Remember that movie, Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead? No? Well, too bad; we’re using that as our segue anyway. This is our version of “Things to Do in Durango Before You’re Dead,” also known as “Things to Do in Durango When You’re on Vacation.” Memorial Day is over, school’s out, and summer is on. That means you’re probably trying to figure out what to do in Durango during for your family vacation or for your summer trip. Well, look no further because we have a few ideas.
The Animas River is a central player in Durango. Heck, it runs the length of the city with Main Avenue paralleling it. For leisure-seekers, throw on the bathing suit, the water shoes, the cowboy hat and grab a tube to float down the river. There is a river put-in at the Durango Recreation Center (which happens to be one block from our hotel), and tubers can float down to the take-out at Ninth Street. If you want to do it all again, hop on the city’s free trolley to ride back north on Main Street for another float down the River.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: White. Water. Rafting. There are gajillion rafting companies in Durango just waiting to take you, your family and your friends for a adrenaline-pumping whitewater rafting trip down the Animas River. Raft trips are available for all ages and abilities, so give one of the dozens of rafting companies a call to make your reservations. (Don’t forget kayaking on the Animas is also an option!)
Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde is just one of those things you have to see when you’re here — or one of those things that you just have to see, period, so that’s why you come here.
Mesa Verde is a truly haunting place that allows you to walk in the footsteps of people who lived hundreds of years before us. The park is home to at least 5,000 archeological sites of the Ancestral Pueblo people who lived there between about 600 A.D. and 1300 A.D. The park preserves and protects about 600 cliff dwellings, and guided tours are available of Cliff Palace, Balcony House, Spruce Tree House and Long House. Visitors can also take self-guided tours of Spruce Tree House and Step House.
Like the Grand Canyon or Mount Rushmore, Mesa Verde is an incredible experience that should be on your bucket list of must-visit places.
The Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is one of the city’s (and the region’s) main attractions. The historic Durango train still chugs between the depot in downtown Durango, through the lush Animas Valley and rocky canyons of the San Juan National Forest, to the tiny mountain town of Silverton. A genuine coal-fired, steam-powered engine pulls vintage passenger cars behind it as it huffs and puffs up steep mountains and hugs cliffs’ edges. In addition to its traditional trips, the Durango railroad offers several themed rides, such as the blues train, wine-tasting trips and kid-themed train rides.
Those are just three of many must-see, must-do activities in Durango during your summer trip or family vacation. Stay tuned and we’ll come up with more! While you’re making plans to raft down the Animas River, walk through Mesa Verde cliff dwellings and ride the Durango train, you should plan to stay with us at the Durango Quality Inn! Just an idea.