10 things to love about a durango summer
Durango in the summertime is paradise and in spite of Verde’s growth to new locations like Boulder and Jackson, it will always be our symbolic home. And while it might take more than one summer to check off everything on this list, that just means you’ll have to spend another season in paradise. Oh, darn.
Here is a list of our 10 favorite things to do in Durango in summer.
To say “it is pretty good here,” is an understatement; if you’re into cycling Durango is your Mecca. Mountain, road, or cruiser – Durango has plenty to offer and thousands of bike-minded friends to make.
Point your handlebars at any hill heading out of town and you’ll find a world class trail with rollers, berms, and other challenging terrain.
Must hit spots: Horse Gulch, Test Tracks, Twin Buttes, and Coalbank Pass. Check out maps and information at trails2000.org.
Spandex-up and get ready for challenging and scenic rides. Take a ride up the Million Dollar highway to Silverton. The 50-mile trek is one of the most epic road rides Colorado have to offer.
Must hit spots: 50 to Silverton, Baker’s Bridge loop, The Short Valley, and Elmore’s Loop.
Must Attend Events: Iron Horse Classic.
A cruiser bike is the way to get around in summer. Hop on the Animas River Trail and be anywhere in Durango within 20 enjoyable minutes. Want to mix up your riding? Join the Durango Bike Polo League.
Must hit spots: River trail to Ska Brewing in Bodo-Park.
Must Attend Events: Purango Dolo.
2/ Town Run on the Animas River
=Grab your tubes, kayaks, rafts, duckies, SUP boards, air mattresses, a cold beverage and meet me at 32nd street! The Animas River carries runoff from the towering San Juans through the heart of Durango making for a perfect hour-long river town run. Chill in the lazy river, or make your way down to Smelter and Corner Pocket Rapid to check out kayak surfing.
Must hit spots: The Beach, Corner Pocket Rapid, and The Lazy River.
Must Attend Events: Animas River Day
3/ Rock Climbing
From novice to pro, Durango has climbing for everyone. Visit Silverton for big multi-pitch climbs or take a quick bike ride up Junction Creek for epic bouldering. On rainy days the Rock Lounge offers challenging indoor lead, sport, and crack climbing with a bouldering wall and cave.
Must hit spots: Turtle Lake, X Rock, Fume Wall, Golf Wall, and The Rock Lounge.
Must Attend Events: Train With Marcus Garcia
4/ The ABC’s
Jump the ABC’s for a thrilling experience. ABC’s stands for Adrenaline Falls, Bakers Bridge, and Cascade Creek. The ABC’s offer a circuit of perfect cliff jumping ranging from 10 to 50 feet in height.
A. Located at the bottom of Molas Pass, Adrenaline Falls offers a 50-foot leap into a river hole created by a waterfall.
B. The legendary Bakers Bridge was featured in the classic western film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and today sees high traffic for cliff jumpers. Catch Bakers on the right day and you’ll be treated to rope swings, 40-feet-tall suspended slacklines and a handful of young people hucking double backflips.
C. Located at the bottom of Coalbank Pass, Cascade Creek offers a slot cannon experience that is second to none. The views are beautiful as you jump multiple 10 to 15-feet through the slot. Note: Once you’re in the cannon there’s no turning back and rescues are almost impossible.
Home to five Craft breweries, Durango has no shortage of good beer. Each brewery offers great summer beers complemented by events all summer long. Local favorites include Ska Brewing’s Mexican Lager, Carver’s Brewing Jack Rabbit Pale Ale, and Durango Brewing Company’s Blueberry Wheat. Take a day, grab a cruiser bike and visit them all.
Must Hit Spots: Durango Brewing Company, Steamworks Brewing, and Ska Brewing.
Must Attend Events: San Juan Brewfest, Ska-b-q, and Steamworks Pint Night.
Durango offers so many great restaurants that you’ll have a hard time deciding where to eat. New this summer is North Homeslice and South Zia Taqueria – local favorites adding new locations.
Must Hit Spots: Zia Taquria, Homeslice Pizza, The Balcony, and Steamworks.
Must Attend Events: The Palace Burger Night, and Gazpacho’s Taco Night.
7/ Day Hiking + Trail Running
The many miles of bike trails surrounding Durango are also open to hikers and runners. If staying in town is your flavor then head to Test Tracks and find your way to the top of Perins Peak for breathtaking views of the Animas Valley and the La Plata Mountains. If high alpine is more your speed drive to the top of Coalbank Pass and hike Engineer Mountain for a 360-degree view of the San Juans.
Must Hit Spots: La Plata Canyon, Junction Creek, and Ice Lakes Basin.
Must Attend Events: Imogene Pass Run, Kennebec Mountain Challenge, and Kendall Mountain Run.
8/ Backpacking + Camping
Durango boasts home to the famed Colorado Trail, setting you up for world-class backpacking. Find yourself hiking in high desert to high alpine conditions in a matter of hours. From overnighters in the Weminuche Wilderness to multi-day adventures on Molas Pass ,the backpacking here is outstanding.
Must Hit Spots: Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado Trail, Silverton to Vallecito, and Chicago Basin.
9/ 4-Wheeling + Dirt Biking
Backcountry Passes built for miners generations ago now offer thrilling 4-wheeling and dirt biking. I recommend never taking a paved highway anywhere in San Juans during the summer because you’ll miss out on miles of scenery and mining history.
Must Hit Spots: Old Lime Creek Road, Barlow Creek Road, and Ophir Pass.
10/ Our Good Neighborhood Telluride
Telluride is like Durango’s older brother that has a well paying job, great music taste, and throws the best parties. Telluride has a festival every weekend of the summer, so it’s mandatory you attend at least one. Catch the local favorite, Telluride Blues & Brews in September to drink free beer, listen to music, and watch the aspens change color. In addition to killer music, Telluride also offers outstanding lift-access mountain biking and stellar hiking.