Have you been trying to find a great vacation destination that you can visit year-round? Located in the Southwestern region of Colorado is where you will find the city of Durango, which has experienced an expansion in the number of visitors who have chosen this town as either a destination vacation or for others who choose to make this quaint town their home. From being featured in travel magazines (like US News and Outside Magazine), the secret is out: Durango is where it’s at. Packed with history and opportunities for year-round adventures, read more to find out why it captivates so many people.
A Brief History of Durango
The advancement of the railroad system is one of the main reasons Durango exists today, as the expansion of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad Company was made possible by the burgeoning hard rock mining opportunities that were present in the area in the late 1800s. Not only was it home to caches of gold and silver, Durango also had a more desirable climate when compared to other areas that touted similar mining opportunities. Though the going was tough in the high-country, miners and travelers could rest easy in the Animas Valley with more comforts afforded via the railroad system. The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge railroad is still in operation today offering year-round sightseeing trips. As well as tons of high-country four-wheeling roads that take you all over the San Juan Mountains, passing by abandoned mining settlements. Renting a UTV or a Jeep can get you to these places affordably and easily in the summer. In the winter, Purgatory has a dedicated run to all the old mines that made Durango what it is today.
Durango in the Winter
Winter in Colorado brings about mental imagery filled with snow, skiing, and snowboards galore, but there is more to do here in the winter than spending it on the slopes. There are pristine trails for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, as well as tubing for those up for the thrill that comes with speeding down a snow-covered hill. You do not have to be a down-hill skier to thoroughly enjoy Durango – there’s so much to do in the Winter. Sure, while engaging in the outdoor-related activities may be the draw for many who visit the area, there is a winter train excursion, known as the Cascade Canyon Winter Train. The train which departs from the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and Museum offers a leisurely 5-hour train ride through a winter wonderland located in the San Juan National Forest. Also, who can forget the annual Snowdown event, which takes nighttime revelers through a series of contests and presentations by the likes of The Follies variety show? Snowdown is just the beginning of Winter activities in the area. If the nightlife is not your scene, you can always take in the warmth and relaxation that can be found in the healing waters of the natural hot springs.
Durango in the Summer
While some may equate Colorado with snow and skiing, the summer season in Durango can be as equally exhilarating for the whole family. It is much easier to transverse the winding roads that lead you into this valley city, as the snow has subsided, and there are also affordable summer flights from the Los Angeles area for a quick destination getaway. During the summer, the temperatures rarely cross the triple digits, making it an opportune destination for the outdoor adventurer who enjoys kayaking and hiking, as well as taking a leisurely stroll down the Animas River trail or the local streets that are lined with unique shops. Summer in the mountains means you can get a wide variety of weather so make sure you’re packing wisely (and using sunscreen!) to make the most out of the high-country life!
While it may be a bit chilly during the winter months, the lack of light pollution makes for incredible stargazing opportunities, with the stars often appearing quite bright, placing several constellations in full view. Weddings and family reunions can also take advantage of the beautiful scenery, regardless of the time of year. The backdrops of snow-covered mountains or lush green hills are equally as breathtaking. Just remember to pack a light jacket if you are traveling to Durango during the summer, as the range between day and night temperatures can warrant light layers, with the chill being more noticeable during the winter months once the sun begins to set. Durango boasts one of the best restaurants per capita ratio in the United States, so bring your appetite! With live, local music also happening year-round, you’re bound to find great places where you can immerse yourself in our local culture. Whether you plan your visit for the winter, spring, summer, or fall, there will be plenty for you to do while visiting Durango. The natural landscape is ideal to facilitate outdoor excursions, as well as quiet contemplation. Relics in town, as well as the railroad museum, help to provide a picture of the evolution that has occurred in this town, with more attractions being added regularly. With the year-round attractions that you can find here, there is no “off-season” for Durango.