Ah, Memorial Day weekend. Memorial Day marks the unofficial start to the summer season: the season of family vacations, road trips and couples’ getaways. In Durango, Memorial Day weekend is hoppin’ with happenings, including trips on the Durango train, whitewater rafting, bicycle races and festivals and the start of summer fun on the ski slopes.
Iron Horse Bicycle Classic
You don’t have to be an avid cyclist to enjoy the Durango Iron Horse Bicycle Classic, which takes over the mountain town every Memorial Day weekend. Now in its 43rd year, about 3,500 people attend the three-day event. The weekend events kick off Friday, May 26, and feature beer gardens, food vendors, a bike festival and live music and there’s even a Durango Cyclery Cruiser Crit — a cruiser parade with cyclists wearing crazy costumes — at 5 p.m. Sunday, May 28, at Ninth and Main in downtown Durango. Riders must wear a helmet and should definitely wear a crazy costume during the parade.
Serious cyclists have plenty of options to choose from, including the signature ride started in 1972 when a group of 36 riders decided to celebrate the train’s first spring run by racing it to Silverton. Today, the 47-mile, Durango-to-Silverton road race kicks off the weekend, which includes several other races.
Raft & Rail
Trains, planes, automobiles — and rafts. Or, in this case, all you need are the raft, the automobile and the train to make a memorable day in Durango. The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad offers its Raft & Rail packages from May 13 through Aug. 18, 2017. Guests start the day with Mountain Waters Rafting on a wet-and-wild whitewater rafting trip on the Lower Animas River. After retuning to Mountain Waters’ headquarters, guests hop aboard a shuttle for a scenic ride on the San Juan Skyway to the town of Silverton. Once in Silverton, explore the downtown and grab lunch before hopping on the afternoon return train to Durango.
It’s official: Saturday, May 27, is the official start of summer operations at Purgatory Resort. Hit up the mountain for its first weekend of summer fun over the Memorial Day holiday. Purgatory will host the finish line of the Iron Horse’s Quarter Horse bike race, and festivities include live music in the plaza. During the summer, Purgatory’s slopes and ski lifts welcome mountain bikes, summer tubing, an alpine slide, sightseers and zip liners, just to name a few. Check out the full list of summer activities at Purgatory!