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No matter the season, there are always events that Durangoans anticipate for. Whether it’s Snowdown in the winter, Taste of Durango in the spring, Fiesta Days and the Fair in the summer, or Oktoberfest in the fall, each season brings locals together to enjoy the wonderful town of Durango. No matter what time of year you visit, you are bound to find an event that suits you!
Check out our full events calendar here, and learn more about some of our local favorites below.
The Polar Express Train ride is fun for the entire family and kids of all ages. Everyone is encouraged to dress in PJs, sing favorite carols, and bring the story to life. Enjoy cookies, hot cocoa, and the story written by Chris Van Allsburg, narrated by Santa's helpers, all while on a magical journey to see Santa aboard a historic steam train. The Polar Express generally runs from mid-November to early January. Visit the Durango & Silverton Train's website for more information.
Snowdown, the original “Cabin Fever Reliever,” is a mainstay winter event and the locals’ way to beat those winter blues! Each year features a new and different crazy theme. For a true local experience, don your favorite costume, partake in the hilarious weekday events, and don't miss the light parade, held on the Friday evening of Snowdown. With many events throughout the week, both adults-only and family-friendly, everyone is bound to find something that suits them. Typically held the last weekend of January or first weekend of February. Visit snowdown.org for more information.
The Peanuts Easter Beagle Express Train is the biggest kid-friendly event of the spring season. Meet Snoopy and the rest of the Peanuts gang after taking a short train ride. For more information, click here.
A favorite spring event of both locals and visitors alike, the Durango Bluegrass Meltdown features a full weekend of world-class bluegrass music. With a full line-up of different events, including many family-friendly ones, downtown Durango comes alive with music in mid-April. Experience the Meltdown in true local fashion by grabbing a drink at the Diamond Belle Saloon and listening to the impromtu jam sessions taking place in the lobby of the Strater Hotel.
Indulge in great food, delicious drinks, and lots of fun at the Taste of Durango! This unofficial summer kickoff has long been a top favorite event with the locals. As a visitor, this is the best way to mingle with locals and experience the best of Durango’s culinary scene in one place. Generally held in mid-May.
The Iron Horse Bike Race, which has been running every Memorial Day weekend since 1972, is a true Durango event you won't find anywhere else. You can watch other bikers or you yourself can race the train all the way to Silverton! Take a day trip to greet the cyclists at the finish line in Silverton and enjoy this historic mining town for an afternoon.
Durango has long been a water town, and our locals love nothing more than a good day on the river! Animas River Days is a full celebration of our community’s love and appreciation for our local river. Watch as pro and amateur kayakers and rafters alike take on the rapids, or give them a ride yourself! Even if you aren’t into water sports you can watch from the river trail and cheer on your favorite team(s) or person(s) in surf/SUP competitions, raft rodeos, kayak slaloms, and more. Plus don’t miss a true local favorite: the Boat Parade. Typically held in early June; click here for more information.
For a true taste of Durango's Western heritage, don't miss Fiesta Days. This celebration features rodeos and a parade. For over 80 years, Fiesta Days has been an important element of Durango that celebrates Durango's past, while providing fun and entertainment during Durango's present! Generally held in mid-July.
Featuring a carnival, demolition derby, animal and craft exhibits, rodeos, and more, the La Plata County Fair, is a quintessential summer event like none other. The fair takes place for an entire week in mid-August, giving you plenty of time to see all you want (and maybe enough to circle back around for another peak at the bunnies)!
As the kids get ready to head back to school in late August, San Juan Brewfest gives the adults something else to look forward to! This adults-only event showcases the many local breweries in and around Durango. Paired with live local music, this is the perfect chance to try new brews or have more of your favorites!
Oktoberfest serves up all of your favorite local brews from six local breweries. With food and activities for all ages, this is a great family-friendly event. Stop by and enjoy your favorite brews or non-alcoholic beverages while enjoying live music and games. Typically held in mid-October. Click here for more information.
Celebrate the culture and heritage of the American cowboy at an event unlike any other. The Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering. This multi-day event held in early October features evening performances by cowboy poets and songwriters. Plus, take in Durango’s only completely non-motorized parade.
