Winter is a great time to visit for Durango. While you may be used to classic activities and adventures on your Colorado winter vacation like skiing or snowboarding, take some time to switch it up on your next trip. We have put together a three day itinerary, complete with lodging, restaurants and activities to keep you busy and trying new things in Durango.
Arrive in Durango for your Colorado winter vacation early in the morning. Grab breakfast on the way in- you'll want to have plenty of energy for your first activity of the day.
Trek Through Mesa Verde
Start your trip to Southwest Colorado off right with an outdoor excursion on foot through Mesa Verde. Rent snowshoes or cross country skis and trek your way through the park on Cliff Place Loop Road or Morefield Campground Loop Road. After the first snow, both of these roads make great destinations with incredible views of the ruins and winter wildlife.
Tip: Make sure to bring plenty of water. While it may be cold out, the desert air is dry even during the winter time. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are both great sports for exercise during the winter, but you have to be careful to not get dehydrated.
Make A Pit Stop For Lunch
After you finish your Mesa Verde excursion, head downtown to refuel with a yummy lunch at Grassburger. Grassburger is known for their ethical and delicious burgers, but what many don’t know is that they also have a variety of house-made, corn syrup free side sauces. Ask for green Chile ranch, secret fry sauce or Serrano sauce to try with your meal.
Take A Stroll Through Downtown Durango
Take a walk through the streets of downtown Durango and explore our historic mountain town. Make a stop at Nature's Oasis to pick up lunch for tomorrow and then swing by Guild House Games to grab a fun activity for some downtime tomorrow as well. Be sure to keep your eye out for iconic sites like the Strater Hotel, the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and the Animas River.
Enjoy Dinner At The Ore House
The Ore House was established in 1972 and is one of Colorado's oldest and finest restaurants. It's a can't-miss on any Durango vacation. Recently, The Ore House has reinvented their dining experience into a delicious 4-course feast. There are plenty of option to choose from to customize your meal, including a choice of a steak or seafood entree.
Wind Down At A Durango Brewery
Kick back and relax for the remainder of the evening and grab a few drinks at Durango’s microbreweries. Durango has 5 craft microbreweries to choose from, each with their own unique brews. Many even have seasonal offerings, so be sure to ask the bartenders to learn more about what they have in the winter months.
Check Into Your Lodging
While you explore Southwest Colorado, call Blue Lake Ranch you’re home away from home. Blue Lake Ranch is located in Hesperus on 200 secluded acres with beautiful, snowcapped mountain views during the winter months. The Ranch has beautifully decorated cabins and private casitas to choose from and is a perfect place for families, couples and friends to rest and refresh on a trip to Durango.
When you wake up at Blue Lake Ranch on day 2, you won’t have to travel far to satisfy your hunger. Blue Lake offers a delicious Southwest-inspired breakfast buffet, which will give you a taste of some of the best Colorado eats. Fill up and get ready for the day of adventures ahead on the second day of your Colorado winter vacation.
Take A Winter Hike
La Plata Canyon Trail is a perfect winter hike. It is accessible year-round, but it can be a very dusty drive and trek during the warmer months in the year. During the winter, visitors love to explore and hike this trail for the incredible views and scenery. It is 3.6 miles out-and-back , with an opportunity to go further up to Kennebec Pass if you are looking for a challenge.
Bring Along A Picnic Lunch
Enjoy a picnic lunch from Nature's Oasis as you take your winter hike. Nature's Oasis has a deli on-site with delicious meals that are easy to carry out on your adventure. Take a second to relax, take a seat and enjoy your healthy meal and snacks so you can have a strong finish to your hike.
Mush Mush Mush!
At 3:30 PM, head to the Durango Dog Ranch for a sunset dog sledding tour. Your tour will begin in the daylight and you will return to the ranch just as the sun sets, where you will enjoy hot chocolate by the warm fire. The Durango Dog Ranch is one of the most unique activities in the area and when you visit, you'll have plenty of opportunities to meet the dogs, learn about the sport and ask any questions you have.
Fun Fact: The sunset tour is called “Colder and Faster” because the dogs will run faster when the temperature in the area drops.
Settle In For Dinner
Kennebec Cafe is one of our favorite places to enjoy a meal during the winter months in Southwest Colorado. The restaurant feels warm, comfortable and inviting and the food is made with local and seasonal ingredients. Relax and take in beautiful artwork, views of the La Plata Mountains and delicious Mediterranean inspired dishes paired with wine.
Have A Game Night
After you finish dinner, head back to Blue Lake Ranch for a relaxing evening in. Take out all of the games you grabbed yesterday from Guild House Games downtown and challenge your family to some friendly competition. Use this time to relax and rest up for tomorrow's big day of adventures.
Wake up early on day 3 of your Colorado winter vacation and enjoy even more delicious food from Blue Lake Ranch’s buffet. Then head back to your cabin and get ready for the day ahead. Be sure to dress warm and be prepared to be outdoors.
Cast A Line
Many visitors don’t realize that Durango is a year-round fishing destination. Duranglers is a local outfitter and they have guided fly fishing specials throughout the winter. You will head out early in the morning around 9 am to take advantage of the best fishing hours. Trout are really active in the winter months, so there’s plenty of potential for great catches.
Grab A Slice & Brew
After your fishing trip, you’ll be starving and ready for a late lunch. Homeslice Pizza will be your go-to for quick but mouthwatering food. Homeslice’s pizza is inspired by both Chicago and New York styles and the chefs have created plenty of unique topping combos. Try something new, grab brew or cocktail from their full bar and rest your feet after your hike.
Explore Durango's Art Scene
Support local artisans by taking a walking tour of Durango’s art galleries. These galleries are free to explore, but each has incredible art, intricate jewelry, stunning photography and more available for purchase. Sales support the artisans in the area and allow them to keep producing beautiful works that tell the story of southwest Colorado.
Wine & Dine At PRIMI
One of the most unique dining experiences in Durango can be found at PRIMI Pasta and Wine Bar. It's a must-visit on your Colorado winter vacation. The owners of PRIMI brought the tastes of their travels to Italy back with them to Colorado to serve up authentic, handmade Italian foods and Italian wine in the area. Stop by and enjoy a true taste of Italy, a couple glasses of wine and a warm, welcoming environment.
Tip: PRIMI has an “elevated fast-casual” environment. This means that you’ll view the menu, order at the counter and seat yourself. When your food is ready, they’ll bring it out to you.
Enjoy Drinks At The Belle
Throughout the week, the Diamond Belle Saloon has a variety of musical performances. On any given night, you may catch Ragtime Pianists, acoustic country, soul music and more being performed. While you watch the local artists show off their talents, enjoy one of the Diamond Belle’s signature cocktails- we recommend The Southern Belle, a mix of Bourbon, Mint-Infused Peach Liqueur and Peychaud’s bitters.