So it’s probably clear that I am a big fan of Durango, CO. I’ve been there in summer, fall and winter … and have always had a great time.
While I love the winters and skiing in Durango, summertime is my favorite. Here’s my list of the top things to do in Durango during the summer months …
1) Ride the Rapids
There are several rafting companies in Durango that offer river rafting on the Animas River. If you’re brave and early enough in the summer (when there is a lot of water), you can raft the Upper Animas and get to experience class 4 and 5 rapids. For the rest of us, the lower Animas is quite fun — especially after a winter with a lot of snow.
2) Horseback Riding in the San Juan Mountains
We’ve used two different horseback riding outfits: Rapp Coral and Buck’s Livery. I like the trails best with Buck’s Livery (they are close to DMR and have some beautiful trails among the aspen trees and pretty lakes. But Rapp Coral has the option to take the trails back to a cave — which is a fun experience.
3) Go jeeping in Ouray
Ouray is often called the “Little Switzerland of America”. It’s a charming town located about 70 miles north of Durango. You drive the “Million Dollar Highway” to get there — a beautiful drive, but many sharp turns and sheer dropoffs.
We always rent jeeps at Switzerland of America Jeeps. They have amazing customer service and have the nicest jeeps in town. They also are one of the few jeeping outfits that have 4-door jeeps for rent.
One of our favorite jeeping trails is Yankee Basin. In early summer, the wildflowers are in full bloom and after a great winter, there are many waterfalls.
4) Eat outside at Ken & Sue’s in downtown Durango
Ken & Sue’s has the best food in town. A while back they opened up the back for outdoor seating — which is perfect for a summer lunch or dinner. While there are quite a few good restaurants in downtown Durango — Ken & Sue’s seems to be the locals’ favorite, too.
5) Swim, Tube or Jump in the Rivers
While the rivers and lakes are quite cool, on a hot summer day, it’s great to tube, swim or even jump from the rocks into the crystal blue waters. On the Animas River, there are several great places to get in and out of the river in town. Outside of town, it’s a little more challenging to find public access to the river.
6) Go for a hike and enjoy nature (and maybe even a picnic)
We always take a picnic lunch with us on our day of jeeping. There are several great sandwich shops in Durango and Ouray. And on most day trips, we do encounter some incredible wildlife.
7) Enjoy Durango Mountain Resort (DMR) — the Alpine Slides, Zipline & Music in the Mountains.
At the Purgatory ski resort (now called DMR), there is an Alpine Slide, Zipline and Bungy Jump. It can be a fun afternoon for the kids. During the summer months, they also have Music in the Mountains — evening musical performances under the stars.
8) Cool off at the Hot Springs
There are hot springs and swimming pools in both Durango and Ouray. It’s nice to spend an afternoon at Trimble Natural Hot Springs — a few miles north of Durango. You can also get spa treatments in addition to soaking in the pools or swimming in the Olympic-size pool.
There are many more things to do and see, depending on the length of your stay. Here are a few other things on the list:
- Farmer’s Market on Saturdays
- Take a Glider Ride at the Durango Soaring Club
- Zip through the Trees with Soaring Treetop Adventures
- Ride the Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Train
- Visit Mesa Verde