A vision. A gift. A community collaboration.
An incredible public park.

The Big Idea

Click on the image below to view a larger image of the plan

the big idea map

Get to Know Durango Mesa Park

La Plata County with its towering peaks, tumbling rivers and endless blue skies is one of the most beautiful places on earth. No wonder so many are drawn here. For those who live in this paradise, there’s a natural instinct to protect what makes it so special. 

Located just south of Durango, Durango Mesa Park overlooks downtown with commanding views of the La Plata mountain range. Its high desert terrain is crowned with piñon and juniper forests that spill out into grassy meadows dotted with sage and native grasses.

Decades ago, corners of the property once housed a gravel operation and a coal mine, giving way to farming and grazing. The land has since been restored to its natural state, and is situated between over 1,500 acres of public Bureau of Land Management terrain and more than 1,500 acres of City of Durango Horse Gulch trail system and Horse Gulch open space. A popular trail system for hikers, bikers and horse riders currently exists on these properties. 

Long-time Durango resident Marc Katz was driven to preserve this natural wonderland while enhancing the community’s economic vitality. After building and selling a business in Durango, he purchased the 1,850-acre property in 2015 for the explicit purpose of donating it. He quickly reached out to City and County planners, as well as citizens, to form a shared vision for the Mesa. In 2019, ownership was transferred to the Durango Mesa Park Foundation, which continues to work closely with officials and the public. Once milestones are met, the Mesa will be donated to the community.

What’s Next? 

In cooperation with the City of Durango, La Plata County and interested partners, Durango Mesa Park Foundation envisions a multitude of cultural, recreational and educational uses for the land.

Phase one outlines the following:  

  • Expanded trails for hiking, running, cycling and horse riding
  • Regional venue for hosting music festivals
  • Expanded La Plata County Fairgrounds and equine facilities for western heritage events and gatherings
  • World-class outdoor sports complex with Colorado’s largest bike park

For an overview, see this Durango Herald article.

Limited use, for now. 

In recent years, Durango Mesa Park has been home to Meltdown on the Mesa, which is a Durango bluegrass music festival, and the Colorado High School Cycling League State Mountain Biking Championships. Outside of these events, the property remains closed to the public until proper roads, restrooms and infrastructure can be built to assure the best and most sustainable use of the land and Southwest Colorado open space. Please respect that the Mesa is currently private property.

Durango Mesa Park