Menu

Tubing in Durango: How to tube the Lower Animas River

By Benji Mickel   •   June 26, 2024

Even if you’re a long time Durango local, tubing the Animas river can be quite the ordeal. With so many things to plan for from put ins, takeouts, water flows, transportation, and equipment organizing a successful Lower Animas river tube float can feel daunting. However, there is no need to worry! In this blog we’ll share the easiest and most simple way to tube the animas river in Durango.

Itinerary

Pre-Trip – reserve your tube from Mild To Wild Rafting & Jeep Tours online here or call (970) 247-4789. Tubes can be rented for $20 each and be picked up inflated or deflated. They include a PFD, Pump, Patch Kit, & River Map

10:00 AM – Arrive at Mild To Wild Rafting and Jeep Tours (50 Animas View Drive Durango, CO) and pick up your Tube, PFD, and any last minute needed items from the retail shop

10:30 AM – Arrive at Oxbow Park (just ¼ mile traveling north on animas view drive from Mild to Wild) and put on the river! The float will take approximately 2 hours. 

12:30 PM – Arrive at the Durango Highschool Walking Bridge

12:40 PM– Arrive at the Durango Highschool Transit Stop on main ave. Busses arrive at :05, :25, and :45. Buses run from 7:30am-8:40pm 7 days per week.

12:55 PM– Arrive at the Recodo Del Rio Transit Stop. This stop is directly across the street from where you left your car at Oxbow Park. 

1:00 PM – Arrive at Mild To Wild Rafting and Jeep Tours to return your Tubes.

Durango Tubing Map
Durango Tubing Map

The Journey

Drive ¼ mile north on animas view drive to Oxbow Park. Park your car in the free public parking lot at Oxbow Park and put on the river.

el recodo del rio transit stop and oxbow park parking lot
Oxbow Park Parking Lot
Oxbow Park Put In
Oxbow Park River Tubing Put-In

Here you will enjoy a calm river winding float with scenic views of the animas river valley for ½ mile until you reach 32nd street bridge.

32nd street bridge
32nd Street Bridge

Go under 32nd street bridge on either side. The right side usually is the best because it has the most water. Always stay away from the pylon in the middle! ¼ mile below 32nd street bride you will reach 29th street rapid.

View of the river above 29th Street Rapid
View of the river above 29th Street Rapid

It is a small class II rapid and the most exciting on the stretch. There is a good sized wave on the left. Stay on the right side of the river to ensure a calm relaxing experience. Keep floating another 1/4 mile until you reach the brown walking bride where the river trail crosses the river. It is the second bridge you will encounter on the float. 

down river view of highschool walking bridge
View of the river above the High School Walking Bridge Take-Out
Durango high school bridge takeout
View of High School Walking Bridge Tubing Take-Out

GET OUT HERE!! Your have arrived at the Durango High School Walking Bridge Take-OutExit the river on the right side at the bridge. Walk up the Animas river trail heading west (do not cross the bridge). In 50 yards it will fork. Continue left then veer up the dirt road behind the Durango High School and continue to the front of the high school where you will find the Durango High school Transit Stop on main ave. 

directions from high school bridge take out to durango high school transit stop
Directions from the Durango High School Walking Bridge Take-Out to the Durango High School Transit Stop
Durango high school transit stop
View of the Durango High School Transit Stop

At the durango highschool transit stop you will deflate your tube and wait for the transit to pick you up heading north. Buses arrive at :05, :25, and :45 from 7:30am-8:40pm 7 days per week. Ride the bus 10 minutes to the Recodo Del Rio Transit Stop.

Map of durango transit path from the Durango High School Transit Stop to the Rocodo Del Rio Transit Stop at Oxbow Park
Map of Durango transit path from the Durango High School Transit Stop to the Rocodo Del Rio Transit Stop at Oxbow Park
el recodo del rio transit stop and oxbow park parking lot
View of Oxbow Park Parking Lot from the Rocodo Del Rio Transit Stop

It is directly across the street from Oxbow Park where you left your car. Drive ¼ mile south on animas view drive to return your equipment rentals to Mild To Wild Rafting and Jeep Tours. Swing back into the retail shop to grab some snacks and drinks to refuel from your adventure!

Pro tips to maximize your Durango tubing experience:

  1. Bring your phone in a secure dry bag. You can use it to get directions to all of the locations with google map links in the itinerary in case you’re ever unsure of where you’re at or how to get to a an important location on your journey!
  2. Wear shoes that can strap or securely fasten to the bottom of your feet. The river will whisk away your sandals never to be seen again. While flip flops look cool on the beach, their best purpose for river tubing is as hand paddles.
  3. Bring a water bottle with a clip to attach to your tub handle
  4. Bring a dry bag for snacks! Dry bags are available for purchase in the Mild to Wild Rafting office where you’ll pick up your tubes for $19.99. It’s always nice to have something to munch on while enjoying a float down the beautiful Animas river. You can also use it to keep your phone dry and secure while floating by clipping it onto a tube handle.

Final Considerations

Tubing is recommended at river flows of 800 cubic feet per second and below. You can consult the USGS site for current river flow data here. It is never recommended to proceed below the Durango High School Walking Bridge Take-Out in a tube. If you would like to experience more exciting class II and III rapids on the Lower Animas River in Durango, we recommend doing so on a professionally guide white water rafting or inflatable kayaking tour.

Get New Blog Posts in your Inbox