All posts by Caroline Sullivan

Durango Fiesta Days

The Best Wild West Carnival Of The Summer

Every year in July, Durango Fiesta Days are held downtown and on the fairgrounds. This vibrant festival includes a rodeo, parade, and much more. It’s a great event for the whole family and one of the biggest festivals to look forward to in the summer calendar in the beautiful town of Durango.

durango fiesta days

Fiesta Days Events

The festivities include a pancake breakfast, a chuck wagon cook-off, barrel races and street dances. It also includes the annual parade, which is a wonderful showcase of local culture. Many different people participate in the procession as it rolls down Main Avenue, with plenty of music alongside cheering and dancing. If you are interested in attending this year, you can buy your tickets at Kelly’s Cowboy Company, Basin CO-OP, and the Boot Barn in Durango Mall. Tickets are on sale now and you can purchase them in advance or have them waiting for you at the gate.

This exciting summer party has been part of Durango’s culture for many decades – but how did it originate? Let’s take a look at the story behind how Durango Fiesta Days, a festival that dates back many years, officially came about.

How Did Fiesta Days Originate?

Fiesta Days were established in 1935, to celebrate the Cowboy, Spanish, and Native American heritage of the Durango, Colorado area. This community gathering brings together the diverse cultures of the area to look to the past and enjoy Durango’s heritage. When Fiesta Days was first born it was called Spanish Trails Fiesta. At the first festival the “Queen” rode down the main street of Durango wearing a Spanish Mantilla. Native tribes came from all around the four corners and camped for several weeks.

The festival was renamed Navajo Trails Fiesta in 1966 and the name was changed to Durango Fiesta Days in 1986. No matter the name, the festival has always been popular and well attended and it is something that everyone in the town looks forward to each year.

Take Part In The Fun

If you're looking for things to do in Durango this summer, don’t miss the opportunity to take part in Durango Fiesta Days. This festival will bring the entire town together as well as welcoming visitors from all over. Come and join in with this Old West Festival in Durango, where the cowboy heritage of the area thrives every summer.

4th Of July Events In Durango

Enjoy a full day of fun on the 4th of July in Durango, Colorado! There are several events throughout the day to choose from or you can fill up your whole day with a fourth of July celebration. The family-friendly activities and the entertaining atmosphere is something you don’t want to miss! Come out and enjoy these events on Wednesday, July 4, 2019.

4th of July in Durango River Parade

Join Mild to Wild for the 4th of July River Parade that flows through the heart of Durango on the Lower Animas River. Be sure to dress up in 4th of July attire! Best costume wins a prize. Seats are limited. Kids get a 4th of July souvenir! 5 trip times are available.

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Buckley Park Events

Buckley Park is a great destination for a family-friendly day of fun to celebrate July 4th. Visit the park for an Independence Day Party presented by Building Homes for Heroes from 12:00 pm to 4:30 pm. The event will feature barbecue, beer, kids activities and live entertainment by the Devin Scott Ukulele Band and Pete Giuliani.

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Rotary Park Events

There will be an American Gourmet Breakfast presented by Rotary Club of Durango from 7:30 – 11:30 am with pancakes, eggs, OJ, coffee and more. Breakfast is free for children under 4, $5-10 for children and adults. Other events in Rotary Park include the Freedom 5K and a free Southwest Civic Winds concert with American Voices: What It Means To Be An American presented by FLC in between sets.

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Downtown Durango Events

It wouldn’t be July 4th without a parade down Main Ave. Grab your friends and family and stop by downtown Durango for the Stars & Stripes Parade from 6:00 pm to 6:45 pm. Immediately after the parade will be the street dance, presented by KSUT & the City of Durango, through 9:30 pm. The event will include a beer garden, live entertainment from the Hi-Rollers, and more.

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The Rochester Hotel’s Secret Garden Concert Series

Supporting Non-Profit Organizations Around The Community

Live music, food vendors and drinks, all while surrounded by the divine scenery of Rochester's Secret Garden. Every year the Rochester Hotel hosts its Secret Garden Concert series to raise money for nonprofit organizations in the Durango area. This year's series at The Rochester Hotel kicks off June 26.

