Durango Train-Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

A young Durango train passenger waves to rafters on the Animas River from a passenger car. Photo: Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is aiming to resume coal-fired steam locomotive trips between Durango and Silverton this week, depending on weather and fire conditions.

The Durango train suspended its coal-fired steam train passenger service as a result of the 416 forest fire that briefly closed San Juan National Forest in June. Durango train officials worked with local authorities, agencies and other community leaders to instead launch limited diesel locomotive passenger service through this Wednesday, July 11.

If the Durango train isn’t able to resume service to Silverton using its historic coal-fired locomotive, the railroad will continue to offer diesel train trips to Cascade Canyon, a journey that allows passengers to see a majority of the most beautiful scenery along the route, including the High Line.

Between July 5 and July 11, the Durango train also launched two additional daily, round-trip diesel locomotive excursions. These hour-long trips travel from the downtown Durango train depot to an event park located just outside the city. The special summer train adventures take passengers through historic Durango along the Animas River to their destination in the Animas Valley.

Durango train officials chose July 12 to restart coal-fired steam engine service based on current weather forecasts, which project an improved chance of precipitation. Crews have also been working to complete track and right-of-way repairs in the fire-affected areas and complete a full inspection of the rail line prior to resuming service. The railroad will continue to monitor these and other factors in the coming days, and it reserves the right to modify the service resumption date if weather patterns and fire conditions do not improve.

Passengers who bought steam train passenger service excursions to Silverton that have been canceled can opt to receive a full refund, transfer their tickets to ride the Cascade Canyon Express, a diesel train locomotive experience through the San Juan Mountains, or reschedule their trips for when steam train service resumes. Visitors can find fare and schedule information for these excursions at www.durangotrain.com.

In the meantime, the Durango & Silverton train encourages visitors and to stop by the Durango train depot for scheduled railyard tours and free museum admission.

While you’re visiting Durango for your summer vacation, be sure to stay with us at the Econo Lodge Durango! The Durango Econo Lodge Inn and Suites is one of the best hotels in Durango (according to our guests), where you’ll find our newly renovated lobby and updated guest rooms. Book your stay today!

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June is nearly over, and July is nearly here. And, for more than 30 years, July has meant the start of a Durango summer staple: Music in the Mountains.

Music in the Mountains is a music festival and conservatory program that features world-class musicians, orchestra performances and chamber concerts under the white peaks of the festival tent at Purgatory Resort.

Every summer since 1987, the Music in the Mountains festival has brought live music to venues in and around Durango. Although its history is rooted in classical music and chamber concerts, Music in the Mountains has expanded and diversified its offerings, and the 2018 schedule features world music and family concerts as well as access to open rehearsals and pre-performance lectures.

From the Music in the Mountains website:

In 1987, Maestro Mischa Semanitzky dreamed of a classical music festival in Durango and set his vision in motion. Through support from Fort Lewis College, The Durango Herald, Durango Mountain Resort, Morley Ballantine and Bank of Colorado, the original concert season was born. The first season included five concerts and featured 11 musicians, all of whom were members of the Dallas Fine Arts Chamber Players, a group also founded by Semanitzky.

In response to the growing interest of local and regional audiences, Music in the Mountains has steadily broadened its programs for more than 30 years – increasing the number of concerts and venues. Conceived originally as a fully integrated summer music festival, a chamber music series was introduced in 1997, under the direction of Gregory Hustis, principal horn of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Now more than 100 world-renowned musicians entertain audiences of all ages during the three week festival.

Concerts and Events

Music in the Mountains kicks off July 7 and runs through July 29 and will feature nearly 20 performances throughout the festival’s three-week run (be sure to check the schedule so you don’t miss out on any amazing events). Festivities getting rolling Saturday, July 7, with a World Music Concert by The Hunts, an indie-folk band from Virginia, at Bayfield Performing Arts Center.

Other festival performances include benefit events, such as the Chocolate Indulgence benefit July 11 at Purgatory Resort that will feature artisan desserts from Animas Chocolate Co. and Ore House Restaurant paired with specialty cocktails, wine and beer — all before a cappella powerhouse Backtrack Vocals takes the stage.

Family concerts feature kid-friendly fun, like the Green Eggs and Ham dinner and concert July 12 at Fort Lewis College’s Community Concert Hall. Guests can enjoy a picnic dinner before the festival orchestra concert that’s designed for Thing 1 and Thing 2 and their parents.

You can buy your tickets online or by phone and either pick them up at the Music in the Mountains’ downtown Festival Office at 515 E. College Drive, have them mailed to you or pick them up at the will-call booth one hour before the concert.

