Lying between desert beauty and the splendor of the Rocky Mountains, Durango has long been a highly sought travel destination. The variety of experiences this Colorado town has to offer could captivate anyone.Mountains and Rivers
The San Juan and La Plata mountains are both within easy distance for day trips. Outfits offer 4x4 tours and rentals and the amount of hiking trails are abundant. Speaking of trails, Durango has over 2,000 miles
of mountain bike trails. Host to the first UCI World Mountain Bike Championship in 1990, Durango’s cycling culture runs deep.
If your idea of fun involves water, Durango has you covered. The Animas River cuts its way out of the San Juans before winding through town. Whether you’re looking for a whitewater rafting trip or sunbathing at the lake, there are many options. In addition, a stretch of the Animas south of town has been a recipient of the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Gold Medal fishing classification since 1996.History
The southwest is home to stunning archeological areas. Mesa Verde
, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
, is a short drive from downtown Durango. There are a number of other amazing archeological sites in the area, such as Chimney Rock National Monument.
If you’re looking for a modern historical experience, imagine the early 20th century aboard the Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge
railroad or while enjoying music and refreshments inside the Strater Hotel
, a charter member of the exclusive Historic Hotels of America.Festivals and more
If you’re after contemporary culture, Durango hosts events
celebrating food, music, outdoor sports and more. Held in and around town including at the year-round destination of Purgatory Resort
, these events have live bands, food vendors, local artisans, children’s areas and more. Look for May’s Iron Horse Bicycle Classic
, the Animas River Days
at the beginning of June, and Music in the Mountains
throughout July, among many others.
In addition to larger celebrations, Durango also offers daily enjoyment. There are a number of exciting restaurants and shops, music venues, breweries like the nationally distributed Ska Brewing
, and much more, making any day an event.
Ouray is affectionately known as the “Switzerland of America” and once you drive into town you’ll instantly know why. Tucked into a heavenly corner or the San Juan mountains, Ouray has a mountain charm that’s hard to rival.Waterfalls and Peaks
Nestled into the mountains, there are a number of nearby adventures to be had. The Perimeter Trail
follows the outline of town and offers multiple waterfalls and vistas as well as numerous access points so the hike can be done in smaller sections.
Both Box Cañon Falls Park
and Cascade Falls Park
are nearby options that still immerse you in the beauty of the area. Cascade Falls has a quarter mile trail that allows access to the falls and Box Cañon has multiple trails of varying difficulty. If you desire more advanced trails, try Yankee Boy Basin for incomparable hiking among wildflowers and majestic peaks.
For motorized recreation, try the Alpine Loop
for 4x4 at its finest and stop at the historic ghost town of Animas Forks along the way. If you’re not four wheel drive inclined the San Juan Skyway
is another scenic option and the Million Dollar Highway section between Ouray and Silverton is not to be missed.
Ouray’s outdoors also features rock climbing, mining tours, mountain biking, a via ferrata and much more.Hot Springs
First discovered by the Native American Ute tribe that settled in this area, the mineral waters provide rest and relaxation after a day in the mountains or a night on the town. There are multiple facilities offering everything from a lively municipal experience at the Ouray Hot Springs
Pool to a more secluded setting at the historic Wiesbaden Hot Springs Spa
Ouray offers a robust selection of dining and entertainment for a small town. Overnight accommodations abound, such as the historic Beaumont Hotel
, along with many others including a variety of bed and breakfasts. All along Main Street there are restaurants, breweries and regionally renowned Mouse’s Chocolates and Coffee
. For local entertainment, the historic Wright Opera House
should be on your list. Built in 1888, it showcases live music, film, art shows and more. The Wright is also the primary venue of the Ouray International Film Festival
, which will return at the end of June.
When it comes to Colorado vacation destinations, perhaps only Aspen is as well known as Vail. Appearing on the map in the 1960’s, Vail has grown into international renown.Arts and Entertainment
One thing that Vail does so well are large events. Throughout the summer of 2022 Vail will host its famous lineup
of festivals, concert series, athletic competitions and more. This ranges from the excitement of the GoPro Mountain Games
to the serenity of the summer-long Bravo!Vail
music festival. This year the Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic will be performing, along with many others. For music lovers there’s also the Vail Jazz Festival
, which will begin June 30th and run until September 5th. The Vail Arts Festival
will be celebrating its 37th year this June, showcasing artistic works that span the spectrum of mediums from ceramics and canvas to photography and jewelry.Food and Drink
The list of Vail dining options
is long and encompasses everything from Japanese fusion
to traditional European
and back again to contemporary American, so there’s truly something for everyone.
This June the Vail Craft Beer Classic
will be returning and the Vail Farmers Market
will resume its regular Sunday appearance. The Farmers Market also hosts a farm-to-table dinner event on select dates
.The Great Outdoors
With the amount of waterways and mountains surrounding Vail, there are numerous activities
to enjoy. The trails support everything from hiking and biking to horseback riding and the rivers and streams serve up rafting, fishing, stand up paddle boarding and more. The gondola runs up Vail Mountain daily beginning June 17th and presents riders with stunning views. A stand alone adventure in itself, the gondola can also facilitate exploring the many trails the mountain has to offer. Other activities include the EagleVail golf
course and the Betty Ford Botanical Gardens
, the highest botanical garden in the world at an altitude of 8,200 feet.
With so much diversity and activity stashed away in these Colorado gems you’re sure to find something for yourself, the entire family, or for a romantic getaway. Vacation Rental Collective
is always on-hand to help you find the ideal rentals so you can enjoy your exploration of the Columbine state.