Willowtail Springs Nature Preserve and Education Center

Integrating the Arts and Natural Sciences

mancos co

Surrounding Willowtail: Sights, Food, and Fun Activities

Small Town, Big Adventures

Willowtail is located in Mancos, CO of the 4 Corners. We are surrounded by small towns and large mountains. Even though it seems like you can go through the towns in a blink of an eye, there is so much you can miss you if do blink. There are numerous outdoor activities to do, many great local eateries to try, and lots of wonderful sights to see. Willowtail Springs offers lots to do but, when you have done it all, go out and explore the area.

Outdoor Activities

When the weather is perfect, don’t spend it indoors. Get outside and see all that the area surrounding Willowtail has to offer. Go hiking, biking, and even rafting down the rivers. Mesa Verde National park is only 10 minutes from Willowtail Springs so why not check it out? It is home to 5,000 archeological sites, leaving much to see and explore. Scale ladders and wander through the tunnels, coming across Cliff Palace and the Balcony House. There are also two other trails you can take to find even more dwellings and spectacular views. Once you have explored Mesa Verde, there are more places to check out, like Hovenweep National Monuments and Canyon of the Ancients. Like MVNP, discover the ruins that are still there, emphasizing the rich history this area holds.

If you like to move a little faster, there are plenty of well-known bike trails surrounding Willowtail that you can ride to discover beauty and history. Phil’s World is popular around here and it is unique because it dries out earlier in the springtime due to being at a low elevation. After being cooped up all winter, this trail is waiting and ready to give you challenging yet fun rides. Rib Cage is another well-known trail here, with flowy and curvy sections containing jumps that will leave you having a blast. Other trails include Sand Canyon, Ledges Loops and Abajo Trail, with more beautiful views of the area that you can’t find anywhere else.

When the sun is out and the temperatures are soaring, why not go on a guided rafting tour? The Dolores River is a wonderful place to float down and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Through Durango, which is only 45 minutes from Willowtail Springs, there are more rafting expeditions you can take advantage of. There are either single day trips or trips that last days as well as family-friendly specific trips. See a whole other side of Southwest Colorado, all while keeping cool, and having fun. Check out our page  to find other rafting expeditions, and outdoor activities, that are available to you and your family.

Delicious, Local Eateries

While you are out discovering everything surrounding Willowtail, don’t forget about the delicious, local eateries in the area. The Absolute Bakery in Mancos is a popular hot spot, serving breakfast and lunch. They serve food made from scratch, with local and organic ingredients. They are a welcoming place that is very homey and comforting. The Farm Bistro in Cortez is another local and delicious place, with a warm and fun atmosphere.

If you need a quick pick-me-up to start your day, Fahrenheit Coffee in Mancos is one of many wonderful stops. With many freshly roasted coffees and various snacks to choose from, you will always start your day off right with a quick stop here. Or, if you are on your way to Cortez for a bike ride or a hike, The Silver Bean is a coffee shop that you should put on your list of stops. Working out of an Airsteam trailer, they serve coffee, smoothies, and breakfast burritos that are sure to get your day off to a good start. Of course, there are many other delicious places available to you, so check them out!

Come Explore!

Willowtail Springs has more to offer their guests than fishing, bird-watching, and art classes. It is located in the beautiful Southwest Colorado, with so much to do, see, and eat. Why limit yourself? Stay at Willowtail Springs and discover the surrounding area with a hike, bike ride, or even a rafting trip. Give your taste buds a fun time too and try the delicious and local food.