Contact: Anne Klein
Phone: (970) 749-0991
Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Top 10 Ways to Beat the Heat: Durango vacations offer cool summer getaway

Durango, CO – Durango is showered in more than 300 days of sunshine each year, skillfully spreading the light into four uniquely enjoyable seasons. Summer in Durango offers the perfect amount of heat – just enough to make you want to swim in the refreshing mountain lakes and rivers, dine on the patio of one of downtown’s finest restaurants, or meander into the mountains for a train ride, zip line or raft trip. Whitewater adventure is in high demand during summer months, and Durango boasts world-class options. In fact, National Geographic readers recently voted Durango’s Adrenaline Falls one of the top-10 waterfall runs in the United States. When the mood is mellow, the high desert offers cool and crisp evenings to watch the stars, sit by a campfire or sip a pint of locally- brewed craft beer. T-shirt weather is Durango’s forte, and here are some of the best ways to enjoy the mountain climate.

  • Twilight Tour of Mesa Verde National Park: This ancient and impressive historical site, just a short drive from Durango, is magnificent any time of day, but the evening carries a special allure. Experience the way shadows light the ruins on the Twilight Tour of the Cliff Palace. If photography is your passion, be sure to check out the new Twilight Photography Tours. Prolong the experience by staying at the Morefield Campground where free evening programs offer a variety of presentations on both the natural and cultural history of Mesa Verde National Park.
  • Durango Mountain Resort: At an elevation of 8,793 feet, Durango Mountain Resort offers an escape from the heat of summer. This amazing ski mountain turns vibrant green during summer months, offering unparalleled hiking and biking access, as well as family fun centers complete with a zip-line, alpine slide, and lively music festivals like Music in the Mountains. New this summer is Water Runners, a family-friendly activity that involves floating, walking, running or rolling on the water without ever getting wet. Participants step inside a transparent bubble, close the airtight zipper and walk on... the water, that is.
  • Trimble Spa and Natural Hot Springs: Nestled against the red-rock cliffs of the beautiful Animas Valley, this natural hot springs offers some cool options for summer. With giant shade trees and expansive grounds, an Olympic size swimming pool and picnic tables, there’s no easier place for a carefree family outing. Bring the whole family, grab a spot on ‘the lawn’ and enjoy a day dipping in and out of the healing waters. While the kids are at play, why not schedule a massage?
  • Raft & Rail: Beat the heat with this unique opportunity to combine train travel, epic whitewater, stunning mountain wilderness and, if it’s your flavor, camping. For a one-day adventure, ride the train to Silverton. Before the train begins its journey into the small town, you’ll unload and be met by expert raft guides who will take you on a thrilling trip down the one-of-a kind Animas River. If you have a bit more time, and prolonged adrenaline is of interest, opt for the 2-3 day adventure and enjoy the cozy base camp they have at Needleton, with one-day reserved for hiking, fishing or playing horseshoes around camp.
  • Zip-Line at Soaring Tree Top Adventures: An adventure at high-altitude, Soaring Tree Top Adventures boasts one of the best zip-lines in Colorado and the largest in North America. During the 5-1⁄2 hour adventure you sail down the mountainside through Ponderosa Forests and over the amazing Animas River. As an added bonus, you travel on the historic Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and dine in a tree canopy.
  • Trek by Train into the Mountains: All summer long the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is in full gear, offering daily trips to Silverton – a historic mining town at 9,318 feet. Trips depart daily from the downtown depot, offering both full and half-day excursions. Hop aboard and enjoy the cool mountain air, stunning views, lunch, shopping and history galore.
  • Dining on the Patio: Downtown Durango is a thriving center of history, arts, culture and dining. After a day on the water or in the cool mountains, enjoy the beautiful Durango evening walking the historic Main Avenue and browsing the various galleries and shops that give it character. Once your appetite sets in, continue to bask in the perfect weather by dining on one of the many patio options: a beautiful rooftop patio with a classy vibe, a simple backyard patio with extensive gardens and cool canopies, or jazz on a street-side patio eating gourmet local foods. Top off the perfect day with live outdoor music in the refreshing secret garden.
  • Mountain Trail Rides: Whenever there is an opportunity to explore the mountains on horseback, take it! Rapp Corral, voted one of the “Top 10 Places to go Horseback Riding” by USA Today, offers a unique afternoon ride that takes participants to a natural water cave. Before stopping for lunch in a beautiful Aspen grove, guides lead participants with flashlights for an exploration of the cave. Buck’s Livery, another long-time Durango outfitter, offers a sunset ride that ends in a delicious chuckwagon dinner at Buck’s Livery lakeside cookout area. Flatiron steaks, chicken, cowboy beans, coleslaw, potatoes and bread taste better against a mountain backdrop.
  • Dip or ducky on a lake: With a name than means “water town”, Durango offers plenty of swim and float-worthy waters. For a stunning mountain lake just 20 minutes from town, head out to Vallecito Lake for a family picnic, fishing and fun. Rent stand-up paddle-boards, duckies (inflatable kayaks) or other floatation devices at Four Corners River Sports in Durango. The Animas River that flows right through town is a great option for a chilling swim in the summer heat. At the 32nd street put-in, rafters prepare to take their crafts further downriver, and kids and family play in the mellower waters of the valley.
  • Tee-up: Durango has three excellent golf courses within a 20-minute drive. In-town play Hillcrest Golf Club where you’ll be awarded with epic views of the La Plata Mountains, Fort Lewis College and Durango itself. Or, out in the stunning Animas Valley, play Dalton Ranch Golf Club where holes are situated along the Animas River, tucked against a backdrop of red-rock cliffs. Further into the Mountains, play the private Glacier Club golf course nestled on 1,000 acres, and surrounded by 3 million acres of national forest.

Whether it’s cascading creeks and rivers, mountaintops, train rides or patio feasts and festivities, summer in Durango is sure to reel you in, remove your worries and send you back out into the world refreshed and revived. Escape to the mountains this summer for crisp mountain air and a summer getaway that promises satisfaction without the sweat.

About the Durango Area Tourism Office
The Durango Area Tourism Office is a not for profit organization operating with the mission to promote Durango and La Plata County’s multitude of tourism attractions, events and services. 1-800-GO DURANGO,
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