Best Things to Do in Durango, CO, During the Summer

Things to Do in Durango During the Summer

Scenic hikes, Animas River adventures, and Purgatory Resort mountain biking trails are just a few of Durango's countless summer activities. Durango, Colorado is famous for its ski resorts and winter attractions, but you can find a good time here all year long. Learn about the top 10 things to do in Durango in the summer, then venture out and make your own memories!

Whitewater Raft on the Animas River

The free-flowing waters of the Animas River can add a thrilling aquatic adventure to your summer itinerary in Durango. Known for its varying levels of rapids from Class II to Class V+, the Animas is suitable for beginners and experienced rafters alike. Numerous outfitters in Durango provide guided rafting trips, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience.

Towering cliffs and lush forests will envelop you as you navigate the thrilling twists and turns. The calm waters of the Animas River provide a refreshing escape from Colorado's summer heat, making rafting in Durango a popular activity up through late August or early September

Whether you're looking for a relatively relaxing float or an adrenaline-pumping ride, the Animas River has it all. Experienced guides will lead you through the best routes, pointing out interesting landmarks and providing historical insights. After a day of rafting, you can relax on the riverbank, enjoy a picnic, or explore other nearby attractions.

Ride the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

Enjoy a Summer Train Ride on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Guage Railroad

The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad offers a historic journey through the breathtaking landscapes of southwestern Colorado. This iconic steam-powered train takes passengers on a memorable trip through the San Juan National Forest, following the Animas River on tracks that date back to the 1880s. The railroad's vintage coaches provide a nostalgic experience as travelers soak in panoramic views of towering peaks, lush meadows, and cascading waterfalls.

The 45-mile train ride lasts about 3.5 hours each way, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in Durango's rich mining and railroad history. Passengers can choose between different classes of service, from standard to deluxe, ensuring a comfortable trip. Along the route, the train makes a two-hour stop at the historic town of Silverton, where visitors can explore its charming streets, grab a bite to eat, or shop for unique souvenirs.

The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is not just a mode of transportation—it's an experience that transports you back in time. Whether you're a history buff, a nature lover, or simply seeking a memorable adventure, a ride on this cherished railway is a must-do when visiting Durango in the summer.

Catch Rodeo Events at True Western Roundup

The True Western Roundup in Durango offers a captivating blend of history and entertainment at the La Plata County Fairgrounds near Downtown Durango. This rodeo, which takes place on Wednesday nights throughout the summer, blends traditional Western culture with contemporary sporting prowess, offering an exhilarating experience.

At the True Western Roundup, attendees can enjoy a full lineup of events, including open bull riding, saddle broncs, ranch broncs, bareback, novice bull riding, breakaway, barrel racing, and team roping, all celebrating the enduring spirit of the west.

Rodeo's roots run deep in Durango. It originated from the cattle herding traditions in Spain and Mexico and evolved into a competitive sport in the region. The Roundup is a test of skill and courage, attracting participants from southwest Colorado and beyond.

Tour Durango on Horseback

After watching the True Western Roundup you may want to embark on your own horseback adventures. If you're not quite ready to prepare your property for horses, Durango offers a variety of horseback riding options suitable for all levels of riders, from beginners to experienced equestrians.

One popular choice is guided horseback tours that take visitors through the stunning San Juan National Forest. Riders can meander along scenic trails, traverse lush meadows, and cross crystal-clear streams. These tours are not only a great way to explore but also provide an opportunity to learn about Durango's local flora, fauna, and history from knowledgeable guides.

For those looking for a more immersive experience, overnight horseback riding trips are available, allowing guests to spend a night under the stars in the wilderness. Imagine sitting around a campfire after a day of riding, sharing stories with fellow adventurers, and falling asleep to the sounds of nature.

Hike Through San Juan National Forest

Take a Summer Hike in the San Juan National Forest

One popular summer activity in Durango is exploring the San Juan National Forest trails. With around 1.8 million acres of land, this massive forest offers a range of hiking options for all skill levels. Visitors can immerse themselves in the beauty of nature while enjoying the fresh mountain air and stunning views.

Popular hiking trails like the Ice Lake Trail and the Chicago Basin Trail offer hikers the chance to witness breathtaking alpine scenery, crystal-clear lakes, and vibrant wildflowers. For those who prefer a mountain bike excursion, the Engineer Mountain Trail provides a scenic route through forests and meadows, culminating in a panoramic vista.

In addition to its remarkable natural beauty, hiking in San Juan National Forest provides wildlife viewing and birdwatching opportunities. Visitors may encounter a variety of big-game species, including elk, moose, mountain lions, and black bears.

Mountain Bike on Renowned Trails

Amid Durango's rugged landscapes, avid outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy exhilarating mountain biking adventures with 300 miles of trails to explore. The region's extensive trail system provides opportunities to explore the stunning San Juan Mountains and experience the thrill of downhill descents, challenging climbs, and adrenaline-pumping singletracks.

