The 10 Best Things to Do in Durango, United States

November 8, 2017 Oliva Fomby

Once a frontier mining town, Durango draws thousands of tourists year-round for the myriad outdoor recreational activities and scenic beauty. Mountain bikers, rafters, kayakers, horseback riders, rock climbers, hikers, campers, hunters and fishermen are drawn to the two-million acre San Juan National Forest and to the San Juan mountains, the largest range in the Rockies. But the city's biggest tourist draw is a nine-hour historic train ride in a vintage steam locomotive. The Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, which hauled precious metals in the 1880s, now takes tourists for a 47-mile, open-air journey through mountains and forests and past abandoned mines to historic Silverton and back. Children and train buffs will relish the chance to climb into a locomotive and pore over railroad memorabilia at the railroad's museum. Skiers flock to the Durango Mountain Resort in winter, which also offers hiking, fishing, rafting and horseback riding in warmer months. Slow down your pace with a stroll past splendidly restored Victorian buildings in historic Downtown Durango and wind up a very active weekend in a local brewpub or saloon.
Restaurants in Durango

1. San Juan National Forest

15 Burnett Ct, Durango, CO 81301-3647 +1 970-247-4874
Excellent
86%
Good
11%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 474 reviews

San Juan National Forest

Wilderness area consisting of forested mountains, 14,000-foot peaks, scenic roads, geological formations, prehistoric communities and a narrow-gauge railroad.

Reviewed By CathyP1953 - Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

What a beautiful ride in the San Juan Mountains. Our journey began in Durango, CO, with the beautiful trees along the route. The bright yellow leaves mixed with the reds and greens were just striking. The mountains faces were so unique as we climbed in elevation. The different color granites were just breathtaking. We made many stops to examine the area and take photos of the majestic scenery.

2. Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and Museum

479 Main Ave, Durango, CO 81301-5421
Excellent
76%
Good
19%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 4 reviews

Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and Museum

Hop aboard a coal-fired, steam-powered locomotive that travels along the same railroad tracks that miners, cowboys and the early settlers of the Old West used over a hundred years ago. The route winds in and out of canyons and past open wilderness affording great views. The price of a ticket also includes admission to the D&SNGRR Museum and the Silverton Freight Yard Museum.

Reviewed By BCbikeGuy - Keremeos, Canada

We went on a pre-booked trip. The morning was dreary and a light drizzle was falling. Our car attendant was welcoming and did a great job of making sure we were comfortable and provided coffe (or other choices) quickly. We had chosen the dome car and it was a great choice although a more expensive option. Since this car was the last on the train we were able to get great pictures from the rear platform. Fortunately the day improved with bright sun by the lunch stop at Cascade. We had pre-ordered lunches and these were nicely made sandwiches with chips, apple and cookie. A very enjoyable day with magnificant scenery.

3. Animas River

Schneider Park, Durango, CO 81301
Excellent
77%
Good
19%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 271 reviews

Animas River

Reviewed By CathyP1953 - Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

We loved our observations of the Animas River and we explored the Durango-Silverton, CO area. The blue color was just absolutely gorgeous as we traveled the mountainous road up to Silverton and back to Durango. The rapids were just so exciting to watch as the terrain was constantly changing from one bend in the river to another. So interesting to see this beautiful river!

4. James Ranch

33846 Highway 550, Durango, CO 81301-7144 +1 970-385-6858
Excellent
79%
Good
14%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 183 reviews

James Ranch

Reviewed By Terri H - Helena, Alabama, United States

Stopped here for lunch mainly because it was convenient while out sightseeing and it turned out to be one of the highlights of our trip! My husband had a Sloppy Joe and I had a steak salad. The food was excellent and well priced, however the views are what make the experience. Seating is outside at a picnic table in the shade overlooking the pastures where they raise the cows, and the mountains. It was an extremely enjoyable dining experience!

5. Animas River Trail

3rd St & Durango Mall, Durango, CO
Excellent
71%
Good
23%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 392 reviews

Animas River Trail

Reviewed By ColoMama33 - Colorado

This trail follows the river through town, and while you are in the heart of town, you feel like you are surrounded by nature as well. Nice for an afternoon get-away. I would give it 5 stars, but there are some shady looking people hanging out at some of the picnic tables and under the bridges.

6. Durango Community Recreation Center

2700 Main Ave, Durango, CO 81301-5938 +1 970-375-7305
Excellent
78%
Good
21%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 103 reviews

Durango Community Recreation Center

The 71,557 square foot Durango Community Recreation Center offers a Lap and Leisure Pool, Hot Tub, Water Slide, Outdoor Splash Pad, Racquetball Courts, Indoor Track, Aerobics Studio, Gymnasium, Youth Games Area, Cybex Free Weights and Pin Loaded Weight Equipment, Cardiovascular Equipment, Climbing Wall, meeting rooms, outdoor playground and Babysitting.

Reviewed By Diana S

We have lived here for 5 years and driven past this center several times per week, but when young kids were visiting this month, we decided to finally try it out.