Concert Venues

Music in the Mountains’ festival tent is located at Purgatory Resort about 30 miles north of downtown Durango on U.S. Highway 550 — a straight shot north of the Econo Lodge Durango. The tent is located at the base of the ski area. Although many concerts are held at the festival tent, Music in the Mountains includes performances at several other venues throughout Durango and other nearby communities.

Stay With Us

Summertime in Durango is all about fun and festivals, and summer vacations in Durango give visitors plenty of both to choose from. While you’re here, be sure to catch a Music in the Mountains concert and stay with us at the Durango Econo Lodge Inn & Suites! Guests consistently rank us among Durango’s best hotels, so book your room at the Econo Lodge Durango today.

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Durango knows how to do holidays. Most of the time there’s costumes, and there’s almost always a parade — sometimes on Main Avenue, sometimes on the Animas River, sometimes both. But the Fourth of July in Durango involves the best of the best of all holidays: pancakes, parades, costumes, concerts, fireworks and a big, ol’ street dance (except no Santa and no trick-or-treating). So here’s your guide to having the best July 4 in Durango:

Breakfast and Fun Run

Eating and jogging? Don’t worry; there’s plenty of time to digest those pancakes (carb-loading, anyone?) before you set out on the 5k Fun Run/Walk. The All-American Gourmet Breakfast will be served from 7:30-10:30 a.m., and the free all-ages fun run starts at 9 a.m., both at Rotary Park. Arrive by 8:45 a.m. to register for the run. There will also be live music and a reading of historical documents at the park.

July 4 River Parade

Cool off on the Animas River during Mild to Wild Rafting’s 4th of July River Parade! This annual tradition is a parade of rafts filled with crazy-costumed rafters that flows through downtown Durango. The best part is there are five times to either get on the river or watch from the banks: 8 a.m., 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Kids get a Fourth of July souvenir, and there’s even a prize for best costume, so be sure to wear your most patriotic getup!

Family Fun Picnic

Next up on the list of things to do for Fourth of FUN? The Family Fun Picnic! Activities kick off at noon at Buckley Park. There, you can listen to readings from our nation’s founding documents, enjoy live entertainment by Cannondolls and Pete Giuliani, and get your fill of killer food and drinks (all proceeds benefit Build Homes for Heroes). There will also be two free concerts at Rotary Park: Southwest Civic Winds’ Concert Band will play at 10:15 a.m. followed by a performance by the Southwest Civic Winds Jaxx Band at 11:30 a.m.

Stars and Stripes Parade

For July 4 in Durango, there’s one event that’s second only to the actual fireworks display to mark the occasion: the annual Stars and Stripes Parade along Main Avenue. The parade starts at 6 p.m. at College Drive and will end at 12th Street.

Street Dance

Immediately after the parade, head over to Main Avenue and 11th for the annual Durango Street Dance. Get you groove on or scoot your boot or whatever kind of dancing (within reason) you want to do during the street dance, which ends just after 9 p.m. Then it’s time for…

Fireworks!

It’s not the Fourth of July in Durango (or anywhere for that matter) without something exploding — preferably fireworks. The show starts at about 9:15 p.m., and you’ll find great views on any downtown cross street facing west.

IndependenTS Week

Not that you’re lacking for things to do in Durango for the Fourth of July, but there’s another type of celebration going on this week: a celebration of our independent businesses. Durango has an amazing community of locally owned businesses that make and sell it all: Breweries tapping their craft beer, artists selling paintings, sculptures and jewelry, chocolatiers selling artisanal chocolates, local wineries pouring their special blends — we could go on and on.

Durango Independents Week will run July 1-7 to celebrate Durango’s spirit of entrepreneurship and community. Local First, a nonprofit that serves local, independent businesses in La Plata County, is the organization behind the local Independents Week as part of the larger, nationwide movement to “recognize the importance of economic democracy and community self-determination.”

So how to you participate? Pick up a Local First Passport on Saturday, June 30, at Local First’s booth at the Durango Farmer’s Market, located in the parking lot of the First National Bank of Durango, or anytime between July 1-7 at Local First, Maria’s Bookshop, Smiley Cafe, ACE Kroegers Hardware, Sante, Wagon Wheel Liquor, Animas Trading Co., Urban Market, The Durango Welcome Center, Habitat for Humanity Re-Store, Salt 360 Float Studio, The Soup Palette, the Spaaah Shop or the La Plata County Humane Society.

For every purchase you make, you get a stamp, and for every five stamps you collect, you’ll be entered to win one of the awesome prizes! Passports must be submitted by Monday, July 9, and winners will be chosen on Wednesday, July 11.

The week of July 4 is the perfect time to visit Durango. Clearly, we have a lot of fun stuff happening, plus all the usual great summer activities: tubing on the Animas, mountain biking, hiking, you name it.

