Christmas in Durango, Colorado
Christmas in Durango extends the entire month of December. Our little mountain town comes alive with activities all month long for everyone from the adventure seeker to the holiday traditionalist. Durango, Colorado has so much to offer during the Christmas season.
Take A Ski Trip
Around Christmas, it is common for Durango to turn into a snowy winter wonderland. Enjoy skiing at one of the great ski spots near Durango for a classic Durango adventure. There are plenty of locations to try out, each offering different experiences. Practice your skills on beginner hills, then hit the expert slopes. No equipment? No problem. Most of the ski areas near Durango have rentals available.
When winter weather takes over Durango there are plenty of things to do. Satisfy your sense of adventure with some exhilarating skiing near Durango. There is a place for all levels of skiers within 30 minutes drive from downtown. Whether you are looking for a resort experience with groomed trails, or an expert expedition complete with a heli-drop, you won’t be disappointed with the available options for skiing near Durango. No gear? No problem. The options below offer equipment rentals for visitors too.
Purgatory Mountain is located just 30 minutes north of Durango in the San Juan Mountains. There are 1,605 acres of skiable terrain, complete with 99 trails, 12 lifts and five terrain parks. The mountain is a great option for outdoor adventure seekers. Each year, Purgatory receives a consistent amount of snow, so there is little concern about weather and conditions. Visitors can book a stay at the resort and hit the slopes all day long. The resort and mountain open mid-November each year. For those not skiing, Purgatory offers Snowcat Dining Excursions.
Wolf Creek Ski Area
Located in the nearby town of Pagosa Springs, Wolf Creek Ski Area is an easy 30 minute drive from Downtown Durango. This location opens in early November for just the weekends, with hours extending as the season continues. There are 1,600 skiable acres in this area, and its claim to fame is having “The Most Snow in Colorado” with an annual 430 natural inches. Wolf Creek has a mix of slopes for anyone, from beginner to expert, and lifts open from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm on a typical day.
Advanced skiers will enjoy an experience at Silverton Mountain. Silverton Mountain is the highest ski area in North America. This location is for advanced and expert skiers only. Visitors are guaranteed an exhilarating adventure because trails are not groomed and provide a “real mountain experience.” Visitors can take on a guided day, or an unguided day. There are also help drops available as an additional service.
Hesperus Ski Area
Hesperus Ski Area is the closest to downtown Durango, just an easy 11 mile drive west. It is best known for night skiing and riding on the 8,888 foot summit. With options for season tickets, half day tickets, full day tickets, night skiing and free tickets for children and seniors, this flexible option is great for skiers of all levels. First time visitors also have the option of taking a free lesson with the purchase of a lift ticket.
Be sure to check each location’s website for updated information, opening dates, hours and prices. Book a hotel in Durango soon- winter is a popular time to visit, as there are many events and activities that are unique to this season. Take advantage of the many deals available to make the most of your stay, and be sure to pack warm clothes for your outdoor adventures!
Enjoy The Best Winter Activities
If skiing isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other winter activities in Durango to keep you busy. Exciting winter adventures like dog sledding, snowmobiling, and fat biking are popular options for visitors to the area. So don’t fret, even though Durango is one of the top ski towns in America, there is so much more to do.
By now we’re sure you’ve heard that Durango has been named one of America’s top 10 ski towns, best winter weather among North American ski resorts, and undoubtedly one of the best party spots when winter weather takes it’s toll. But if you’ve been to southwest Colorado during the snowy season, then you’ve probably already hit the slopes at Purgatory Resort and other skiing spots near Durango. So what else is there to do in Durango during the winter months? The answer is: a whole bunch.
If you have more experience with summer activities and are unfamiliar with snowmobiling in Durango, imagine something like a jet ski for snowy terrain. While the sport is backcountry focused, it is definitely best to keep to the trails when you’re exploring. You can find the latest trail reports for the Durango area from the San Juan Sledders website.
Explore the frozen beauty of the San Juan Mountains with a little help from some canine companions. You can be as involved as you like in the dog sledding process when you book with Durango Dog Ranch, a family-run kennel who’s had mush on the brain for over 25 years. This a truly unique experience that you won’t ever forget, and you might even get to snuggle some puppies afterward.
If you’re the kind of person who loves to stay active outdoors no matter the season, fat biking might be the winter sport for you. Cyclists on mountain bikes equipped with 4-5 inch wide tires on low tire pressure glide over surfaces like powdery snow or sand. Plus, you can burn up to 1,500 calories an hour with less recovery time than after an hour long run (See: 6 Reasons We Can’t Get Enough Of Fat Biking), making this a great option for anybody itching for some solid exercise.
