We’re a big fan of Durango, CO. It just happens to be our hometown, but it’s also an incredible place to visit. After all, that’s so many of us ended up living here! If you’re planning your summer vacation (it’s never too early!) think about making a trip out to Southwest Colorado.
- Ride the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
No list about Durango is complete without the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Operating out of the original 1882 depot in Downtown Durango, the train makes an incredible journey through the rugged San Juan Mountains. This old steam engine follows the Animas River and climbs to the high mountain town of Silverton. The D&SNGRR has been used in many famous movies, including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid!
- Ride the rapids in the Animas River
Rafting in the Animas River, photo courtesy of teofilo
The turbulent Animas River runs directly through Durango, and depending on the river flow, you can ride the rapids on a raft, kayak, SUP, or inner-tube! Named by the early Spanish explorers, the “animas” means “river of lost souls.” But don’t let that deter you! The many rafting companies are family friendly and you’ll see adventurers of all ages out on the river on a warm summer day.
- Hike Engineer Mountain
Engineer Mountain, photo courtesy of Larry Gross
You’ve probably seen this iconic mountain on many advertisement for Durango. This grey shale protrusion rises distinctively above US 550 and can be seen clearly from Purgatory Ski Resort. Rising to a point of 12,968 ft., Engineer Mountain is a short and easily accessible hike. Technically, the trail ends in the valley below the summit at 11,600 ft, but many hikers will scramble to the top on an exposed ridge. As long as you’re not afraid of heights, you’ll find some incredible views from the top!
- Try mountain biking, right in town!
Mountain biking in Durango, photo courtesy of Chauncey Davis
Durango is known for its strong road and mountain bike culture, and for good reason. Numerous national champions have come out of Durango, or made it their hometown. On any given summer day, you’ll see mountain bikers pedaling to one of the many trailheads right in town. If you’re never mountain biked before, you can rent one at many of the great local shops and head up to Horse Gulch, which has a number of easy trails. Or, if you have your own gear, try out Twin Buttes, Sky Ridge, or the Colorado Trail.
- Tour not one, but six local breweries
Flight of beer at Carver Brewing Company, photo courtesy of Ty Nigh
Has anyone done the math? Because Durango must have the most number of breweries per capita anywhere! Durangatangs love all things local, and that includes craft brew. Even if you’re not a beer fan, it’s worth sampling the variety of standard and creative brews from Ska Brewing, Steamworks, Carver Brewing, Animas Brewing, BREW, and Durango Brewing Company. Or just enjoy dinner and a great mountain town atmosphere.
- Visit Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde National Park, photo courtesy of Larry Gross
Consider devoting an entire day to Mesa Verde National Park. These miraculously preserved Ancestral Puebloan cliff-dwellings can be enjoyed from the road via car or bike, but many can be hiked to. The national park was created by Teddy Roosevelt in 1906 and has since become one of the most popular parks in the country. And for good reason! The cliff-dwellings are unlike anything else you’ll see in the country. Enjoy!
- Sleep out under the stars
Camping at Highland Mary Lakes, photo courtesy of Pedestrian Adventures
With numerous backcountry and front country campgrounds, you’re sure to find some peace and quiet out here in the mountains. You can easily find RV and tent sites at National Forest campgrounds near town, or hike into the remote Weminuche Wilderness for true solitude!
And don't forget, eNZees Foot Soother can be found at a number of Durango retailers... stock up for your adventure on the town.