Speaking of supporting local businesses, the Durango Econo Lodge Inn and Suites is under new, local ownership! If you’re looking at Durango hotels for your trip, stay with us! We’re consistently rated one of the best hotels in Durango, so book your room at the Econo Lodge Durango today!

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Mother’s Day gets a lot of the attention, but believe you me, fathers want to be celebrated on Father’s Day, too. But instead of brunch and flowers, check out these car shows and craft breweries and other things to do in Durango for Father’s Day.

Durango Brewery Tour

Line up a DIY tour of Durango’s craft breweries — and then see if you can make it to all of them! In alphabetical order, be sure to check out Animas Brewing Co., Brew Pub and Kitchen, Carver Brewing Co., Durango Brewing Co., Ska Brewing Co. and Steamworks Brewing Co. Stick to flights and add some food, and you just may be able to make it through all six Durango breweries still standing!

Cars and Cruise-Ins

Durango Harley-Davidson is hosting a Father’s Day “Ride-in, Drive-in” from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the dealership, 750 S. Camino Del Rio in Durango. The event is open to anyone. As they say: “Have a cool car? Bring it. Into cool cars? Come over.” And admission is free!

Pit-A-Billy, a non-profit that hosts events to raise money for local animal shelters that support “bully breeds,” is having a car show and cruise-in at Ska Brewing on Sunday, June 17. Three Fearless Peasants will provide live music from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and guests can enter a raffle. Come for the free music and to check out some cool cars, but be careful: You may go home with a puppers or doggo from the adoption showcase!

Durango Train

This is where we would normally say a ride on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad would be a perfect outing for Father’s Day. Unfortunately, the Durango train recently suspended its coal-fired steam train passenger service through at least Saturday, June 30, as a result of the nearby forest fire in San Juan National Forest. Durango train officials are still working with local authorities, agencies and other community leaders to evaluate the possibility of launching limited diesel locomotive passenger service later this summer when it is safe to do so. When that decision is made, the Durango railroad will announce all the relevant details, including fares, schedules and itineraries, associated with the new passenger service. In the meantime, the Durango & Silverton train encourages visitors and to stop by the D&SNGRR depot for scheduled railyard tours and free museum admission.

Get into Nature

The Durango Nature Center is open to the public on Saturdays, and is free for members and children under 12 and $5 for nonmembers. There, dads and their kiddos can explore miles of hiking trails, play in the river, have a picnic, earn a junior naturalist badge and explore the interpretive trail. On the upper 35 acres, visitors can also check out the Welcome Building and gift shop, prairie dog colonies, a sage-rabbitbrush habitat, a kids’ habitat play area, xeriscaping gardens and more. A footpath leads down to 105 acres along the Florida River where trails wind through a variety of habitats, including riparian, meadows, oak woodlands, piñon-juniper forests and desert arroyos. Trails are marked with signs at ending points and junctions, as well as with interpretive markers and maps along the way.

If you’re on a family vacation or just looking for some family time, come stay with us at the Durango Econo Lodge Inn and Suites. We rank as one of the best Durango hotels and are located on Durango’s main drag, cleverly named “Main Avenue,” just a short jaunt north of downtown Durango. So book your room at the Econo Lodge Durango today!

Durango train T-Rex Express reptiles

Photo: Durangotrain.com

June is already National DJ Month, National Adopt a Cat Month and even National Accordion Awareness Month (no, we’re not making these up), but we think we should add another one to the list: T-Rex Express Month!

That’s because the Durango train will be running its T-Rex Express train to the Dinosaur Discovery Zone on June 16, 17, 23 and 24. The dinosaur-themed train is perfect for Durango visitors or locals on summer vacation because a) duh, dinosaurs and b) there are three departures each day — 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. — making it a quick, fun, educational excursion.

During the outing, kids can earn the title of “Junior Paleontologist” by participating in educational activities. The T-Rex Express excursion starts at the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad depot in downtown Durango where kiddos can get their photo taken with a “live” T-Rex skeleton as it roams the grounds looking for a tasty treat.

The T-Rex Express train then departs for a 30-minute ride through Durango and the Animas Valley, back in time to the Mesozoic Era. During the trip, each child can learn about the contents of their individual paleo pouch from on-board safari guides who also tell them about what they will find when they reach the Dinosaur Discovery Zone.

The T-Rex Express then stops and lets everyone disembark. At the Dinosaur Discovery Zone, kids can use their Evidence Collection Cards to learn about dinosaurs and collect information about how dinosaurs lived on Earth.