Summer Concert Series

The concert series benefits the nonprofit community and promotes Durango’s talented music scene by featuring a different nonprofit and musical talent every Wednesday night. There will be a bar and food vendors at each event. We encourage you to attend as many concerts as you can since all proceeds are split between participating nonprofits at the end of the summer. Come out & support your community organizations in Durango!

See All Concerts
rochester hotel

The Secret Garden at The Rochester Hotel

Tucked away behind The Rochester, the Secret Garden typically offers a quiet space in the middle of Durango to relax and refresh. On occasion, the Secret Garden is the site for exciting events and concerts like the Summer Concert Series. It is a picturesque, back-yard style venue perfect for gathering small crowds. Guests are surrounded by beautiful historic bricking, green trees and bright colored flowers while they listen to local musicians and support a good cause.

rochester hotel durango

About The Rochester

Luxurious accommodations in the spirit of the Old West, all conveniently located in downtown Durango. Built in 1892, the historic Rochester Hotel is situated on a beautifully landscaped site featuring a flower-filled courtyard, perfect for enjoying a summer evening with live music. Guests enjoy free onsite parking, a full gourmet breakfast, afternoon cookies, and complimentary cruiser bicycles. Book your stay today!

The Rochester Hotel

2019 Summer Concert Series Schedule

The Rochester Hotel's Secret Garden is the ideal scene to relax if you are a local or just visiting. Maybe even make it into a trip or a long weekend vacation and get a suite at The Rochester Hotel while enjoying the concerts! Stay tuned for any updates on the concert series this summer on the Rochester Hotel website, or keep track of their events on Facebook. Check out the lineup for this year's Community Concert Series below.

Durango Farmers Market

Featuring Locally Produced Food & Goods To Provide A Healthier Quality Of Life

The Durango Farmers Market is a vibrant venue for local agriculturalists, ranchers and artisans to share their harvests and talents with the Durango community and visitors. The Farmers Market kicks off the season this year starting May 11.

durango farmers market

Visit Like A Local

Visit like a local with the Durango Farmers Market! You can see some of the best Durango has to offer while picking up lunch supplies for your weekend adventures. Our market has got you covered with the best bread, cheeses, sauces, fresh greens and tomatoes dripping with deliciousness available for your picnic sandwiches in the high country!

durango farmers market

Customers, Vendors & Community

Our market also offers ready to enjoy treats, meals and drinks, fantastic local musicians, and a family friendly atmosphere, allowing customers to enjoy their morning in relaxation. You can also find our farmers’ food at grocery stores and many restaurants in town. Drinking local and eating local to “be local” is a popular sentiment in our fun loving, active mountain town. Despite the challenging climate, we are blessed with fertile soils and a community that has grown to support local food for decades.

It is the mission of the Durango Farmers Market to strengthen community ties to agriculture: by providing a venue for regional agricultural producers to sell their products; by preserving open space; by promoting healthy farming practices; and by providing educational benefits through hands-on experience. The Durango Farmers Market seeks to improve the quality of life for all community members.
durango farmers market

One Of The Best

So come get a taste of Durango – literally! If you are in town on a Saturday morning be sure to stop into the Durango Farmers Market and experience what has been called one of the best farmers markets in the country by many of our out-of-towner patrons who travel to markets around the country. Come to the Info booth to pick up some “Market Bucks” so you have spending cash in case you only have a debit or credit card.

durango farmers market

Start Your Saturday Right

The Durango Farmers Market invites locals and out-of-towners alike every Saturday morning from 8:00 am to noon in the TBK Bank parking lot at 259 W 9th Street. There is plenty of free parking in the Transit Center lot on 8th Street. We hold market every Saturday from mid-May through the end of October. All the details can be found at and on our Facebook page.

Durango Bluegrass Meltdown

Get ready to hear the hills of the San Juan Mountains ringing with the sweet sounds of strings: The Durango Bluegrass Meltdown is just around the corner. Taking place in April each year, the festival breaks up the long winter with incredible bluegrass music, a barn dance and other celebrations for visitors. It is an annual event that you will not want to miss.

Bluegrass Meltdown

The Durango Bluegrass Meltdown is a festival that brings traditional bluegrass music to downtown Durango each spring. This year from April 12-14, the 25th anniversary of the festival will be celebrated. Attendees will enjoy a variety of musical performances at local venues around Durango, and even have a chance to jam in public spaces if they would like.

