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Durango, CO – Outdoors Enthusiasts’ Paradise
Situated near the San Juan Mountains and within the Animas River Valley, Durango has a diverse landscape, making it a haven for year-round outdoor activities. Here, you can ski or snowboard down the powdery slopes at a sprawling ski resort during your wintertime visit, or blaze new trails on a summer hike. Make your way downtown for a glimpse into Durango’s Wild West heritage, or attend a jazz festival at one of the city’s oldest hotels. Durango, CO is an outdoor adventurer’s dream, but there’s plenty to do for everyone, too.
Old West Heritage
Downtown Durango is a Nationally Registered Historic District, and its Old West heritage is still very much alive today. There’s the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Museum, which details the history of the line that was developed to carry gold from the San Juan Mountains to Silverton. You can still board the steam locomotive today, or simply explore the museum to browse railroading artefacts. Next, delve even further into local history at The Animas Museum, which features a Native American gallery, exhibit on La Plata County history, and a fully restored 1905 classroom. If you wish to incorporate the history of the city into your accommodations, you can also choose to stay in one of the oldest hotels in Durango, CO, such as The General Palmer Hotel, which was constructed in the late 1800s and is still filled with antiques. There’s also the Victorian-era Strater Hotel, which was constructed in 1887 and features Old West staples like a piano bar saloon and steakhouse. In addition to its historic sites, Downtown Durango has a number of inviting boutiques, cafes, and restaurants situated along Main Avenue.
Unlimited Outdoor Recreation
A portion of the 1.8 million-acre San Juan National Forest lies within the city. There, you can enjoy horseback riding, climbing, fishing, hiking, and bicycling. During warmer weather, the park is also a premier destination for camping, which is ideal for guests who may prefer to spend their visit among nature instead of staying in one of the hotels in Durango, Colorado. Other warm-weather activities include boating and water skiing. While the park is also a destination among locals for cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling during the winter months, visitors are encouraged to exercise caution, as the trails and roadways are not snow ploughed. In addition to the San Juan National Forest, the Animas River is also an exceptional site for outdoor recreation, as it is considered a Gold Medal Water destination for fly fishing, and is also a popular spot for white water rafting, canoeing, and kayaking.
When winter visits the city of Durango, its people don’t head indoors for hibernation. Instead, they embrace the coldest weather of the year during the annual Snowdown Festival. Since 1979, Durango businesses and residents have been partaking in the winter event, which is held in late January or early February and has a different theme each year. In past years, themes have included superheroes, disco, and steampunk. Many business owners partake in competitions, and one of the festival’s longest standing traditions is the single firework which commences a spectacular light parade. In the late spring, the Strater Hotel hosts the Ragtime & Early Jazz Festival, complete with live entertainment and silent movies. Nearby, Purgatory Resort also hosts its own snow sculpture, winter fest, and Mardi Gras celebrations. The Iron Horse Bicycle Classic is another popular yearly attraction, which is held over Memorial Day Weekend and encompasses BMX, road, and mountain bike competitions.
Slopes for Skiers & Snowboarders
Durango, like many other parts of Colorado, is well-known for its ski slopes. In particular, there’s Purgatory Resort, which is located within the San Juan Mountains and is home to 92 trails, 11 lifts, and more than 1,500 acres of skiable area. While you can choose to stay in one of the resort’s condo rental properties during your visit, there are also a number of hotels available for accommodation throughout the city. For convenience, the resort shuttle provides transportation from the city of Durango to the slopes and back. The mountain has a variety of trails among all difficulty levels, and for the experienced skiers and snowboarders, a number of paths run through the forest for an exhilarating ride. With a summit elevation of 10,822 feet and an average snowfall accumulation of 260 inches each year, the San Juan Mountains can be enjoyed by any skier or snowboarder. With snow tubing, sledding, snowshoeing, and dog sledding, there are also more family-friendly adventures to be enjoyed at the resort, along with shops and nine eateries, including a pizzeria and bar.