In the travel industry, “shoulder season” refers to the time between the high and low seasons. For Durango, the shoulder season occurs two times each year: fall and spring. With the weather remaining favorable, the shoulder season is a perfect time to visit Durango! Enjoy a quieter environment, less people, and often lower prices. In celebration of the shoulder seasons, we've put together some of our favorite spring and fall activities.
Participate in the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic.
Occurring every Memorial Day weekend, the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic is the ultimate celebration of Durango’s cycling heritage. Late May is a perfect time to enjoy the Durango landscape by bike. The weather is warm, spring is in the air and the trails are opening up. The Iron Horse Bicycle Classic is a weekend-long event. With rides and races for both road and mountain bikers, it’s a unique and special event. If you get the chance, participate in the citizen’s tour on Saturday. With varying lengths, the citizens tour provides stunning views of the Animas Valley along with breathtaking views from the mountain passes. The full tour goes all the way from Durango to Silverton along the San Juan Skyway. Be sure to watch the professionals compete in the downtown mountain bike race on Sunday. Enjoy the street fair atmosphere and stop by one Durango’s breweries for a bite to eat and tasty beverage. The Iron Horse weekend is a fun and exciting weekend to visit Durango.
Learn about the history of the Southwest with a tour of Mesa Verde.
We think the fall and spring are the best times to take a tour of Mesa Verde National Park. In the spring and fall you get the advantage of escaping the heat of summer and the chill of the winter. In general, most of the sites are open during these time periods, and you don’t have to worry about crowds. We think the best way to take in this historic site is on a guided tour with an area expert. They will fill you in on the history of the area, be able to answer your questions, and know all the best spots to view the ruins. A self-guided tour is certainly an option but with a guided tour you’ll gain a better perspective of the ancestral ruins. If you get the chance to visit Durango in the spring or fall, take the time to visit Mesa Verde National Park. You won’t regret it.
Head for the Mountains and Explore old Mining Roads
We can’t recommend a fall jeep tour enough! There is something so special about the high mountains in the fall. The air is still and clear. The sky is the most vibrant shade of blue, contrasted only by the sparkling gold aspen leaves. With a multitude of old mining roads and jeep trails to explore, a trip into the mountains is pretty amazing. Travel above 12,000 feet and take in the view among the soaring peaks on a guided jeep tour. Our personal favorite is a trip up to the top of Kennebec Pass in La Plata Canyon. Take a moment at the top to enjoy the unique quiet stillness of a relaxing fall afternoon in the mountains. Yet another great reason to visit Durango in the fall!
Fly Fish the Clear and Challenging Waters of Durango
With all the freshwater resources available in the Durango area it’s no wonder that fly fishing makes our shoulder season list of favorites. For anglers visiting in the spring, the rivers can get a bit murky and flushed out from snowmelt. This can make for tricky fishing, but don’t worry. There’s plenty of other great options for springtime fishing! When the rivers are high, head for Vallecito or Lemon Reservoir. The fishing is great, but the views might be even better. Don’t forget to take your eyes off the water to watch the osprey and eagles soar over the lake. They’ll be your biggest competition for catching fish! In the fall, nothing beats fishing the streams and rivers of the Durango area. For the casual fishers, the Animas River flowing through town is perfect. Its clear, low water will take some skill, but the catch will be rewarding. With a multitude of prime fishing holes right in downtown Durango, an afternoon doing some fall fishing is incomparable.
A visit to Durango will be wonderful and memorable in any season, as there is always a good time to be had. But if you are lucky enough to come during the shoulder season we know that you’ll enjoy any or all of the activities above. Tried and true, all of our staff will attest to any of these adventures being wonderfully fun!