Event Info

2019 Lineup

In 2019, a great lineup will take over the Durango Bluegrass Meltdown. Enjoy music from Junior Sisk and Friends, The Larry Keel Experience, Songs from the Road Band, John Reischman and the Jaybirds, Richie and Rosie, Jeff Scroggins and Colorado, FY5, Steam Machine, Masontown, and more. A full lineup can be found on the event website.

Event Schedule
durango bluegrass meltdown

Performance Venues

Festivalgoers have the opportunity to experience some of the best venues in downtown Durango. The venues for musical performances in 2019 include the Henry Strater Theatre, Durango Arts Center, Wild Horse Saloon, Animas City Theatre, Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Grange Building and the Durango Elks Lodge. In additionm festivalgoers are welcome to jam at indoor and outdoor venues around town. The Strater Hotel & The Rochester Hotel both welcome musicians to play in their hotels, as well as several area bars and restaurants.

Free Friday Concert

All visitors to Durango are welcome to attend the free two-hour warm up for the Durango Bluegrass Meltdown. This concert is held at the Grange Buildling at the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. This kick-off event will bring The Fellowship of Strings and Colorado College Bluegrass Ensemble out to perform some of their best pieces. Visitors are welcome to explore the railroad museum on the way to listen to the performances.

Tickets & Information

Tickets for the festival are on sale now. 3 types of tickets are available for purchase online: A weekend pass, and Saturday or Sunday only passes. Kids 12 and under do not need tickets and may attend the festival for free. The weekend pass provides attendees entrance into all shows on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and will be available for sale at the door for an increased price.


There is still plenty of time to book a hotel and make plans to be in town for the festival. You'll have plenty of time to enjoy the other things to do in downtown Durango while you're here, so it is the perfect time to take your vacation.

Top Train Rides In Colorado

5 Scenic Journeys You Won't Want to Miss

Want to enjoy Colorado’s rugged terrain without the trouble of driving your car? No need to worry. There are a variety of ways to explore the natural beauty Colorado has to offer, and many can only be seen by train. For just the price of one ticket, you can experience any of the fascinating trips below. Here are the top train rides in Colorado you won't want to miss.

5. Rio Grande Scenic Railroad

Departing the town of Alamosa which is near Great Sand Dunes National Park, the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad roams among the Sangre de Cristo and San Juan mountain ranges. The air-conditioned, steam and diesel locomotives promise an 8-hour round trip that features wildlife sightings and sweeping vistas of rugged mountains. One of the popular events on the train rides is the Mountain Rails Live which offers you the opportunity to travel with world-class musicians to Fir Summit, a concert venue which can only be accessed by rail.

4. Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad

Designated a National Historic Landmark, this railroad was ranked number one in the USA’s best Readers Choice Poll for American Train Rides. It’s America’s longest and highest narrow gauge railroad, providing full and half-day trips through iconic landscapes of Cumbres Pass, the San Juan Mountains, the 1883 Lobato, and Toltec Gorge. Don’t worry about lunch on this 64-mile journey as your ticket price includes a buffet lunch in Osier, CO.

3. Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad

The name might sound stuffy but don’t let it deter you from visiting this railroad for an unforgettable adventure. The century-old steam locomotive offers a 45-minute ride that will take you back to the days of gold mining. The ride trip takes a short journey through the historic mines while featuring stops for photos of the beautiful scenery. You don’t need to worry about missing this exciting experience as the train runs every 40 minutes, starting at 10 am and ending at 5 pm.

2. Georgetown Loop Railroad

Considered an engineering marvel of its time when it was completed in 2884, Georgetown Loop Train was originally used to transport folks among mining towns. The track travels between Georgetown and Silverplume on a journey through mountainous terrains, offering a true Colorado train experience. What’s more, you will be able to get up close and personal with burros at the Silver Mine. Georgetown Loop Railroad is now listed on the U.S. National register of historic places, attracting droves of tourists who are looking to discover Colorado.

1. Durango Train

Topping the list of the top train ride in CO, the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, offers guests a year-round ride on a restored steam train that travels the same distance once journeyed by miners and settlers of the Wild West. The train ride through the San Juan National Forest features breathtaking views and a trip back in time for those who are interested in knowing everything about the train. An additional plus: you can gain free entry into the Durango train museum after the trip to see the displayed artifacts and other authentic items.