Anyone who complains about the lifeguards and their whistles likely had one of the kids who was violating the rules and clearly doesn't bother to explain rules or hold their children accountable, so please disregard their reviews, because their kids were GETTING the whistles. I only heard 2 whistles, so it's not excessive (and the whistles were necessary because it is loud--40 plus kids swimming, sliding and playing will get loud).

We visited for a little over 2 hours, the kids had a blast, and it cost under $20 to get in (senior, adult and 2 kids under 13).

We are now looking into a yearly pass because the pools are indoors (nobody wants to swim outside in winter in Colorado), it has a great weight room, lots of classes every week (for a nominal fee) and seems to be very well maintained inside and out.

7. Durango Fish Hatchery and Wildlife Museum

151 E 16th St, Durango, CO 81301-5026 +1 970-247-0855
Excellent
66%
Good
28%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 155 reviews

Durango Fish Hatchery and Wildlife Museum

The museum is open 7 days a week seasonally only. Starting May 15 through September 15 each year. Monday- Saturday: 10am to 4pm Sunday: 11am to 3pm The hatchery is open year round 7 days a week from 8am to 4pm. Admission is free, however donations are appreciated. Self guided tours of the hatchery are available 7 days a week from 8am to 4pm.

Reviewed By Leslie H - Dunedin, Florida

The hatchery is a great place to learn about the area and its fishing and stocking of the local waterways. The small wildlife museum is good especially for children. A definite stop while your in Durango.

8. Historic Downtown Durango

850 1/2 Main Ave, Suite 2, Durango, CO 81301-5434 +1 970-375-5068
Excellent
61%
Good
31%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Historic Downtown Durango

Historic Downtown Durango is the heart of the community. Filled with over 200 unique shops, stores and restaurants, Downtown Durango has something for everyone. The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is located in Downtown, and has daily excursions plus a FREE museum. The Strater Hotel is also in Downtown and has been in operation since the 1800's. We have wonderful restaurants, from fast food to fine dining and everything in between. Plus there are amazing shops with unique items, including nearly a dozen world class art galleries. To learn more about Historic Downtown Durango, visit our website, and use the FREE wifi Downtown at Durango WiFi. Thanks for visiting!

Reviewed By altheonly - Lahaina, Hawaii

Restaurants, bars, diners, shops and attractions - a pleasant place to visit, stay in and enjoy. Durango is a historical town that is quaint, family friendly and yet fun for adults. If you like history, the west, antiques, old architecture, an enjoyable night life and...MoreThanks for the great review!

9. Purgatory Resort

1 Skier Pl, Durango, CO 81301-9627 +1 970-247-9000
Excellent
59%
Good
28%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
3%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 601 reviews

Purgatory Resort

Purgatory Resort is a family-friendly, four-season resort offering a variety of activities for all ages. In the winter, enjoy alpine skiing and snowboarding, snow shoeing, horse-drawn sleigh rides, Nordic skiing, snowmobiling and more. Summer and fall offers hiking, mountain biking, Alpine Slide rides, zipline, scenic chairlift, disc golf, bungee trampolines, climbing walls, miniature golf and more.

Reviewed By Po143 - Bossier City, Louisiana

We loved our stay at Purgatory, but it could have been better! The resort is super nice and just beautiful in the San Juan Mountains! Great location from Durango! Accommodations for the most part are superior, except the following. My husband, 22 yr old daughter and her BFF were with us. After 5pm there is nothing to do at the resort. All the shops and eateries are closed except Purgys. My suggestion would be to keep some of these outlets open when your guests are not skiing. The resort would make more revenue if there were nighttime options and something to do at the resort after the slopes close. Another suggestion, staff is helpful but I never felt completely welcomed by any of them nor any executives. And we spent a lot of money to come to this resort- skiing and all that it includes is not cheap. I would work on customer service and have the executive team out and about greeting guests. It would have been nice if at least one employee would have asked if we were having a good time, engage us or thank you for choosing Purgatory. These type of follow ups go along way to visitors, especially a family from Louisiana where we are used to Southern hospitality. You’ve got great bones Purgatory, but you need some assistance with customer relations! Hope this helps!

10. Durango Snowbike Experience

1 Skier Pl, Durango Mountain Resort, Durango, CO 81301-9627 +1 970-385-2149
Excellent
98%
Good
1%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 86 reviews

Durango Snowbike Experience

Reviewed By bstreep - USA

We haven't skied in years, ever since we found snow bikes. Mike handled everything for us, and gave lessons to friends snow biking for the first time. We were intermediate skiers, at best, as we only make one trip a year. In a few hours you will be on trails you wouldn't have taken on skies or a snowboard. We don't do trees or hard blues or blacks on skies. We can and do on snow bikes. Mike can take someone who has never skied befor and have them going successfully down the mountain in an hour or so. The best part about snow bikes? You can spend ALL day on the mountain and not be worn out. It's way, WAY easier on knees and hips too. Don't forget to wear a helmet. These things are FAST.

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