Mountainous, serene, and striking are some of the words used to describe the Durango landscape. It’s one of the largest mountain towns, boasting a big downtown and plenty of amenities. Because of its history, it makes it a unique stop for those exploring railroads, ghost towns and ancient ruins.
Durango’s mild elevation of around 6500 feet is a perfect mix of winter wonderland and milder temperatures. This extends many of Durango’s activities into year round status, including hiking and fishing. Located about 30 minutes north of town, Purgatory Mountain Resort is one of the main draws of town. Fort Lewis College is located in town, which brings an additional few thousand students into the county.
Mesa Verde is a scenic 45 minute drive west. It’s open year round a must visit if in the area. In the winter, There is also an airport nearby for added travel and cargo convenience.The streets of downtown Durango are wide and lined with nice shops and restaurants. The best thing to do is give yourself a self-guided walk around the streets. Everybody is friendly and more than happy to help. Be sure to stop by the historic sites including the Durango & Silverton Railroad, which runs daily in the summer.
Durango was home to the Puebo Indians until the 14th century, and later the Ute.The area was settled by westerners in the 1860s and 1870s. It got it start as a mining town. There are many different places where you can learn about how gold miners made a living.
Today, it’s one of the largest of the Colorado mountain towns at nearly 25,000 full time residents, located in the southwest, not far from the New Mexico border. It’s fairly secluded, with not much around but the beautiful alpine scenery. Silverton is about an hour to the north and Pagosa Springs one hour west.
Purgatory Mountain Resort – Known as “Purg” to the locals, this laid back resort features an exciting mix of runs for all abilities. Out of 3 ski areas, it’s the best place to ski in town with exceptional views and fun, rolling terrain.
Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge RR – This tourist train departs daily during the summer season for the Old West town of Silverton.
Lake Nighthorse – Prime spot for motor boating, fishing and swimming within a few miles of downtown Durango. It first opened in April of 2018.
Top 12 Cool Hotels in Durango – Wild West Durango is home to a world famous narrow gauge railroad that attracts visitors from around the world. Along with three ski areas of mixed sizes and wonderful outdoor recreation, there’s a slew of great hotels serving these travelers…
For a true Old West experience stay at the Strater Hotel. Opened in 1887, the Strater was quick to become the place to stay. Friendly staff and an elegant Victorian setting add to this National Historic Landmark. Amenities include the Mahogany Grille, a fine dining restaurant, the Diamond Belle Saloon, a ragtime piano bar, the Henry Strater Theater and The Office Spiritorium, specializing in fine spirits, appetizers and lighter fare.
Hotels and Lodging:
- Colorado Trails Ranch – dude ranch
- DoubleTree by Hilton – luxury 3 star
- General Palmer Durango – historic 4 star
- Rochester Hotel & Leland House – historic
- Strater Hotel – historic 3 star
- Trimble Hot Springs – rental units
Durango is loaded with awesome dining. Go see a show, drink a happy hour or sleep the night at the historic Strater Hotel. Afterward give your feet a rest at Colorado’s second oldest microbrewery, Carver Brewing Company. Then go back in the morning for “Durango’s best breakfast”.Durango’s also home to the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.
Bars and Restaurants:
- Ore House – Historic steakhouse restaurant in downtown.
Jan/Feb – Snowdown – Winter festival held in late January/early February featuring a plethora of activities scheduled for five days around town.
Apr – Durango Bluegrass Meltdown – Three days of bluegrass music at varying venues around town held in mid April.
May – Durango Wine Experience – Three day wine tasting festival held in downtown Durango in early May.
Jun – Animas River Days – Kayakers race a challenging slalom course right through downtown Durango in early June.Jun/Aug – Durango Blues Train – Attend one of 4 nights at this one-of-a-kind rolling jazz concert on the rails.
Jul – Durango Fiesta Days – Weeklong July western festival with rodeos, parade and horse racing.
Aug – La Plata County Fair and Fiesta – Classic county fair, with food, drink, entertainment, craft competitions, and complete, with a Western rodeo Held in mid August at the La Plata County Fairgrounds.
Oct – Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering – October weekend festival showcasing poems and cowboys in Wild West Durango.
Things to do near Durango
- Sky Ute Casino (29mi)
- Trimble (8mi)
Made in Colorado:
- Bar D Chuckwagon Suppers (11mi)
- Henry Strater Theatre
- Arboles (40mi)
- Bayfield (19mi)
- Cortez (45mi)
- Ignacio (23mi)
- Mancos (27mi)
- Pagosa Springs (60mi)
- Silverton (48mi)
Dogs With Heart: Durango Dog Ranch Sled Tours – Gregg and Gretchen Dubit have been running the snowy Southwestern trails with their sled dogs for over 20 years. Their Durango Dog Ranch is located in Hesperus, 20 minutes west of the county seat. Although…
Bring Your Dog Cross Country Skiing at Bayfield’s Vallecito Lake – Love your dog and love to have fun in the snow? Want to have some fun away from the crowds? The Vallecito Nordic trailhead is a great option for you, your dog and the whole family. On the east side…
Snowshoeing Vallecito Creek Trail, The Weminuche Wilderness – You don’t have to give up hiking or long walks in the woods just because there’s a foot or two of snow outside. In fact, having a foot or two of snow is a great opportunity to experience the quiet beauty of…
Power to the Powderhounds: Backcountry Skiing in the San Juan Mountains – It’s safe to say that the above definition has a few readers squirming in their seats. Winter athletes who crave the ultimate powder skiing or boarding experience – who are able…