First off, welcome to Durango! For your first day, we recommend checking out and getting a feel for this incredible mountain town with a scenic hike to show you gorgeous views of our little mountain town.
Climb Smelter Mountain and check out the view to the north. Hike from downtown to check out the Lion’s Den by Fort Lewis College and see the La Plata Mountain Range. Another popular lookout can be found at the top of the Animas Mountain trail. Animas Mountain gives you incredible views up the Animas Valley, toward the Needles Mountains. After taking in the views, check out historic downtown Durango’s charming shops and restaurants to let you really get the local feel.
While you’re getting acclimated to the altitude, take time to take in Durango’s rich history. The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is, and was, an integral part of the establishment of this mountain town. There is a free railroad museum to explore or you can head over to the Animas Museum – a historic building from Animas City. This museum walks you through the town’s history (Durango used to be two towns – Durango and Animas City!) In the afternoon take a Durango Jeep tour that will take you to the top of the San Juan Mountains and give you picturesque views and a little lesson on all things Colorado.
Durango is home to the Animas River, known as the River of Lost Souls. When the summer heat hits, the river becomes the lifeblood of the town. Take a half-day trip down the river with Mild to Wild and get some whitewater splashes with a unique view of the town. The Southwest also has some great hot springs, a little reminder of the volcanic origins of the area. The Piedra hot springs are about 40 minutes from Durango and are natural hot springs located on the banks of the Piedra River. Soak in the hot water and take in the wild Weminuche wilderness – the largest wilderness area in Colorado. You can also explore the Piedra River from a raft, with some Colorado intermediate or high adventure Colorado whitewater rafting!
Southwest Colorado is home to some of the most well-preserved Native American ruins in North America. Mesa Verde National Park has the largest collection of cliff-dwellings and is a mere half hour from Durango. You can visit the park on your own, but to get the best experience we recommend going on a guided Mesa Verde tour to get all of the vital history of the place. Chimney Rock National Monument is about 20 minutes outside of Pagosa Springs. The Aztec Ruins are one of the best kept secrets of the area and are a must-see while you’re here.
Take a trip to see the historic mining town of Silverton, Colorado on the San Juan Skyway. Check out the Old Hundred Mine and go a quarter mile into a mountain and pan for gold. Be sure to check out the Silverton Museum and the historic streets of this quaint town. On your way back to Durango, check out Purgatory Mountain Resort’s summer activities (like the alpine slide) or rent a mountain bike and take the lift up and cruise back on down.
We know you will love our little mountain town and find that 5 days is just the tip of the iceberg. That is why we have so many guests come back year after year! Can’t wait to meet you.
By: Mild to Wild Rafting and Jeep Trail Tours