With its unbeatable views, massive mountains, finger-licking food, and rich history and culture, Durango is much more present than any other city on most travelers’ Colorado bucket list. But when exactly is the best time to visit Durango?
Figuring out the best time to visit Durango depends on your weather preferences, budget expectations, recreational activities you may wish to engage in, or the events you hope to attend.
No worries, though — that’s what we’re here for. With this guide, we’ll not only help you find out the best time to visit Durango but also go through FAQ and provide other travel tips that will make your getaway memorable.
Now without further ado, let’s get stuck in!
The Best Time to Visit Durango
The best time to visit Durango is in spring (March–May). March and April have average temperatures between a maximum of 50.2°F and a minimum of 22.3°F.
May is a slightly more moderate month, with average temperatures fluctuating between 59.9°F and 35.4°F. Durango’s spring season is when you can do everything you set out to do.
Really, apart from skiing, all recreational activities are in full swing. The weather allows it, and both locals and visitors are eager to embrace the pleasant temperatures after the moody winter climate.
From hiking, kayaking, rafting, and cycling to jeep tours and fishing, Durango screams fun on every corner.
Besides highly engaging social activities, Durango features many not-to-be-missed spring events such as Durango Bluegrass Meltdown (April), The Durango Wine Experience (April), Home and Ranch Show (April), The Durango Farmers Market (May), and Iron Horse Bicycle Classic (May).
Spring attractions worth visiting include:
- Mesa Verde National Park, which is pretty self-explanatory;
- For valuable historical insights and to add a cultural touch to your Colorado itinerary (note that it’s half an hour away from the city but worth your time);
- Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad if you wish to experience an in-the-spur-of-the-moment through the San Juan Mountains;
- Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum is for all train enthusiasts.
Finally, don’t forget to wander the downtown area. Historic Downtown Durango boasts a plethora of authentic stores, restaurants, and galleries, and allowing yourself to soak in the beauty stemming from each venue is a great way to explore them all.
Cheapest Time to Visit Durango
The cheapest time to head to Durango is in November, the city’s least expensive month. In November, the average temperatures vary between a high of 43.5°F and a low of 23.9°F.
Not only is November the cheapest month to head to Durango, but also the most beautiful landscape-wise.
With its changing leaves, crisp fall mornings, and golden sunsets, the month is ideal for those hoping to capture some of Durango’s natural beauty on camera. While there are many fall activities you can choose from, the absolute best one is driving through the San Juan Skyline.
The drive is stunning each time of the year, but in fall, it’s absolutely spectacular. To see Durango’s changing colors first-hand, hit the trails and set a day for hiking.
If you wish to take a stroll and unwind, do so by the Animas River and check out surrounding attractions such as Santa Rita Park, Durango Fish Hatchery, and the Powerhouse Science Center.
While most events take place earlier in the fall, going in November secures you versatile accommodation options and lower hotel rates, together with attractive flight ticket prices.
Knowing what a magnificent beauty Durango is in November, we dare say it compensates for the lack of engaging events.
Least Busy Time to Visit Durango
The least busy time to visit Durango is in winter (December–February). Weather-wise, though, it does get quite chilly, with averages between 33.4°F 13.3°F.
January is also said to be the most humid month. Put simply, knowing how pleasant Durango’s summer sun is, going there in winter is counter-intuitive for many.
That said, visiting in winter allows you to take advantage of the empty-ish city and enjoy winter activities in greater solitude.
Engage in skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, skating, or simply enjoying the snow and observing the mountains, and you’ll find yourself falling in love with wintery Durango in no time.
Plus, you can replicate some spring or summer activities, such as embarking on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and substituting summer’s greenery with a little winter fairy tale.
Going to some of Durango’s wineries, distilleries, or breweries will keep you warm and happy, hitting the River Trail will enable you to clear your mind (no matter the season), and attending some fun winter events can make your stay much more memorable than anticipated.
Don’t miss the November Singing with Santa date to set you in a holiday mood, Bar D Wranglers Christmas Jubilee to liven up your spirits, and Holiday Farmer’s Market for some Christmas shopping. Lastly, Snowdown is a spectacular party.
Worst Time to Visit Durango
Weather-, crowd-, and price-wise, the worst time to head to Durango is in summer. June, July, and August have average temperatures varying between a high of 73.9°F and a low of 45.5°F.
Summer also sees the most visitors, accommodation prices increase, and the city is at its busiest. That said, if you do decide to head to Durango in the summer, you’re still going to have a blast.
You’re bound to find activities that will fill your day from dusk to dawn. Wander along the Animas River by joining a local rafting agency, opt for mountain biking on some of the trails, explore some of the nearby lakes, or simply take it slow in a local bar.
July is reserved for the annual 4th of July celebration, so get ready for some festivities and a lot of fireworks. Once Independence Day wraps up, the Music in the Mountains event begins.
With a fantastic line-up of events and artists, Music in the Mountains provides guests with spectacular music performances and memorable auditory experiences.
Next, there’s the Four Corners Gem and Mineral Show, with a myriad of vendors selling items such as jewelry, fossils, gems, minerals, and so on. In August, a local-favorite annual event, La Plata County Fair, promises fun for the whole family.
Finally, if attending a beer-tasting festival is something you’ve had on your travel agenda for a while, the San Juan Brewfest will help you to finally tick it off.
Things to Consider
When visiting Durango, there are a few things worth taking into account, including:
- Dress in layers, regardless of when you visit. The weather in Durango can be unpredictable.
- Always pick trails that correspond with your hiking skills and relevant experience. Never go hiking alone — always join a group or have at least another hiking buddy with you. If you happen to go alone, however, make sure you inform someone about your whereabouts.
