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Colorado Vacation Stops

Choose Your Durango Adventure

Your adventure can be as crazy or mild as you want it to be. Choose water, land, train or foodie escapades.

Known for its incredible mountain biking, backpacking and skiing opportunities, it’s easy to go big in Durango. But there are also opportunities at every turn for the type of adventure that’s a little more dialed back. In this adrenaline-fueled town, there’s something for everyone.

Paddleboarding on a reservoir near Durango, Colorado
Paddleboarding on a reservoir near Durango. Photo: Dirt Road Travels courtesy of Durango

In the West, water is a precious commodity and Durango celebrates its abundance of lakes and rivers at every turn. The Animas River flows right through downtown Durango and provides opportunities to go rafting, kayaking, fishing or just relaxing on one of the many beaches with your kids. Head to one of three lakes within a 10-mile radius of downtown, Lake Nighthorse, Vallecito or Lemon reservoirs, to soak up the Colorado sun on a paddleboard. Stop by 4Corners Riversports in town to rent a paddleboard or kayak before heading out. Or take a moderate hike on the Cascade Creek Trail with multiple creek crossings, waterfalls and inviting pools.

Mountain biking near Durango, Colorado
Mountain biking near Durango. Photo: Dirt Road Travels courtesy of Durango

Prefer to stay dry? Durango’s trails are legendary. Rent a bike from Second Avenue Sports or head off on foot to explore. The 567-mile Colorado Trail’s southern terminus (or origin) is in Durango providing access to the whole state on foot for serious hikers and bikers. For day hikers, head to the Rim Trail accessed from Fort Lewis College for views of downtown, or the more strenuous Animas Mountain Trail, which provides views of La Plata Mountain on the north side of town.

Durango-Silverton Train
Durango-Silverton Train. Photo: Dirt Road Travels courtesy of Durango

A Durango adventure wouldn’t be complete without a ride on the Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. The steam billowing from the engine signals the train that’s been in operation since 1880 is rolling into town. The collective excitement is palpable. Plan an entire day to take the train through the mountains to the historic mining town of Silverton on open-air cars to explore the mining history. Or, use the train as a starting point for backpacking adventures in the famed Chicago Basin. Checks routes and availability at durangotrain.com.

While Durango’s endless opportunities for adventure are what draws visitors to town, the après is what they stay for.

“Durango has more restaurants per capita than San Francisco,” shares Visit Durango marketing manager, Nick Kogos.

At every turn in town, you’ll come across another inventive and incredible eatery. Picking a spot for dinner will be the most complicated part of your trip. Kogos’ advice? Opt for a restaurant with a patio to take in the views and Colorado’s stunning sunsets.

11th Street Station’s patio has incredible views of the mesas and mountains and offers something for literally any taste. Seven food trucks circle the outdoor dining area, with Ernie’s Bar at the center pouring local brews and cocktails.

Another local favorite with a great patio is Fired Up Pizzeria. Artisan wood-fired pizzas with combinations like bacon, green chile and arugula, lemon and fresh mozzarella pair perfectly with local craft beers from breweries like Ska.

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Learn more at Durango.org/plan.