Are you looking for the best things to do in Durango, Colorado? From outdoor adventures to lively nightlife, there is no shortage of activities for visitors of all ages. Whether you’re planning a family vacation or a solo getaway, Durango offers something for everyone. From visiting national parks and monuments to hiking trails and river rafting, explore the amazing outdoor opportunities Durango has to offer. Experience the local culture and nightlife, and make some unforgettable memories in this stunning southwestern city.
Experience the Great Outdoors in Durango
When it comes to experiencing the great outdoors, Durango, Colorado is a paradise for adventurers of all types. Its stunning natural beauty and abundance of outdoor activities make it the perfect destination for nature lovers and thrill-seekers.
Hiking in the San Juan National Forest and Beyond
The San Juan National Forest is a paradise waiting to be explored. With over 2.8 million acres of pristine wilderness, this national forest offers endless hiking, biking, camping, and wildlife viewing opportunities. Explore the numerous trails that wind through towering mountains, lush forests, and alpine meadows, and be prepared to be awe-struck by the beauty of this untouched landscape.
One of Durango’s most popular hiking destinations is the Animas Mountain Trail. This moderate trail takes you through lush forests and offers panoramic views of the city and surrounding mountains. It’s the perfect trail for hikers of all levels, providing a good workout while still accessible to beginners.
If you’re up for a challenge, head to the Needles Mountains, a subrange of the San Juan Mountains. Here, you’ll find some of the area’s most rugged and remote hiking trails. Traverse through alpine meadows, scramble over rocks, and be rewarded with jaw-dropping views of towering peaks and pristine lakes.
For a more family-friendly hike, check out the Colorado Trail. This long-distance trail spans over 500 miles, but you can choose to hike just a portion of it. Enjoy the serene beauty of the wilderness as you walk through forests and cross streams, and maybe even spot some wildlife along the way.
Closer to downtown Durango is the Animas River Trail, seven miles of paved surfaces that run along the Animas River and winds through Durango neighborhoods and public spaces.
No matter which trail you choose, make sure to pack plenty of water, sunscreen, and snacks. It’s also a good idea to check the weather forecast and trail conditions before heading out. And most importantly, take your time, soak in the scenery, and let the magic of Durango’s hiking trails captivate you.
Cool Off in the River and Reservoirs
For those whose favorite summer activities include water, Durango has several rivers, reservoirs, and lakes where you can go kayaking, paddleboarding, or even whitewater rafting.
The Animas River is a popular spot for rafting, offering exhilarating rapids and picturesque scenery. It’s a great way to cool off during the hot summer months while enjoying the thrill of the rushing water.
Durango also has excellent fishing. Lake Nighthorse Reservoir, which is an artificial lake that just opened in 2018, is close to town and is regularly stocked with salmon and trout. There’s also Vallecito Reservoir, about a half hour from town, if you’re after Northern Pike.
But perhaps best of all is the Animas River, located right in Durango near Dallabetta City Park. These are designated as Gold Medal waters, where visitors can expect to find a plentiful supply of Brown and Rainbow Trout. While we can’t guarantee you’ll catch something here, chances are better than average.
Every Winter Activity Imaginable
You can’t mention Colorado and outdoors without mentioning winter sports, which, of course, Durango has in abundance. Skiing? Check. Snowboarding? Check. Snowshoeing? Check. You’re only limited by your imagination, physical abilities, and gear (although you can rent while you’re visiting). Colorado’s wilderness will supply the rest.
Explore National Parks and Monuments
Durango, Colorado is not only a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, but it is also home to some of the most breathtaking national parks and monuments in the country. If you’re looking to explore the rich history and natural beauty of the area, then discovering the national parks and monuments in Durango should be at the top of your to-do list.
Start your adventure by visiting Mesa Verde National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This park is known for its well-preserved cliff dwellings, which provide a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the Ancestral Pueblo people. Take a guided tour to learn about their unique architecture and way of life, or explore the park’s hiking trails to get a closer look at these ancient structures.
No trip to Durango would be complete without a visit to the iconic Four Corners Monument. This unique landmark, located about an hour and a half from Durango, marks the only place in the United States where four states – Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico – meet. Take a memorable photo as you stand in four states at once.
Family-Friendly Fun in Durango
If you’re planning a family vacation to Durango, Colorado, you’re in for a treat! This vibrant city offers a wide range of family-friendly activities that are sure to keep everyone entertained and create lasting memories.
A great family-friendly activity in Durango is taking a ride on the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Kids will be delighted as they board the historic steam train and embark on a scenic journey through the San Juan Mountains. The train ride offers stunning views of the surrounding landscapes and provides a unique way to experience the beauty of the area.
Another of the must-visit attractions in Durango is the Durango Discovery Museum. This interactive museum is perfect for kids of all ages, offering hands-on exhibits that explore science, technology, engineering, art, and math. From building robots to creating art projects, there’s something for every curious mind.
For a fun and educational outdoor adventure, head to the Durango Fish Hatchery and Wildlife Museum. Kids will love learning about the different fish species that are native to the area and even have the opportunity to feed them. The museum also offers exhibits on wildlife and conservation, providing a well-rounded educational experience.
Your kids will probably love a visit to the Powerhouse Science Center. This interactive science museum features exhibits on renewable energy, geology, and more. Kids can participate in hands-on activities and experiments, making learning a fun and engaging experience.
If your family enjoys outdoor activities (but isn’t big on hiking), be sure to check out Durango’s parks and playgrounds. Rotary Park is a popular spot, with its large playground, picnic areas, and scenic views of the Animas River. The park also has a splash pad, perfect for cooling off on hot summer days.
After a day of hiking, biking, kayaking, or just exploring museums, head downtown to recharge. Here, you’ll find a wide variety of restaurants to satisfy the pickiest eaters in your group.
Additionally, you may find that galleries are the perfect counterpoint to an active day. If you’re not in a retail mood, there is also a self-guided walking tour that will allow you to explore Durango’s history at your own pace. Or maybe grab a cup of coffee and people-watch at one of the many coffee shops.
Unwind and Immerse in Nightlife
When the sun sets in Durango, the fun is just getting started! This vibrant city offers a lively nightlife scene that is sure to keep you entertained well into the night. Whether you’re in the mood for a quiet drink at a cozy bar or dancing the night away at a bustling club, Durango has something for everyone.
Start your evening by exploring the local breweries and distilleries. Durango is known for its craft beer and spirits, and you won’t be disappointed with the selection. Sample a flight of locally brewed beers or sip on a handcrafted cocktail made with locally sourced ingredients. The friendly and knowledgeable staff will be happy to guide you through the options and help you find your new favorite drink.
If live music is more your style, you’re in luck. Durango is home to a thriving music scene, with live performances happening almost every night of the week. From intimate acoustic sets to country-western bands and little rock ‘n’ roll, there’s always something happening in the city’s venues. Check out the local listings for any special events happening during your visit.
As you can see, there’s no shortage of things to do in Durango. Whether you prefer to get out on the trails, hit the slopes, immerse yourself in history, or just want a change of scenery, you’ll find plenty to enjoy in this corner of Colorado.