Durango Train: Rides, Tours & Events

Durango Train Rides For Every Occasion

One of the best ways to experience Durango, Colorado is onboard a train chugging down the the Durango and Silverton Railroad. It’s easy to understand why: If there was no train, there’d be no Durango! Durango was founded in 1879 by the Denver & Rio Grande Railway. By 1881, the railroad reached Durango and by 1882, the tracks to Silverton were completed. Today, nearly 140 years later, the Durango train is just as an essential part of the city’s livelihood and culture as it was in its founding days. There are many ways you can experience the Durango train. From leisurely rides to and from Silverton to special train events, there’s a Durango train experience for you. Learn more about riding the Durango train and start planning your next railroad experience.

Durango Train Skyway Tour

According to information from the Durango & Silverton Railway Museum, one of the most popular ways to ride the Durango train is their Skyway Tour. In season from early May-late October, this summer and fall tour lets you ride the train 53 miles from Durango and Silverton and then ride a bus back to Durango.

Skyway Tour

You can choose to ride to Silverton and spend the day or spend the night and catch the bus back the following day. Find more information about the bus & train schedules here. The Skyway Tour is a popular option because it allows travelers to see many different views of the San Juan Mountains.

Round Trip Tour

If you’re a train enthusiast, consider booking a round trip tour on the Durango and Silverton Railway. This Durango train package lets you spend a total of 7 hours on board the train in a single day. The train rides 3 1/2 miles to Silverton, stops for 2 hours in Silverton, and then treks 3 1/2 hours back to Durango. You’ll experience the full splendor of the 1880s train, allowing you to step back in time as the train chugs down the track.

Book This Ride

New! Cascade Canyon Express

The Durango train has introduced a brand new Cascade Canyon excursion for 2019. Specifically designed for busy travelers of today, this is the train’s shortest excursion offered in the railroad’s history. The Cascade Canyon Express lasts just under two hours, making it an excellent choice for those who don’t want to commit to an all day train ride. Choose between an open-air gondola or a historic restoration coach and take in the incredible views along the highline of the canyon.

Book This Trip

Durango Train Packages

If you’re ready for a wild ride, consider booking a Jeep & Train Package. Durango Rivertrippers offers multiple train packages that lets you experience the Durango Silverton train and then some. This package lets you take the Million Dollar Highway to Silverton, go on a Jeep trail ride to explore mining ruins and the ghost town of Animas Forks, and then take a one-way ride back to Durango onboard the train. Check out all Durango train packages below.

Durango Train Packages

Wilderness Access

For backpackers, hikers, and fishermen, a great way to ride the Durango train is on a wilderness access trip during the summer. Head out into the San Juan National Forest and Weminuche Wilderness via the Durango train, and get off in Needleton (for access to the Chicago Basin) or Elk Park (for access to the Colorado Trail). Call (888) 872-4607 to book.

More Info

durango train ride

Photographer Special

Photographers love the views and vistas they can snap onboard a special ride just for them. The Durango train offers trips just for photographers several times a season, giving ample opportunity to get the perfect shot. The Photographers Special train packages run both day and night, letting you test your photo skills in a variety of settings. You can call the Durango & Silverton Railway at (877) 872-4607 for additional information or to book your spot on the next photographer’s special.

durango train ride

Durango Train Events

You’ll find a number of family friendly events taking place on the Durango Train all year long. The Polar Express rules winter. The Shamrock Express makes early spring fun. The Easter Beagle Express brings Peanuts fun to the railway. Many more family friendly events dot the annual calendar, as well as some suitable for adults only, like the Durango Brew Train or Blues Train.

Train Events

Locomotive Cab Ride

Did you know that the Durango train offers passengers the chance to ride up front with the conductor? Aboard a locomotive cab ride you can experience a day in the life of an engineer and fireman in the front cab of a steam train. See if you have what it takes to work on the railroad line! Ride 3 1/2 hours on a one way trip to Silverton and observe first-hand as the operators create locomotion. This ride is available all year.

