When it comes to the Outdoor Adventure Quest, Durango, Colorado has it all! With so many great challenges available to complete, here’s a breakdown of your can’t miss Quest tasks to accomplish in beautiful Durango.
Explore Durango’s world class cycling with trails of every type and skill level. The Horse Gulch trail system is a mountain biker’s dream, featuring easy meadow loops and more advanced climbs. For road bikers, test your skill by taking on the 48 mile trek from Durango to the nearby mining town of Silverton. In the spring, this is the route of the famed Iron Horse Bicycle Classic, where cyclists race to beat the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.
Immerse yourself in the beauty of the area by hiking your way through it. For an easy, nearby trail, hike part of the Colorado Trail (the whole of which spans nearly 500 miles from Denver to Durango), or venture a little farther and hike the Vallecito Creek Trail. Located approximately 20 miles from Durango, this moderate trail follows Vallecito Creek through aspen groves, gradually becoming steeper and more difficult. And don’t miss Engineer Mountain, a moderate to difficult hike that takes you through ample wildflowers to a beautiful alpine meadow with unbelieveable views. If you’re up for it, from there you can scramble the rest of the way up to the summit of this nearly 13,000’ mountain. For some easy hikes with the best views of Durango, be sure to check out these five hikes.
One of the best places to stay in Durango is in your own tent, so make camping a priority! Backpack through the Weminuche Wilderness, the largest wilderness area in Colorado, and truly get off the grid. For easy access to this area, have the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad drop you off, and backpack to Chicago Basin, a great basecamp for easy access to three of Colorado’s 58 Fourteeners. If backpacking isn’t your style, the San Juan National Forest offers an abundance of car-accessible campgrounds and dispersed camping, some just a short drive from downtown Durango.
Grab your paddle and hit the water. Raft, kayak, or tube the Animas River, which flows right through town, and be sure to check out the Whitewater Park at Santa Rita Park. Completed in 2014, this new whitewater park features natural and manmade rapids & features, and on any given day you’ll find kayakers, paddle boarders, and even the occasional body surfer playing in the waves. For a calmer adventure, boat or paddle board on Vallecito Lake or Lemon Reservoir.
Rejuvenate at Trimble Hot Springs. After your Quests, take some time to soothe your muscles and detox your body in Durango’s only natural hot springs. The water at Trimble Hot Springs is naturally heated and rich in minerals, making it a therapeutic experience your body will deserve!
Adventure off road and up high! Your adrenaline will be pumping on Durango & the surrounding area’s 4×4 trails. Discover the abandoned mines and ghost towns of La Plata Canyon while offroading through beautiful wildflowers and (if your timing is right!) groves of wild raspberries. Just remember to follow these tips to tread lightly while offroading.
Take in Durango’s picturesque mountain landscape from atop a saddle. Horseback riding is the perfect Colorado adventure. Visit guides like the Rapp Corral or Over the Hill Outfitters for guided trips into the rugged San Juan Mountains or Weminuche Wilderness for everything from one hour to full day rides.
For your own bird’s eye view of Durango, take to the rocks. The Falls Creek/Turtle Lake area is a popular bouldering area located minutes from town with varying degrees of difficulty (be sure to check out the Turtle Lake Refuge as you drive by, one of Durango’s wellknown, local community farms). For more of a crag climbing adventure, check out XRock, an easy and quick climb located just north of town.
HIT THE SLOPES…WITHOUT THE SNOW!
Visit Durango’s neighborhood mountain, Purgatory, for summer adventure without the snow. Take the Purgatory Plunge, and zipline your way down the length of a football field at speeds of up to 35 miles per hour. Or take Lift 4 to discover miles of singletrack trails and Durango’s only liftserved downhill flow trail.
At the end of a long day of Questing, replenish yourself with an icy cold, local Durango brew. Homegrown favorite Ska Brewing has been brewing award winning craft beer since 1995, and their industrial, wind powered brewery is the site of weekly live music, BBQs (or as they call them, “SkaBQs”), and even “happy hour” yoga. But with six breweries to choose from in Durango, and as the self proclaimed “Napa Valley of Beer,” if happy hour yoga isn’t your thing, you’re sure to find the brewery that is.