Ah, Spring Break. It used to be all about bikinis, booze and bad decisions in Cancun or Cabo. Amiright? These days, assuming you’re an adult, you don’t get Spring Break — but that doesn’t mean you can’t take one. And, if you’re a parent, your children get Spring Break, and that means it’s a good excuse to take a family vacation and see some new sights. With or without kids, Spring Break is a great time to explore cool places — like Durango. Here’s our list of the best things to do in Durango for Spring Break:
Skiing and Snowboarding
Ski season is wrapping up and winding down, but there’s still plenty of powder in them thar hills. Hit up Durango Mountain Resort (aka Purgatory) in Durango or Wolf Creek Ski Area in Pagosa Springs. (Hesperus Ski Area west of Durango has closed for the season.) Wether you and your kids are seasoned snow bunnies or brand-new beginners, Spring Break is a great time to get on the slopes.
Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde is an amazing place to visit, but its most recognizable dwelling — Cliff Palace, the largest cliff dwelling in North America — is undergoing extensive preservation work that will keep it closed to the public until May 22 as preservationists work to repair cracks and stabilize the dwellings. That makes visiting Mesa Verde this spring a bit tricky, but the National Park Service is scheduling additional ranger-guided tours of Balcony House when possible to provide extra options for travelers. Mesa Verde is where the Ancestral Pueblo people lived for more than 700 years, from roughly 600 AD to 1300 AD.
This little mountain town is a quite a treat. Downtown Silverton is lined with gingerbread-looking Victorian buildings, sort of like the Wild West version of San Francisco’s “Painted Ladies.” Check out the cafes, restaurants and gift shops, but you’ll have to save the tours of the Old Hundred Gold Mine, the Mayflower Mill and the Mining Heritage Center until the summer. You can get to Silverton from Durango on U.S. Highway 550 — about an hour’s drive north — or take the…
Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
During the summer months, the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad train runs through the Animas Valley, the Animas Canyon and the San Juan Mountain all the way up to Silverton, but until the summer arrives (remember, it’s only Spring Break), passengers can enjoy the winter trip from the downtown Durango depot up to Cascade Canyon, where the Durango train turns around at the Cascade Canyon wye. The historic steam-powered locomotive chugs along pulling restored passenger cars that give riders a real taste of the Wild West.
There are a ton of other things to do in Durango over Spring Break. Check out Durango’s craft breweries, museums and art galleries, hit up the hot springs in Pagosa Springs (or Trimble Spa and Hot Springs in Durango) or the Southern Ute Indian Reservation in Ignacio.