Durango, Colorado, is a vibrant mountain town that offers visitors a range of exciting activities to fill their days. Located at the junction of the La Plata and the San Juan Mountains, Durango is a hub for outdoor enthusiasts looking to explore the area's stunning natural beauty. Visitors can enjoy hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and river rafting in the surrounding wilderness areas or take a scenic ride on the historic Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. In addition to outdoor recreation, Durango boasts a lively downtown area with various shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions, including the Durango Arts Center.
If you’re looking to fill up your itinerary for your visit to Durango, look no further. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite daytime activities.
Spring, Summer, and Fall Activities
With warmer weather comes many different opportunities for adventure in our mountain town. Whether you're visiting Durango in the spring, summer, or fall, there are plenty of activities to thrill at.
Durango is a hiker's paradise, offering nearly 300 miles of trails for all skill levels. From gentle walks along the Animas River Trail to challenging treks up Hogsback Mountain, the area’s opportunities for bipedal bliss are endless. Other top hiking spots include the Animas Mountain Trail, which offers stunning views of the town and surrounding mountains, and the Cascade Canyon Trail, a challenging trek with several stunning waterfalls as a reward. One of the most popular destinations is the San Juan National Forest, which encompasses over 1.8 million acres and contains hundreds of miles of trails through alpine meadows, forests, and peaks. But don’t take our word for it: Get out there and explore!
Mountain Biking or Gravel Biking
If you prefer two-wheeled fun, you’re also in luck: Most of Durango’s hiking trails are multi-use, meaning mountain bike enthusiasts can also explore the hundreds of miles of trails Durango offers. There’s a diverse range of trails to suit riders of all levels. From scenic cross-country rides to challenging downhill runs, no one will be left wanting. Some of the area's most popular mountain biking destinations include the Purgatory Mountain Resort, where riders can enjoy lift-accessed trails, and the Horse Gulch Trail System, a network of trails with varying degrees of difficulty. Meanwhile, the nearby San Juan National Forest provides miles of scenic gravel roads that wind through pristine wilderness areas, with plenty of opportunities for wildlife viewing and bikepacking along the way.
Whitewater rafting is a thrilling activity that draws visitors to Durango from around the world. With its location near the Animas River, our town offers a variety of exciting rafting experiences for all skill levels, from gentle floats to adrenaline-pumping rapids, depending on where you put in. Several local outfitters provide guided trips along the Animas River, ranging from half-day to multi-day excursions. The river passes through picturesque canyons and offers stunning views of the surrounding San Juan and La Plata Mountain ranges, making it a popular choice for adventure seekers and nature lovers. Whether looking for a family-friendly outing or a heart-pounding adventure, whitewater rafting in Durango is an unforgettable experience.
Generally, winter is a time for indoor pursuits. Not so in Durango! We have plenty of activities to keep us busy in the mountains.
Resort Skiing or Snowboarding
Durango, Colorado, is a premier destination for skiing and snowboarding, with its world-class resorts and abundant snowfall. Purgatory Resort is the region’s largest ski area, with over 1,500 acres of skiable terrain, 12 lifts, and 105 trails that cater to all skill levels. The resort also offers a variety of activities off the slopes, including snowmobiling, snowshoeing, ski biking, and ice climbing. Other popular ski areas in the region include Hesperus Ski Area, which offers night skiing, and Silverton Mountain, a backcountry ski area with expert terrain and guided tours. One thing is for sure: Durango is a must-visit destination for skiers and snowboarders.
Snowshoeing is a popular winter activity in the Four Corners region, offering visitors a unique way to explore the beautiful winter landscapes at their own pace. With its abundant snowfall, the nearby Weminuche Wilderness provides miles of scenic trails that wind through snow-laden forests and meadows, with stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Many local outfitters provide guided snowshoeing tours and equipment rentals, making it easy for visitors of all skill levels to enjoy this peaceful and invigorating activity. From leisurely walks to challenging treks, there are snowshoeing opportunities for everyone here. It's a perfect way to experience the magic of winter in the beautiful Colorado wilderness.
If you’re not big on hoofing it in wintertime backcountry, Durango is also your town. Here, we have expansive snowmobile trail networks and breathtaking scenery. The area offers a range of terrain for all experience levels, from gentle, family-friendly rides to more challenging backcountry excursions. The San Juan Sledders Club and the Silverton Snowmobile Club maintain hundreds of miles of corduroy-like groomed tracks. Local outfitters, like Ice Pirates Snowmobile Tours, provide guided snowmobile tours and equipment rentals. Whether you're a seasoned snowmobiler or a first-timer, you’ll find that Durango’s snowmobiling is the raddest around.
Activities to Enjoy All Year Round
If you’re looking for year-round activities, we also have you covered. Durango has attractions for individuals and families throughout the year.
Exploring Durango’s Art Galleries and Art Scene
Durango is home to a vibrant and diverse art scene, with numerous art galleries, studios, and cultural institutions showcasing the work of local and regional artists. Durango's art scene offers something for every taste and interest, from contemporary paintings and sculptures to Indigenous crafts. Visitors can explore the galleries and museums along Main Avenue, which feature rotating exhibits and special events throughout the year. The Durango Arts Center is a hub for the local arts community, hosting workshops and exhibitions. With its dynamic and growing arts scene, Durango is a cultural gem of the Southwest.
Riding the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
Riding the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is an iconic and unforgettable experience that should not be missed on your visit here. This historic train ride takes passengers on a scenic journey through the rugged mountains and canyons of the San Juan National Forest, following the winding Animas River and passing by stunning vistas and landmarks such as the Cascade Canyon and abandoned mining towns like Needleton. With one of the nation’s only remaining coal-fired engines, this vintage steam locomotive transports riders back to the heyday of the American West.
Exploring Durango’s Restaurant, Cocktails, and Culinary Scene
Our mountain community offers a diverse and vibrant culinary scene that will please every palate. There are more restaurants per capita here than in San Francisco. From farm-to-table restaurants to trendy cocktail bars, there are plenty of delicious dining options in Durango. Visitors can savor the flavors of the Southwest with local specialties like green chile and Navajo tacos or explore international cuisine ranging from Thai to Italian to sushi. Many of the restaurants and bars in Durango feature locally sourced ingredients and innovative, creative menus. Whether you're looking for a casual meal or a romantic night out, Durango has plenty of options. And with a growing craft beer and cocktail scene, there are always new and exciting libations to try.
Walking the Animas River Trail
The Animas River Trail is a picturesque and popular pathway for biking, walking, and jogging alongside the scenic Animas River in Durango, Colorado. The trail spans about seven miles through the city's heart, offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains, Old West architecture, and lush greenery. The trail is well-maintained, paved, and accessible, with numerous entry and exit points, making it a great way to explore Durango's natural beauty and interesting neighborhoods. Along the way, visitors can stop at several parks, playgrounds, and picnic areas or take a break at one of the many restaurants and cafes near the trail. The Animas River Trail is a must-visit attraction for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers looking for a peaceful stroll.
Durango, Colorado, is a thriving mountain town with many exciting activities to fill your days. Nestled amidst the breathtaking La Plata and San Juan Mountains, Durango is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts seeking to immerse themselves in the region's history and natural beauty. Whether you're an avid hiker, mountain biker, or whitewater rafter, Durango provides endless opportunities for exhilarating adventures in its surrounding wilderness areas. The historic Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad offers a scenic journey through picturesque landscapes that transport you back in time.
Durango has activities for all tastes and preferences, making it a must-visit destination for outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, and memorable moments in the heart of Colorado's captivating mountains.