In most Colorado towns, the Wild West vibes are long-gone—but not in Durango. Durango’s downtown is a destination in and of itself, but the incredible outdoor scenery surrounding the city has given the southern Colorado hotspot life well beyond its mining heyday.
But you came for the food, and that won’t disappoint, either. Though less than 20,000 strong, Durango’s food scene knows how to cut a good steak. Here’s what to do with three days to explore, adventure, and taste your way through this tiny cowboy town.
Durango is high-altitude and sunny, so pack layers and sunscreen.
If you only have time for one thing, make it exploring Main Avenue.
Spend today exploring what makes Durango the “Hollywood of the Rockies.” Start with a mosey through downtown, stopping at spots like the Strater Hotel, built in 1887, and the Railroad Museum. Grab lunch at the Ore House, a fabulous Old West-style steakhouse that also plays to the city’s mining past.
After lunch, take a free ride on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, admiring the ruggedly beautiful San Juan National Forest from a coal-fired, steam-powered locomotive. Otherwise, drive up to Silverton yourself and then hop on the Million Dollar Highway to Ouray for priceless views. Nab dinner at Ouray’s Brickhouse 737 or head back to Durango for a sushi feast at the brick-walled Eolus Bar & Dining.
Just 45 minutes away from Durango lies Mesa Verde National Park, the first national park to protect a human creation. Explore this ancient world with a tour, then enjoy Southwestern fare in the dining room of the park’s Far View Lodge.
If you’re up for another outdoor adventure, the Animas River is a popular rafting and stand-up paddleboarding spot for all ages and experience levels. Spend the rest of the evening sampling Colorado’s famous craft-beer scene with a pint at Derailed Pour House or Steamworks Brewing Company.
Take in the funky charm of Oscar’s Café for breakfast. The delicious food here is worth the wait, and you’ll want a hearty meal to fuel your last day of adventure—starting with ziplining. Options abound in and around town, and some outfitters will even hook you up with lunch in the trees. When’s the last time you dined like Tarzan?
Hop on an afternoon Jeep tour to explore La Plata Canyon, getting wild views without breaking a sweat. When you’re back in town, toast to your long weekend at El Moro Spirits & Tavern, a hip yet old-school saloon with refined cocktails and eclectic American fare—and the site of “Durango’s Strangest Shootout.”