Durango, Colorado is located in Southwest Colorado which provides year-round activities and four distinct seasons. In the summer the weather varies between 90-100 degrees and cooler nights in the low 60s. The area offers many public spaces such as parks, trails, and river access, as well as recreational programs, camp sites, and lakes. Here are our top five favorite things to do during summer in Durango.
1. The Animas River
The best way to cool off on a hot summer day is to jump in the Animas River, which flows all the way through town. There are sections with white water rapids for rafting and calm, slower spots ideal for paddle boarding, tubing, and swimming. You can find sandy beach areas as well as easy access via the paved Animas River Trail. Put-ins and take-outs such as Trimble Crossing, Oxbow Park & Reserve, 32nd Street, 9th Street, and Santa Rita provide boat ramps and parking spaces. Catch an event like Animas River Days or let a local rafting company take you down the river.
2. Nearby Lakes
Lake days also provide the same refreshing relief as the river without the swift moving water, unless you're water skiing, wakeboarding, or wake surfing which is allowed at Lake Nighthorse and Vallecito Reservoir. Lake Nighthorse also offers a Wibit Aqua Park, swim beach, and is located just minutes from downtown Durango. Vallecito Reservoir is nestled 21 miles to the northeast and offers lakeside cabins, restaurants, and campgrounds. Lemon Reservoir is a smaller mountain lake perfect for paddle boarding, fishing, tubing, and swimming with nearby campsites as well
3. Hiking & Biking Trails
Enjoy the hundreds of miles of trails whether on foot, horseback, or bike! Durango is a biking mecca with in town trail systems catering to all abilties. Try Animas City Mountain, Overend Park, or Powerline for great views of the town and Animas Valley. Spur Line, Church Camp, and the Animas River Trail provide flatter and easier trails. Trails like Log Chutes, Dry Fork, or the expansive Horse Gulch trail systems offer a bit more challenging ride. Be sure to check if the trail is a single track, directional, daily conditions, and what types of recreation is allowed on each.
4. Dining Experiences
Indulge in the Durango food scene by eating at one of our unique local eateries, ranging from breweries to fine dining restaurants. During the summer months, you will see the many “bump-outs” that provide additional outdoor seating. You can find traditional American cuisine, Asian inspired dishes, and farm-to-table meals at many of these local establishments on and off Main Street.
5. Annual Events
Attend annual summer Durango events such as the True Western Roundup, La Plata County Fair, and Fiesta Days that are focused around western heritage and showcase 4-H projects, rodeo events, and fair royalty. The Durango Farmers Market is a must-attend with many vendors offering homemade goods, farm fresh produce, delicious meals, and more.
There are so many more opportunities for hiking, boating, biking, eating, and everything in between. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or recommendations about things to do in Durango, CO in the summer.