- Bookmark Durangotrails for a detailed list of all the available trails. You’re welcome!
- If you begin planning your getaway at least three months before you set off, you may come across discounted offers.
- Durango has plenty of picnic options — bring a blanket and a basket.
- Don’t be taken aback by the local lingo. For instance, locals pronounce Florida “Flor-EE-da,” not “Flor-id-UH,” or Ouray “YOUR-ray,” not “OO-ray.”
- Parking meters are in full force Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. — ignoring them, whether on purpose or not, may result in a $25 parking fine. The Central Business District doesn’t allow on-street parking in from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m.. If you leave your car there, the towing services are at your cost. That said, being a small town, Durango has very limited parking options. Therefore, walking, cycling, or opting for the trolley may be a wise decision.
- Keep your eyes peeled for discounts and coupons, such as Durango Co Coupons & Deals and Durango Discount Packages.
- Although weed is legal in Colorado, make sure you’re acquainted with the local laws and policies to avoid any unpleasant situations.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some facts about Durango Colorado?
Here are some interesting facts about Durango:
- The word “Durango” is derived from the Basque word “Urango,” meaning “water town.” As the Animas River runs through the town, Durango seems like the perfect fit for this Coloradan piece of land.
- The city has more restaurants per capita than San Francisco.
- The first inhabitants in the area were the so-called Ancestral Puebloans, or the Anasazi.
- The Animas River’s initial name used to be “El Rio de las Animas Perdidas,” or “The River of Lost Souls.” The story is that the river got its name after a few Spanish explorers got lost during their travels on the river. Their bodies were never retrieved.
- The Durango Hot Springs are said to be the only natural hot springs worldwide that use Aqugen.
- Some famous films were made in Durango, such as National Lampoon’s Vacation, Ticket to Tomahawk, How the West Was Won, Tracker, Around the World in Eighty Days, Night Passage, City Slickers, and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
How expensive is Durango?
How expensive Durango is largely depends on your country of origin and the budget at your disposal. Also, if you’ve come across information suggesting that Durango is the second most expensive community in Southwest Colorado, you may be wondering whether your trip is going to cost an arm and a leg.
Don’t let such numbers fool you or put you off from going somewhere. Instead, rely on figures provided by previous travelers, as travel expenses vary greatly depending on your preferences.
So, if you go to Durango, here’s how much money you should expect to spend:
- You’ll need $153 per day during your Durango getaway; past visitors have spent $50 on meals and $27 on transportation per day on average.
- On average, hotel prices for a couple are $157.
- A one-week vacation costs around $1,073 for one person.
- Depending on your travel style, set aside:
Also, keep in mind that if you’re going as a family, you’ll share rooms, and kids’ tickets are always cheaper or heavily discounted.
Last but not least, note that these are simply approximations and not expenses set in stone, which means they may change over time.
How safe is Durango?
In general, Durango is a safe town. In fact, the chances of being a victim of a violent crime are 1 in 305 in Durango. Of course, having common sense and being cautious as you would in any other place (especially if you visit for the first time) is more than recommended.
What food is known in Durango?
Durango is known for its unique mixture of different cuisines, ingredients, and foodie experiences. Here’s what you should try during your stay, together with the places where you can find the food:
- Typical American food such as burgers and pie at Olde Tymer’s Cafe, Chicken Fried Steak and Eggs at Lone Spur Café, or dining at old-style diners such as Durango Diner;
- Italian food such as home-made pasta, paninis, salads, and gelato at Primi Pasta & Wine Bar and various authentic Italian meals at Mama Silva’s Italian Kitchen;
- Mexican food at the wide range of restaurants in Downtown Durango, such as Switchback, Los Amigos Del Sur Mexican Restaurant, Nini’s Taqueria, and Zia Taqueria;
- Tasty BBQ at Serious Texas Bar-B-Q, and T’s Smokehouse and Grill;
- Asian food in Rice Monkeys and China Café;
- Local food for when you’re on the go — 11th Street Station, Fired Up Pizzeria, Homeslice, and Cuckoo’s Chicken House & Waterin’ Hole;
- Vegetarian dishes at East by Southwest, Grassburger (it offers vegan burgers!), The Lively Daikon, and Steamworks.
Does Durango get tornadoes?
Durango is a low-risk area for tornadoes. In fact, the risk of any tornado damage in Durango is not only much lower than the Colorado Average but also the national average.
Do you need a car in Durango?
While having a car in Durango is truly practical, you can navigate Durango by opting for other means of transport, such as the Durango Transit system. Certain areas, such as downtown Durango, are highly walkable too. Also, Durango is a bike-friendly town.
Is Durango close to Denver?
Not really. It’s a six-hour drive (around 336 miles). That said, Denver is absolutely worth it, so if you’re thinking about extending your Durango getaway, make sure to add Denver to your agenda.
Over to You — Book Your Trip Today!
To wrap up, the best time to visit Durango is in spring, during the March–May period. The crowds are manageable, the weather’s comfortable, and there’s so much to do and see.
If you’re trying to stick to a budget, head in November. It’s arguably the least expensive month in Durango.
Next, the least busy time to visit Durango is in winter, or more specifically, December through February. It enables visitors to enjoy the city without getting frustrated about potential crowds or peak tourism periods.
The worst time to visit Durango is from June to August. It’s high season, which translates into more expensive hotel rates and a busy city. Still, summers at Durango can be wonderful if you know what to expect, where to go, and what to do. Now you do.
On the whole, whether you head to Durango for the hiking trails, local brews, annual events, the pleasant summer temperatures, or the golden fall scenery, you’ll enjoy every minute of it.
So, with so much to see and do, what are you waiting for — book your trip today and see for yourself all that Durango has to offer. Happy travels!