Nestled in southwestern Colorado’s Animas River Valley and surrounded by the rugged peaks of the San Juan Mountains, Durango offers unimpeded access to some of the best cultural, historic and outdoor attractions in the state. From outdoor pursuits in the surrounding high desert and mountains to Native American history and Old West heritage, Durango is Southwest Colorado’s premier four-season destination.
Purgatory Resort is located 25 miles north of Durango along the San Juan Skyway Scenic and Historic Byway. Carved by glaciers thousands of years ago, Purgatory is a unique blend of steep tree skiing and wide-open cruisers with stunning views. Named a best value ski spot by TripAdvisor, Purgatory is one of Colorado’s most family friendly, affordable ski resorts. With few crowds, miles of varied terrain and breathtaking scenery, escape the traffic and crowded ski runs along the I-70 corridor to Southwest Colorado.
Purgatory features accommodations ranging from luxurious, slope-side vacation homes to value-priced lodge rooms. You’ll find warm and comfortable lodging to suit every budget and every need. Book in advance this winter and save 30-percent, plus other packages and incentives are available throughout the season.
Purgatory’s vibrant base area features an assemblage of family friendly activities, lodging, retail shops, restaurants and bars. Grab a hot chocolate and take in the views from one of Purgatory’s on-mountain dining locations, including Powderhouse & Pitchfork Pub, Dante’s Food Court and Bar, or enjoy panoramic views at the Backside Bistro. Signature events including live music, pond skimming, fat bike races and holiday festivities including a New Year’s Eve fireworks display, dog sled tours, and more.
The new year-round Inferno Mountain Coaster is 4,000 feet in length with a 300 foot-vertical, and features nine switchbacks and one loop, giving guests another fun activity snow or shine. Or if your schedule permits and you book in advance, settle in for a winter Sleigh Ride from the base of Purgatory. The 45-minute tour through the falling snow can be so tranquil, especially after a few hard hours of skiing. Make a point to relax, get warm, and take plenty of pictures.
Purgatory’s affordable lift tickets are less than half the price of Colorado’s major ski resorts. Starting October 1, visitors can take advantage of Purgatory’s World’s Best Spring Break with lift tickets starting at $49, including a $10 gift card for dining/après and $19 rentals and lessons. These tickets can be redeemed during Spring Break, beginning March 1, 2020. Or purchase a “Power Pack” in 3-, 4- and 5-day increments that can also be used at Hesperus Ski Area. Located just 11 miles west of downtown Durango, Hesperus is the largest night skiing operation in the southwest and offers tubing, rentals and ski school lessons.
Introduced in 2018, Purgatory’s Power Kids Pass is available to all children ages 10 and under for unlimited skiing at Purgatory and Mountain Capital Partners (MCP) collective of ski and bike resorts, including Spider Mountain Bike Park in Texas. No purchase required or strings attached. Just the desire to make skiing and snowboarding more affordable for families and grow overall participation in the sport. First time snowboarders and skiers over the age of 13 can also take advantage of a complimentary 4-hour group lesson with the purchase of one full-day, full-price lift ticket.
Purgatory offers excellent beginner terrain, plus plenty of thrills for intermediate and advanced skiers on 1,605 acres of skiable terrain, 101 trails, 13 lifts, five terrain parks and a vertical drop of 2,029 feet. Animas City Adventure Park is the perfect place for the whole family to spend some time together, with kid-friendly features and gentle slopes. Paradise Freestyle Arena offers a slope-style course the more advanced members of the family will enjoy. Plus, it’s easy to view from the base area, so the whole family can still take in the action together.
Take a “rest day” from skiing and visit downtown Durango’s National Historic District, overflowing with historic hotels, award-winning restaurants, art galleries, and boutique shopping. A walk down historic Main Avenue reveals everything from small, local art cooperatives to galleries hosting work from world-famous artists.
Featuring over a dozen award-winning art galleries, museums and cultural attractions, including the Durango Arts Center, Durango & Silverton Railroad Museum, Animas Museum, Powerhouse Science Center, and the Durango Fish Hatchery & Wildlife Museum. Visit the Southern Ute Museum or the Center for Southwest Studies at Fort Lewis College to gain an understanding of the ancient peoples of the region, and the importance of preserving these cultural resources.
Family Friendly Dining
Farm agritourism tours, craft breweries and local culinary products highlight a visit to Durango. With over 100 award-winning restaurants to choose from, families will delight in worldly flavors paired with Southwest Colorado’s abundant local resources.
Located one half mile south of Purgatory Resort, visit the new Nugget Mountain for après ski, featuring a full bar, gourmet food truck, incredible views and a cozy atmosphere. Or stop by the new Bird’s Rotisserie in Durango’s North Main district for healthy and delicious chicken, prepared using a specialty rotisserie grill from France.
In downtown Durango, Fired Up Artisan Pizzeria cures any craving with its wood-fired Neapolitan pizza, salads and sandwiches. For craft beer lovers, grab a pint at Steamworks Brewing Company or Carver Brewing Co. Steamworks is known for its award-winning beer, delicious food and family friendly atmosphere, while Carver serves up some of the best breakfast and beer in town. To satisfy your fajita cravings, Durango also offers seriously delicious Mexican food. Try Macho’s and Zia Taqueria for quick-casual, or Gazpachos and Cantera for great cocktails and Hispanic food.
Durango is easily accessible by US Hwy 550 from the north and south, US Hwy 160 from the east and west, and direct flight service from Dallas-FW and Houston via Durango-La Plata County Airport.