowmelt and summer storms. During heavy snow years the Animas may not clear until July and can be high and roily throughout the caddis hatches.

Part of this river has been designated a Gold Medal Trout Stream by the Colorado Wildlife Commission.

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