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How to Spend 1 Day in Durango

How to Spend 1 Day in Durango

Surrounded by both the San Juan Mountains and the sandstone cliffs of the Anima River Valley, Durango is one of Colorado’s best-kept secrets. Here, opportunities for outdoor adventure are seemingly endless. See below for some ideas on how to make the most out of 24 hours in Durango. 

Morning: Mesa Verde Tour

Durango is the perfect basecamp for exploring nearby Mesa Verde National Park; day trip options are in abundance and save you the stress of hiring a car. Tours typically leave in the early morning and cover the Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings and Cliff Palace, the largest cliff dwelling in the park, which you can only visit as part of a tour. 

Alternatively, spend the morning learning about Durango’s wild western past at the Animas Museum or learn about the region’s colorful railroad history at the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum.

Afternoon: Outdoor Adventures

Opportunities for outdoor recreation in Durango are limitless. The Animas River runs right through town and is a popular spot for white-water rafting, kayaking, and fishing. Choose between family-friendly rafting trips and white-water kayak tours that include a chance to paddle through Durango’s downtown white-water park. For maximum thrills, choose a rafting trip that also includes a ziplining adventure; take a fly fishing lesson; spend the afternoon mountain biking or hiking in the trails around town; or take a ride on the narrow gauge train to the historic mining town of Silverton and back. 

Evening: Sunset Jeep Rides & Wild West Shows

There are many ways to spend your evening in Durango. To see more mountain scenery and catch the sunset, opt for a twilight Jeep tour. Smelter Mountain and the Durango Rim Trail are also popular places to watch the sunset. Kids will enjoy spending the evening at the Bar D Chuckwagon Suppers, a western-style stage show accompanied by a barbecue dinner. You can also enjoy free live music in Buckley Park during the summer months or head out on a self-guided tour of Durango’s award-winning microbreweries. 

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7 Tours and Activities

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Durango Family-Friendly 2-Hour Rafting Trip
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Durango Family-Friendly 2-Hour Rafting Trip

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Get your whole family out on the rapids with this whitewater rafting trip down the Animas River in Durango. Spend two hours in the company of an adventure guide, paddling over Class I, II, and III rapids, suitable for novices and experts alike (including children). Shoot down the river and take in the scenery, coming away with a sense of accomplishment and a better understanding of Colorado's wilderness.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$65.00
From
$65.00

700 Year Tour - Half Day Mesa Verde Cultural Tour
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700 Year Tour - Half Day Mesa Verde Cultural Tour

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See the UNESCO World Heritage–listed sites of Mesa Verde National Park on a tour of the park's Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings. A guide provides insight into the history, architecture, and spiritual features of these ancient homes and how they were lived in hundreds of years ago. Please note, this tour starts inside the park; you must already be in the park after paying your own national park entrance fee.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$101.34
From
$101.34

Half-Day Family Rafting in Durango, Colorado

Half-Day Family Rafting in Durango, Colorado

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Float down the Lower Animas River on this family-friendly rafting trip in Durango. As you glide over the rapids with a guide, you can enjoy views of Durango from the water and take in the natural beauty south of town. Stop on the riverside for a snack, and listen to stories about the history and traditions of the region. This is a mild rafting option for ages 4 years and up. Select a morning or afternoon departure time when booking.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$91.56
From
$91.56

2.5 Hour Family Rafting in Durango with Guide

2.5 Hour Family Rafting in Durango with Guide

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Not all rafting trips have to take up your entire day—this tour from Durango gets you on the water and back out with time to enjoy another adventure before the sun goes down. You'll spend one hour on the Animas River navigating the Class II and Class III rapids with a rafting guide.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$66.00
From
$66.00

Private Mesa Verde Tour with Archeologist Trained Guide
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Private Mesa Verde Tour with Archeologist Trained Guide

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Visit Mesa Verde National Park—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—on a tour from Durango. You'll have the chance to see the park's ancient Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings and learn about the history of the region. Lunch is included to make this an easy day trip for you and your friends or family.
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  • 7 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$299.00
From
$299.00

La Plata Canyon Jeep Tours 4 Hours - Durango *Private Waterfall Access*

La Plata Canyon Jeep Tours 4 Hours - Durango *Private Waterfall Access*

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Explore La Plata Canyon on a tour from Durango. Traveling by 4-wheel-drive vehicle, you'll see a bit of the region's history as you pass by ghost towns and mining ruins, plus watch for wildlife among the mountain scenery. Stop at Kennebac Pass for views from 12,000 feet (3,657 meters), and enjoy commentary from a guide.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$89.00
From
$89.00

Zip Line - Rafting Package
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Zip Line - Rafting Package

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Float the Animas River in Durango on this full-day tour, perfect for families. With a guide leading, even first-timers and small children will enjoy the river rafting experience. After a lunch break (own expense), head for the zipline, where you'll zoom through the Ponderosa pines for epic views of the Colorado mountains all around you.
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$187.35
From
$187.35