Durango was one of our favorite stops on Big Trip #1, to the point where we wondered if we could live there. This time around it didn’t charm us quiiiiite so much. Maybe Crested Butte ruined us for other towns. We still had a great time eating, drinking, and hiking!
In order to get to Durango from Ouray, our previous location, you have to drive a harrowing stretch of road weaving and climbing through mountain passes called the Million Dollar Highway. It’s a gorgeous route, but with steep, long dropoffs and no guardrails in places, I could not relax and enjoy the views. Despite the assurances of the internet and the campground owners in Ouray that we’d have no trouble towing the Airstream over to Durango, I spent the entire time we sat on the rooftop at Ouray Brewing watching the first set of switchbacks on the Million Dollar Highway and cheering whenever I saw an RV or semi. We survived the trip, and it wasn’t nearly as terrifying as I expected. (J wasn’t worried at all, of course.) Please be careful if you try it!
For the second time, we stayed at Alpen Rose RV Park a few miles from downtown. It’s a pleasant place with grassy sites and a clean laundry room. We recommend it.
Eating and drinking
Ska Brewing has a fantastic patio for Covid-friendly drinking! Note that we were there in October; the situation may be less inviting in January. I loved their tropical sour, and the food was excellent. Ska was a favorite of ours last trip too.
Steamworks has a small patio and a tasty sour that was super strong. Inside is huge if you’re into indoor dining, which we currently are not.
Carver Brewing had a ventilated tented outdoor space set up, but as I type this they are temporarily closed due to Covid.
High Trestle Brewing is a newer brewery in Durango with a nice patio and some branding issues: are they High Trestle or Durango Beer and Ice or Chainless Brewing? We weren’t sure, even as we stood in the brewery looking around, until we asked the beertender. The beers didn’t excite us.
Durango Craft Spirits, a distillery and tasting room, has outdoor seating and a cocktail list with whiskey, moonshine, and vodka drinks. They use fresh herbs and locally-sourced ingredients in their cocktails. We didn’t love the drinks, but did appreciate how dog-friendly the patio was.
Other than the sandwiches at Ska, we cooked all our meals on the Airstream this stop so our restaurant reporting is weak. But the 11th Street Station food court looks awesome and you should go there! Seven food trucks, a bar, and lots of outdoor seating. We’ll definitely check it out next time.
J had to work a bunch in Durango, so as in Ketchum we needed short hikes close to town in order to whisk him onto a trail when he had time.
Skyline Trail: This short loop close to town is a quick and easy hike for when you don’t have much time. The views of the valley are pretty, and the climb to the ridge gets your heart pumping. You’ll see other people and dogs, and maybe some mountain bikes. This loop was a bit nicer than the one below.
Raiders Ridge: At just over 5 miles, this loop is a little longer than the previous one, but it’s similar: close to town, views of the valley, and some climbs. This area is popular with mountain bikers, so keep your ears peeled. This trail is convenient and we enjoyed getting out on a gorgeous day, but the hike is not terribly special.
To do: This nine mile hike has views and creeks and is ten minutes from downtown, 15 minutes from the campground!
We’ll be back to Durango for sure, but we probably won’t be moving there 🙂