Winter Train to Cascade Canyon
One of our favorite excursions on the Durango train, the 26 mile journey to Cascade Canyon during the winter season will provide you with some of the most picturesque views of the San Juans of the entire year. The coaches are comfortably heated and cozy, and this trip is a great one for families and groups with children.
Bring out your inner child with a quick trip down a snowy hill on a giant inflatable tube. Our pick for best snow tubing in Durango is the Hesperus Tubing Hill, a local favorite mountain spot that’s open seven days a week (4:00 – 9:00 pm on Monday through Friday, 9:00 am – 9:00 pm on Saturdays, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm on Sunday). A single guest can tube for $10 per hour, and each additional guest is $5 per hour.
Okay, so this one is a little bit skiing – but certainly not like you’ve ever seen skiing before. Think water skiing, but instead of a boat you have a horse (guided by a rider) pulling the skiier through a series of obstacles. The thrilling spectacle historically draws around 3 to 4 thousand people to Silverton, Colorado every year. You can see the event for yourself this upcoming February.
A snowcat is a fully enclosed, truck sized vehicle with tracks designed to move easily through snow, and there are several ways to enjoy an excursion in one of these babies. Daytime tours provide views of scenic backcountry vistas that you wouldn’t get to see otherwise, while an evening journey into the snow followed by a candlelit dinner is a great option for a romantic date. You can check out Purgatory Resort’s website for more details.
A custom horse drawn sleigh ride through a winter wonderland is a great idea for a cozy, romantic adventure for two. Rapp Coral will help you celebrate the hollidays with the horse bells jingling amidst the fresh mountain air and breathtaking scenery. Be sure to dress warmly with hats, gloves, and coats to get the most out of your ride. You can make a reservation by calling (970) 247-8454.
Snowshoeing is a popular winter fitness activity great for those who love hiking or running in the warmer months. It’s not very difficult to get started (if you can walk, you can snowshoe) and it’s much more versatile than skiing or snowboarding. No matter how much snow is on the trails, you can make the trip. Get started by deciding the type of land you want to conquer and find the right pair of shoes to do so. There are three basic categories – flat terrain, rolling terrain, and mountain terrain – and you can find all of them in various locations around Durango.
This one might seem obvious, but it still belongs on the list. A common saying in the world of snowsports is that skiing is easier to learn but harder to master, and snowboarding is harder to learn but easier to master. So if you’ve got plenty of skiing under your belt and are up for something a little different, challenge your balance and go for a board on the slopes.
Pick Up Santa On The Polar Express
The story of a child’s Christmas Eve journey comes alive on The Polar Express Train Ride! Fun for all ages, the whole family can enjoy the experience, warmth and fun of the Christmas season on a special trip on the DSNGRR! Enjoy hot chocolate, Santa sightings and more upon return to the Durango Train depot. All children on the train will recieve a special gift from Santa as well.
The Polar Express Train
Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
479 Main Ave
Durango, CO 81301
Our premier event of the year, The Polar Express Train, is selling fast! Be sure to choose your date and car type and book now. Certain dates and car types will sell quickly and you’ll want to be first to book!
Book now to secure your space for the whole family. Make it your holiday tradition to bring the whole family to take the magical journey to the North Pole on the Polar Express Train! Seats sell quickly for this very special event, especially premium seats.
Join us for a truly magical recreation of the classic holiday story about a child’s Christmas Eve journey aboard a vintage steam train as it departs our station in Durango and sets off for the North Pole to pick up Santa. Once onboard, the chefs will serve hot chocolate and a sweet treat and you will enjoy a reading of The Polar Express by your conductor, Once at the North Pole you will see an incredible light show set to holiday music. On the return trip to Durango, Santa will visit each coach and hand out the first gift of Christmas.
About THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride
First told in the award-winning book by Chris Van Allsburg, this is the story of a child’s Christmas Eve journey. It was adapted to the big screen in 2003. And now it comes alive each year with THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride! All ages can enjoy the experience, warmth and fun of the Christmas season on a special steam train trip to the North Pole! Certain dates and car types will sell quickly so you’ll want to book soon to reserve your preferred seating!
Note: TSA requires that masks/face coverings be worn within our Depot, in our Museum and onboard enclosed train coaches when windows are not opened, regardless of our patrons’ vaccination status. Due to the colder high country weather coming our way this fall and thus our inability to keep windows open at all times, please be advised that masks or approved coverings must be brought with you and worn when riding in our enclosed standard and premium class coaches with windows closed effective on Oct. 15th, 2021 until further notice.
More info at durangotrain.com