The Peanuts™ Great Pumpkin Patch Express train ride is a go-to for kids of all ages to step into the fall and Halloween season. Take a short train ride to the pumpkin patch and enjoy all sorts of fall fun. You and your family will love the hayrides, pictures with the whole Peanuts™ gang, live music, and a corn maze where you can pick your own pumpkin to take home! Multiple train rides held throughout October. Click here for more information.
Hiking, biking, and even horseback riding are more than just forms of transportation in Durango; they’re lifestyles! Enjoy these favorite activities of locals on any one of our number of trails.
Durango offers many stores to buy or rent gear, as well as designated places for bikers and trails filled with beautiful scenery. Even if something mellow is more your speed, the river trail is an easy, paved trail stretching seven miles right through town.
For other local trails, check out any of these options or visit Trails 2000 for interactive maps and more information.
Ask a local if they have ever been on the train and chances are most of them will say they’ve rode it at least once (after all, how could you not?!).
The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad travels from Durango to Silverton in the summer, and from Durango to Cascade Canyon in the winter. On the train ride you’ll see stunning scenery and mountains, some of which are only accessible by train.
Experience the trip of a lifetime onboard the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and be sure to read up on how to take a train into the heart of some of Colorado's most stunning mountains!
To visit like a local, you’ll have to eat like a local! Which, in Durango, means enjoying delicious, unique food at any of our amazing restaurants. Not to mention all of the coffee shops in town. It's like the town runs on it (spoiler- it does!).
Most local favorites can be found on Main Avenue and even in the most hidden places, like the Steaming Bean Coffee Shop, tucked below the Irish Embassy bar. So when in Durango, make sure to visit some local restaurants and taste some really great, award-winning food.
Look for locals’ favorites specials, such as Burger Nights at The Palace Restaurant and Olde Tymers, or Taco Tuesday at Gazpachos, or any number of daily happy hour specials throughout town. See our tips of how and where to dine like a local in Durango, our most celebrated brunch destinations, or even our own Durango cocktail bucket list.
Durango locals spend a lot of time outside, particularly on the river and the various lakes that surround the area. In the late spring/early summer you’ll find locals readying their rafts and kayaks for spring runoff-- the time of year when snow melts and makes the river surge. Rafting at this time of year is fast and adrenaline-pumping, with exciting whitewater rapids. As the summer continues on, days will get hotter and the water will get lower, making for perfect tubing conditions! Look for many tubers and stand-up paddle boarders to dot the river in late July and early August; rent your own equipment and join in!
Our large number of flat water lakes also provide great avenues to enjoy the sun and water. Rent a boat or paddleboard at Vallecito Lake, Lemon Reservoir, or Durango's newest body of water, Lake Nighthorse, for a day on the water, or hike to any number of high-altitude lakes for clear, blue water and unparalleled views!
Besides all of the fun spring, summer, and fall bring to Durango, winter season is a perfect time to break out your skis and snowboards and head up to the mountains.
Durango has several different options for winter sports, including skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, dogsledding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, or sledding. If you don’t have gear or can’t bring it along, you can rent or buy gear from several stores in town. You can go to Purgatory Resort (or Purg, as the locals affectionately call it!), Hesperus, Wolf Creek, or Chapman Hill.
Things are pronounced a little differently around here. Speak like the locals speak by following these easy guidelines!
1. Leave no trace!
2. Don’t hike/bike alone
3. Go in a group
4. Stick to the trails
5. A lot of USFS/BLM roads don’t have cell service
6. Be sure to pay any applicable use fees at a pay station, or take advantage of free admission days to any National Park/Monument or Forest Service area.
7. Bring snacks, plenty of water, a change of clothes, a first aid kit, and a blanket.
1. Without a vehicle
2. The Trolley
3. Local transportation services
1. Just like hiking and biking, leave no trace.
2. Be prepared to have limited cell service
3. Bring tarps or canopies
4. Bring sleeping bags that are rated for low temperatures
5. Bring excess supplies
6. Know your area
7. Register at fee stations and campgrounds
8. Know current restrictions