The state of Colorado is sprinkled with some of the most amazing little mountain towns. Durango, Colorado is no exception and I’m honored to call this place home. First snow means everything to the locals here, as it signifies the seasonal transformation of adventure sports.
Rock turns to ice in the climbing world. We trade out our hiking boots and trekking poles for snowshoes and ice axes. We tuck away the kayaks and river rafts and blow the dust off our skis and snowboards. There is literally so much to do, which means that a weekend spent in Durango offers the ultimate Winter Durango microadventure.
Friday Night: Once every December, the city of Durango celebrates all the local shops and shop owners by throwing one big Noel Night event on Main Avenue. It’s basically a bigger, better Black Friday where businesses offer games, crazy discounts and delicious Christmas treats. From Tippy Canoe to Pine Needle Mountaineering to Urban Market to Gardenschwartz and Durango Coffee Company, the streets and sidewalks are always packed! …but the lights are warm, the chocolate is hot, everything reeks of peppermint and the stoke is high.
When dinner comes around, it’s worth a trip to check out the always-crowded Steamworks Brewing. Want something fancier? We opted for OpenTable reservations at Ore House. Best. Steak. Ever.
Saturday Morning: No winter trip to Durango is complete without a visit to Purgatory Mountain Resort.
Boasting 94 ski and snowboard trails and 300 days of sunshine – for me – this mountain is home…and you should spend as much time on the backside and in the trees as possible.
Saturday Afternoon and Evening: After getting a fried chicken basket at Dante’s Backside Bistro per tradition and riding the last lift of the day at 4PM, it’s time to hit PJ’s Market. Good company deserves good chili and good beer…And PJ’s is the perfect stop back through town for all the fixings. AND, it’s nearly right across the street from Trimble Hot Springs and Spa – need I say more?
Finish the night with a stoked fire, some slow yoga and an awesome book.
Sunday Morning: If you’re not hitting the slopes again, you’ve got a couple options. Durango marks the terminus of the Colorado Trail, a nearly 500 mile trail that slithers through the San Juan Mountains and much later, spits you out all the way in Denver. Since you probably don’t have the time for that, it’s still worth a hike or a jog to Gudy’s Rest for a beautiful forest vista.
Sunday Afternoon: Durango is home to some of the most epic bouldering spots and if the weather is right, Turtle Lake is always my go-to…if my hands don’t freeze.
And it would almost be sacrilege to visit Durango without either a visit to Grassburger or Rice Monkey – both are AWESOME lunch spots on Main and neither is too food coma inducing.
Sunday Evening: Chase the sunset and salute your epic weekend by doing something different. From cross country skiing to ice skating to fly fishing to dog sledding to snowmobiling to riding the train to Silverton – by Sunday evening, the weekend will, undoubtedly, feel too short. Mine absolutely did.
To curb your inevitable Monday blues, make sure to spend the entire next morning checking your calendar and getting pumped for the January Ouray Ice Festival.