Surrounded by both the San Juan Mountains and the sandstone cliffs of the Anima River Valley, Durango is one of Colorado’s best-kept secrets. Here, opportunities for outdoor adventure are seemingly endless. See below for some ideas on how to make the most out of 24 hours in Durango.
Durango is the perfect basecamp for exploring nearby Mesa Verde National Park; day trip options are in abundance and save you the stress of hiring a car. Tours typically leave in the early morning and cover the Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings and Cliff Palace, the largest cliff dwelling in the park, which you can only visit as part of a tour.
Alternatively, spend the morning learning about Durango’s wild western past at the Animas Museum or learn about the region’s colorful railroad history at the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum.
Opportunities for outdoor recreation in Durango are limitless. The Animas River runs right through town and is a popular spot for white-water rafting, kayaking, and fishing. Choose between family-friendly rafting trips and white-water kayak tours that include a chance to paddle through Durango’s downtown white-water park. For maximum thrills, choose a rafting trip that also includes a ziplining adventure; take a fly fishing lesson; spend the afternoon mountain biking or hiking in the trails around town; or take a ride on the narrow gauge train to the historic mining town of Silverton and back.
There are many ways to spend your evening in Durango. To see more mountain scenery and catch the sunset, opt for a twilight Jeep tour. Smelter Mountain and the Durango Rim Trail are also popular places to watch the sunset. Kids will enjoy spending the evening at the Bar D Chuckwagon Suppers, a western-style stage show accompanied by a barbecue dinner. You can also enjoy free live music in Buckley Park during the summer months or head out on a self-guided tour of Durango’s award-winning microbreweries.