Home to some of Colorado's best mountain biking trails, Durango is renowned for its diverse terrain, including flowing loops, technical descents, and epic alpine rides. Popular spots like Telegraph Trail and Horse Gulch offer a mix of fast-paced sections and technical features, perfect for riders looking to test their skills. For those seeking a more leisurely ride, the Animas River Trail provides a scenic route along the river, ideal for casual cyclists.

During the summer, Durango hosts various mountain biking events and races that attract riders nationwide. From cross-country races to downhill competitions, there are plenty of opportunities to watch or participate in thrilling biking events.

Go Fishing in Gold Medal Waters

With the Animas River flowing through Durango and numerous lakes, streams, and reservoirs nearby, anglers have ample options for a memorable fishing excursion.

The Animas River, known for its Gold Medal waters, offers fantastic opportunities for catching rainbow and brown trout. Fly fishing along the riverbanks is a popular choice, as the clear waters teem with eager fish. In addition to the Animas River, Vallecito Lake, Lemon Reservoir, and Haviland Lake provide diverse settings for fishing. Whether casting a line from the shore or a boat, anglers can reel in trout, bass, and more.

For those seeking a more secluded experience, the high alpine lakes in the San Juan Mountains offer a tranquil setting for fishing surrounded by breathtaking scenery. These remote lakes are ideal for those looking to escape the crowds and try their luck at catching native trout species.

Paddle on Local Lakes

Paddle on a Durango Lake During the Summer

With tranquil waters reflecting the breathtaking scenery of the San Juan Mountains, the lakes near Durango offer an unforgettable setting for kayaking, canoeing, or paddleboarding.

One popular spot for paddling is Electra Lake, about a 30-minute drive from Durango. Pine forests surround this picturesque lake and offer a peaceful escape for paddlers looking to immerse themselves in nature. Electra Lake's clear blue waters are ideal for leisurely paddling or picnicking by the shore.

For those seeking more paddleboarding near Durango, Vallecito Lake is a great choice. This expansive reservoir provides ample opportunities for exploration, with its many coves and inlets waiting to be discovered. Paddlers can marvel at the diverse wildlife that calls Vallecito Lake home while enjoying the tranquility of the water.

Visitors can also paddle on Lemon Reservoir, a hidden gem in the mountains near Durango, and Lake Nighthorse, a convenient spot for stand-up paddleboarding just 15 minutes from downtown. Whether you're a novice paddler or a pro, Durango's local lakes provide a refreshing way to connect with nature.

Visit Mesa Verde National Park

About 40 minutes from Durango, Mesa Verde National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its well-preserved cliff dwellings. This historical treasure offers a glimpse into the lives of the Ancestral Puebloans who inhabited the area for over 700 years.

Mesa Verde visitors can embark on guided tours to explore the various cliff dwellings, such as Cliff Palace, Balcony House, and Long House. These tours provide fascinating insights into the daily lives and customs of the ancient Puebloans. As a bonus, the park is excellent for hiking, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the region's stunning natural beauty while discovering more archaeological sites.

The Visitor and Research Center provides informative exhibits and resources, and guests can also attend ranger-led programs to learn more about one of the most beloved Colorado National Parks.

Experience Peak Summer Fun at Purgatory Resort

The Purgatory Resort area offers many exciting activities for visitors to enjoy in Durango. Nestled in the San Juan Mountains, this all-season resort provides many outdoor adventures and is only a 30-minute drive from Durango.

Over 40 miles of mountain biking trails that wind through stunning landscapes provide things to do in Purgatory all year long. Thrill-seekers can also test their skills at the Purgatory Plunge Zipline or Alpine Slide, offering an adrenaline-pumping experience with breathtaking views. At the same time, the resort's scenic chairlift rides provide a relaxing way to soak in the mountain vistas.

Water lovers can cool off while stand-up paddleboarding or canoeing on the serene waters of Lake Purgatory, while fishing enthusiasts can cast a line in the well-stocked lake, hoping to reel in a trout or two.

With a beautiful array of activities set against breathtaking scenery, Purgatory Resort is a must-visit destination for those looking to experience the best of Durango's summer offerings.

Adventures Await in Durango

Fun-filled summer days are just one of the many amazing benefits of owning real estate in Durango. Whether you prefer hiking in the San Juan National Forest, rafting on the Animas River, exploring historical sites like Mesa Verde, or relaxing by the lake, there's so much to experience here.

If Durango sounds like the perfect place for you, contact Colorado Property Group of RE/MAX with Durango Homes for Sale at (970) 946-0601 to get in touch with a Durango real estate agent and get ready to call this beautiful mountain town home.

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