Book This Ride

Motor Car Ride

Another unique experience offered by the DSNGR is a motor car ride. Available from May through October, this ride travels along the rails in a motorcar with a veteran maintenance-of-way crewmember. You can experience a typical afternoon of patroling the rails and communicating with the train as it returns from Silverton. Those at least 18 years old can ride in the motor car; don’t forget your lace-up boots and water bottle!

Book This Ride

Looking for more ways to ride the train? From romantic couples rides to beer tasting rides for brew buffs, there’s something for everyone to enjoy on board the Durango train. Give the Durango & Silverton Railway a call at (877) 872-4607 for more information or to book your next ride.

Durango Blues Train

Live Blues Music on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

The Durango Blues Train is an exciting musical experience consisting of two evenings of live blues on the rails! Bring your crew and join the fun on the Historic Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad’s coal-fired, steam-powered train through the spectacular and breathtaking canyons of the San Juan National Forest.

Durango Blues Train

Durango Blues Train

Twice a year, the Durango Train is taken over by blues performances. Four nights of entertainment take place, with two at the beginning of summer and two at the end. These nights draw hundreds of visitors to the train for an evening of music, fun and craft brews. The train leaves the depot in Durango at 6:30 PM and returns around 10:30 PM. The lineup for each performance is announced 2-3 months in advance, giving you plenty of time to plan ahead for your visit.

Durango Blues Train

The Music

The Blues Train features six live blues performances inside the train coaches with a festive musical environment. Each artist performs in their own vintage coach. Four coaches have seats while two are open with no seats for dancing. This one-of-a-kind live music experience encourages passengers to dance from one train car to the next to sample each performance.

Event Lineup

Durango Blues Train

Experience Beautiful Views

In addition to the music, passengers will experience breathtaking views of the San Juan mountains. You will even catch a sight of the world famous section of railroad, the Highline. Experience this spectacular view from 400 feet high above the Animas River along the way.

Event Info

Don’t miss this incredible experience on board the Durango train. Tickets sell out quickly, so be sure to check the Durango Blues Train website for pricing and sale dates.

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Durango Blues Train: May 31 & June 1

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Durango Blues Train: August 16 & 17

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New Years in Durango, CO

Ring In The New Year In Southwestern Colorado

The year of 2018 is coming to a close and it’s time to celebrate ringing in a brand new 365 days with the best New Year's Eve celebrations in Durango! Plan your New Years in Durango, CO around these great events.
new years eve in durango

New Years At Purgatory

Purgatory Resort is the place to be on New Year's Eve. Enjoy a special NYE buffet style dinner at Hoody’s, or a snowcat dinner at Powderhouse before coming out for a spectacular torchlight parade down the mountain. Then, watch an amazing fireworks display to kick off your New Year’s Eve. Celebrate all night long with live music from People We Know at Purgy's. Learn More
new years in durango

New Year's Eve Prohibition Style

This celebration is sure to be the bees knees! Join the fun on the last day of 2018 at Derailed Pour House at 5:00 pm. There will be entertainment from Black Velvet Band, champagne, balloon drop, toasts, goody bags, keepsake glasses and more. Seating is limited so buy your tickets as soon as possible. Learn More
new years in durango

Red, White & Buckin' Blue NYE

You're invited to Wild Horse Saloon for a rowdy New Year's Eve party! Just $10 for those over 21 years of age and $20 for those 18-20, the cover includes party favors, a champagne toast, and finger foods throughout the evening. Door prizes will be given away all night long. You can make a table reservation by purchasing a chair from venue's website. Learn More

Throwback Party

The Animas City Theatre is hosting a "Throwback Party" featuring live music from Elder Grown, J Calvin & Mesquite this New Year's Eve. This 21+ party starts at 9, with music throughout the night and a midnight champagne toast to ring in the new year. Tickets are available online or at the theatre and are $25 per person. Learn More

10 Winter Activities In Durango That Aren’t Skiing

Tons Of Ways To Enjoy The Snow In Southwest Colorado

By now we're sure you've heard that Durango has been named one of America's top 10 ski towns, best winter weather among North American ski resorts, and undoubtedly one of the best party spots when winter weather takes it's toll. But if you've been to southwest Colorado during the snowy season, then you've probably already hit the slopes at Purgatory Resort and other skiing spots near Durango. So what else is there to do in Durango during the winter months? The answer is: a whole bunch.


