Colorado is a unique climate; we experience four distinct seasons throughout the year. From hot summers, cool falls, snow packed winters, and flowering springs, there are many things to enjoy during each season.
Durango is located at 6,512 feet above sea level which heightens the majestic mountain scenery as well as thins the air. Many athletes take advantage of this by training at high elevations with less oxygen molecules to enhance their body’s endurance. Those just visiting from lower elevations can be affected by the elevation with symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, and shortness of breath. This is known as altitude sickness or acute mountain sickness. While most cases of this are mild and can be aided with hydration, rest, and time, some are more severe and may require medical attention, oxygen, medication, and moving to a lower elevation.
From June to August, the temperatures are usually the hottest ranging from the mid 80s to 100 degrees in the peak of the season. Snowpack in the high country will melt into rivers and lakes providing amazing, natural ways to cool down during these long summer days. Popular summer activities include rafting, tubing, hiking, biking, camping, swimming, fishing, and enjoying the bustling downtown area filled with local shops, restaurants, and cafes.
These shorter and cooler days are the perfect time to explore the surrounding areas in Southwest Colorado as the leaves change colors. Try the iconic San Juan Scenic Byway for gorgeous views and to visit more quaint Colorado towns along the way. With temperatures averaging at about 65 degrees in the daytime, it’s not too hot to enjoy a hike or bike ride. There is generally little precipitation which adds to great day-trip experiences.
One of the most popular seasons here, winter brings snow and tons of fun activities. The first snowfall in Durango, CO is usually in November, but has appeared as early as mid-October. January brings the coldest, sub-zero temperatures and greatest snowfall. In addition to the magical views of the glistening snow, skiing and snowboarding are enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. Purgatory Resort, just north of Durango, and Wolf Creek Ski Area, to the east, provide many runs. Snowshoeing, snowmobiling, cross country skiing, backcountry skiing, and ice skating are also ideal winter sports. Nearby towns also offer an fun array of things to do in the winter.
March through May transforms Durango from a winter wonderland into a colorful and fresh spring. As the snow starts to melt with daily temperatures varying from the 30s to 50s, the mixture of moisture and sun create the perfect setting for the wild flowers and fauna to bloom. Wildlife also starts to reappear from hibernation and with their newborns. Rain is common during this time of year. Outdoor activities like running, hiking, and biking can be a bit difficult as ice and mud are present.
Temperatures can vary almost 30 degrees between in town and in the high country all year round. Colorado weather is also notorious for changing almost instantaneously from sunny to rainy and vice versa. Be sure to pack appropriately and be prepared for any condition. Please let us know if you have questions about the annual climates of Durango, our mountain paradise.