With diverse landscapes and a myriad of natural settings, Durango, a city from southwest Colorado, has everything for adventurous souls. Mountain bike, kayak, hunt, do winter sports, or warm-up for the summer — the region's outdoor recreational activities seem endless.
If you decide to visit and enjoy Durango, the only way to do it is to immerse yourself in the scenic beauty.
Forget about traveling for sight-seeing, ticking off landmarks on your list, and temporary escape. Durango is not just for Instagram. This place is a haven for thrill-seekers, those who pursue transformation through travel, and voyagers who understand the essence of a journey.
Experiential travel is all about spending your money, time, and youthful energy on worthwhile happenings. It contrasts the trending travel culture of staying in a fancy hotel or walking by the beautiful beach and doing nothing but take photos.
Durango is the perfect spot to begin collecting real experiences, where you connect deeply to a place and create everlasting memories. It is a true recreational destination to satisfy every fiber of your being and come back fully transformed to a better version of yourself.
Ready for greater awareness of nature and an adventure of a lifetime? Durango has immersive encounters that await experiential travelers like you.
Get the best travel experience by not letting the days pass locked inside your hotel room.
Here are the things you should do during your visit to Durango, Colorado:
Experiences You Shouldn't Miss In Durango
Whether you're a newcomer or a returning traveler, check this recommendation of things to do in Durango. Include them in your experiential travel bucket list.
One Of The Biggest Tourist Draws: The Historic Train Ride
As of this writing, the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is about to celebrate its 140th year of operation. After eras of accepting travelers, it remains a favorite sight-seeing spot.
The experience is a nine-hour long, open-air journey that would traverse the 47-mile railroad in a vintage steam locomotive. Guests would enjoy the view along Animas River, "Needles" of the San Juan Mountain Range, Colorado's three 14,000 feet summits mountains, also known as "Fourteeners," and more.
The old steam engine train is an attraction itself. Because of the cinder it emits, you shouldn't wear contact lenses and expect stains on your white clothes.
We recommend this trip to everyone, particularly Durango first-timers and train buffs.
Summit Animas Mountain
After warming up on a train ride and having a cozy first night in a nearby hotel, we recommend hiking the next day. The Animas Mountain is an 8-mile trail that leads you to the top of a mesa where you claim the well-deserved prize that is a fabulous view of Animas City.
Although you can take both clockwise and counterclockwise directions, we highly recommend the latter so you can hike down along the edge. It is where you can see a great display of the valley, and as you move forward, the whole of Durango.
Connect To The Southwestern Culture And Heritage
Durango is home to a wide array of galleries, performance venues, art activities, and museums. If your exploration goals include a deep understanding of a community's roots, as well as learning through informative exhibits and cultural immersion, Durango offers a mix of opportunities for you.
Durango Arts Center features public art pieces as well as produces dynamic theatre performances. Other places you can visit for robust music scenes are Merely Players, Henry Strater Theatre, Fort Lewis College, and Durango High School.
Experience Wenimuche Wilderness
You won't truly experience Durango if you haven't pitched a tent and slept in Wenimuche Wilderness. Known for its rugged terrain, it takes a challenging hike before you can reap the rewards of spending the night in this ecosystem. Some of the notable areas of Weminuche include the Chicago Basin, Continental Divide Trail, and the Colorado Trail (Elk Creek).
Weminuche Wilderness shelters Durango's best-kept secret — the Emerald Lake. This breathtaking alpine lake provides monumental views of the pristine waters. Getting there takes an entire day, so it's advisable to bring your camping goods before taking the trail for an overnight stay.
Nightlife And Gastronomic Experience
After the soul-stirring views and a liberating hike, take a rest from these extreme activities and have fun with the legendary party throwers and brewers of Durango. The Ska Brewing Headquarters make award-winning beers for both locals and tourists to enjoy. It also arranges various events throughout the year, and it is a chance to immerse yourself in what's new in the community.
If you are a foodie, Durango has some select diners for you. Being a creative district, you can trust that the chefs have something special on the menu. They also said you hadn't experienced the place fully until you've ordered and tasted one of them. Try Rice Monkey, Oscar's Cafe, Steamworks Brewing Company, and the recently opened Pop Sushi.
If you came for some Colorado snow and to see the frozen beauty of the place, you might as well try some of Durango's winter activities.
So over with skiing? Not a problem.
Durango offers a handful of snow-related activities. If you've done so much skiing and crossed the slopes at the mainstream Purgatory Resort, there are still more things you can do.
Start with dog sledding. Family-run Durango Dog Ranch offers a two-hour winter tour around the snowy mountain range of Southwestern Colorado. Each sled can carry two passengers, not exceeding 375 lbs. If you want some snuggles after a soul-stirring trip and sight-seeing, you might want to pay these puppies a visit.
Some winter sports for people who would like to brave the cold weather include snow tubing, snowshoeing, and snowboarding. You can also stop at Purgatory Resort for a snowcat excursion, where you tour the place while riding on a truck-sized vehicle designed to move quickly through the snow.
Another Night Of Food And Booze
After summiting, kayaking, and other tiring activities, don't forget that you can cut loose for a night of food and booze in some favorite hangout places in Durango. The 11th Street Station hosts live music, eclectic food trucks, and an expansive food selection derived from Durango's automotive history.
Invite your hiking friends to take the shot-ski challenge at Lady Falconburgh's. It's a Durango tradition where bartenders glue four shot glasses on a wooden ski. This activity is perfect for those looking for a full mountain experience with booze confidence on the side.
Other places to check out include Father’s Daughters Pizza, Durango Craft Spirits, all located on Main Avenue, for the real deal.
Making The Most Out Of Your Durango Adventures
We're sure we haven't mentioned everything. There's still a whole bunch of hidden gems and pristine areas to discover in Durango. Even though you have not experienced all, you can always make the short visit worthwhile.
Prepare For Some Action: Start hitting the gym to condition your body for the long trails. It won' be easy to engage in these activities if you can't carry your weight.
Stay Longer: A cheap 4D/3N deal you found online may seem interesting. However, it does not let you relish the good stuff. You would chase the time, worry about how few hours you have left, and not have enough for rest. There are long-stay hotels that could accommodate a true adventurer like you.
Choose An Accessible Place To Stay: Wherever you go, the hotel, particularly its location, plays an essential factor. An ideal temporary home would be somewhere near the attractions or has a scenic view of the surroundings but is somewhat away from the bustles and hustles. Check hotel reviews from various booking sites to find that perfect accommodation.
Experiential Travel: Still, plunging yourself into what your destination has to offer is the best kind of travel there is. Not only that you create unforgettable memories, but you also get the best out of your expended time, money, and effort.
If you're searching for immersive experiences, Durango may be the most suitable place for you to begin with. Its rich history, culture, and immaculate wonders would satiate the wanderlust of thrill-seeking voyagers.