If you have more experience with summer activities and are unfamiliar with snowmobiling in Durango, imagine something like a jet ski for snowy terrain. While the sport is backcountry focused, it is definitely best to keep to the trails when you're exploring. You can find the latest trail reports for the Durango area from the San Juan Sledders website. Snowmobiling

Dog Sledding

Explore the frozen beauty of the San Juan Mountains with a little help from some canine companions. You can be as involved as you like in the dog sledding process when you book with Durango Dog Ranch, a family-run kennel who's had mush on the brain for over 25 years. This a truly unique experience that you won't ever forget, and you might even get to snuggle some puppies afterward. Durango Dog Ranch
Check out the snowy mountainscape from a new vantage point: the helm of a dogsled. The guides at Durango Dog Ranch will help you handle the reins of Alaskan and Siberian huskies as they race through white evergreen forests.Sunset Magazine
fat biking durango

Fat Biking

If you're the kind of person who loves to stay active outdoors no matter the season, fat biking might be the winter sport for you. Cyclists on mountain bikes equipped with 4-5 inch wide tires on low tire pressure glide over surfaces like powdery snow or sand. Plus, you can burn up to 1,500 calories an hour with less recovery time than after an hour long run (See: 6 Reasons We Can't Get Enough Of Fat Biking), making this a great option for anybody itching for some solid exercise.

Winter Train to Cascade Canyon

One of our favorite excursions on the Durango train, the 26 mile journey to Cascade Canyon during the winter season will provide you with some of the most picturesque views of the San Juans of the entire year. The coaches are comfortably heated and cozy, and this trip is a great one for families and groups with children. Book Now
winter activities in durango

Snow Tubing

Bring out your inner child with a quick trip down a snowy hill on a giant inflatable tube. Our pick for best snow tubing in Durango is the Hesperus Tubing Hill, a local favorite mountain spot that's open seven days a week (4:00 - 9:00 pm on Monday through Friday, 9:00 am - 9:00 pm on Saturdays, 9:00 am - 4:00 pm on Sunday). A single guest can tube for $10 per hour, and each additional guest is $5 per hour.


Okay, so this one is a little bit skiing - but certainly not like you've ever seen skiing before. Think water skiing, but instead of a boat you have a horse (guided by a rider) pulling the skiier through a series of obstacles. The thrilling spectacle historically draws around 3 to 4 thousand people to Silverton, Colorado every year. You can see the event for yourself this upcoming February. Event Info
Quite frankly, the energy and excitement it brings to the town, having cowboys, horses and skiers, is just something you don’t get to experience very often.DeAnne Gallegos, Silverton Area Chamber of Commerce
winter activities in durango

Snowcat Excursion

A snowcat is a fully enclosed, truck sized vehicle with tracks designed to move easily through snow, and there are several ways to enjoy an excursion in one of these babies. Daytime tours provide views of scenic backcountry vistas that you wouldn't get to see otherwise, while an evening journey into the snow followed by a candlelit dinner is a great option for a romantic date. You can check out Purgatory Resort's website for more details.

Sleigh Rides

A custom horse drawn sleigh ride through a winter wonderland is a great idea for a cozy, romantic adventure for two. Rapp Coral will help you celebrate the hollidays with the horse bells jingling amidst the fresh mountain air and breathtaking scenery. Be sure to dress warmly with hats, gloves, and coats to get the most out of your ride. You can make a reservation by calling (970) 247-8454.
winter activities in durango


Snowshoeing is a popular winter fitness activity great for those who love hiking or running in the warmer months. It's not very difficult to get started (if you can walk, you can snowshoe) and it's much more versatile than skiing or snowboarding. No matter how much snow is on the trails, you can make the trip. Get started by deciding the type of land you want to conquer and find the right pair of shoes to do so. There are three basic categories - flat terrain, rolling terrain, and mountain terrain - and you can find all of them in various locations around Durango.


This one might seem obvious, but it still belongs on the list. A common saying in the world of snowsports is that skiing is easier to learn but harder to master, and snowboarding is harder to learn but easier to master. So if you've got plenty of skiing under your belt and are up for something a little different, challenge your balance and go for a board on the slopes. Snowboarding