At the Discovery Dinosaur Zone, families will also find:

  • Live musical entertainment with dinosaur-themed songs and the featured Dino
  • Stomp Line Dance
  • Raptor Tractor Ride through the Mesozoic Era
  • Colorado Gators Live Reptile Exhibit
  • Temporary tattoos and dinosaur-themed face painting
  • Dino Diner Food Tent featuring kid-friendly fare (Meal Prices range from $5-$10
  • Paleontologists from the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science
  • Paleontologists from Fort Lewis College Department of Geo Science
  • Horseshoes
  • Fossil Finders Excavation
  • Prehistoric Putt Putt
  • Snowcones- Lion’s Club Fundraiser
  • For adults, beer will be available for sale at Dinosaur Park

After a 90-minute stint in the Mesozoic Era, it will be time to once again board the Durango train’s T-Rex Express to head back to present-day Durango! During the train ride back, children can munch on a delicious dinosaur snack from their train car attendant. And, finally, each child will receive a T-REX Express Junior Paleontologist badge when they arrive at the Durango depot!

While you’re visiting Durango for summer vacation, be sure to check out the Durango Econo Lodge Inn & Suites! Our hotel is under new ownership and is one of the best hotels in Durango for families (and couples and just people in general). We’re located on Main Avenue, just a quick trip and straight shot north of downtown Durango. Summer is our busy season, so book your room with the Econo Lodge Durango today!

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In 1880, the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad chose a site on the banks of the Animas River for its depot, and the rest, as they say, is history. The city grew up around the river and still hugs its shores today, so what could be more Durango than a festival celebrating it?

Animas River Days takes place Saturday, June 2, and celebrates the river and Durango’s love of it. It all began when local paddling legend Nancy Wiley put on the first whitewater rodeo in Durango in 1983. Over the years, Animas River Days has drawn world-class paddlers and water pros from all around the world. The city’s famed whitewater park opened in 2014 and in four short years has hosted national competitions, including the U.S. National team trials for freestyle, slalom, and wild water events as well as the U.S. National Championships in slalom and open canoe slalom.

The festival takes place at Santa Rita Park, where the city’s whitewater park makes for perfect kayaking, canoeing, rafting, surfing and paddleboarding competitions as well as an inflatable floatie rodeo and — everyone’s favorite — a river parade.

River-lovers and fun-seekers can enjoy food and vendor booths, a beer garden and kids’ activities all day long.

Thursday, May 31

The 35th annual Animas River Days kicks off at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 31, with the Wild & Scenic Film Festival at Animas City Theater. Tickets are $15 and available at 4Corners Riversports and the film festival includes free prizes, food and drink!

Saturday, June 2

The main event takes place Saturday, June 2, at Santa Rita Park on the banks of the Animas River at 2700 Main Ave.

  • 8:30-10:30 a.m. — Kayak and Canoe Slalom, Sponsored by Durango Whitewater
  • 10:30-11:15 a.m. — Expert SURF/SUP Competition (Wave TBD), Sponsored by Badfish
  • 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. — Smelter Smackdown Raft Slalom, Sponsored by the Animas Amazons
  • Noon — Ska Beer Garden and Toast Mobile Lounge Open, No outside alcohol allowed, no dogs allowed
  • 12:45-1:30 p.m. — Junior Freestyle Kayak
  • 1-1:30 p.m. — Inflatable Rodeo, Sponsored by 4Corners Riversports
  • 1:45-2:45 p.m. — Boatercross, Sponsored by Ska Brewing
  • 2:45-3:30 p.m. — Pro Surf/SUP Competition (Wave TBD), Sponsored by Badfish  *Prelims Friday Night*
  • 3-4 p.m. — Expert Freestyle Kayak
  • 4-5:30 p.m. — Pro Freestyle Kayak Finals, Sponsored by The Greenery *Prelims Friday Night*
  • 6-7:30 p.m. — Parade Viewing Party with Posh Josh doing a riverside DJ set
  • 10 p.m. — Late Night Party at El Rancho Tavern featuring the jams of J-Calvin’s Funk Express. Get your groove on!

Park your kayak and put your feet up at the Durango Econo Lodge Inn & Suites. Our Durango hotel is 2 miles north of Santa Rita Park, and we love a good river parade! Book your room at the Econo Lodge Durango today!

 

 

2012 Iron Horse Bicycle Classic

Photo: Scott DW Smith Photography

Which is faster: a train or a bicycle? That was the pressing question between two competitive brothers who raced each other from Durango to Silverton.

In 1971, cycling enthusiast Tom Mayer was living in Durango and loved riding the roads in the area. His brother, Jim, was a brakeman on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. One day they bet a candy bar to see who would reach Silverton first: Tom on his 10-speed or Jim on the Durango train. Jim was surprised to pull into the Silverton station to see Tom waiting for him.

That famous ride birthed Tom’s idea to turn it into a race, and now the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic has been a favorite Durango bike race since 1972. This year will be the 47th year of the classic road race that includes three days of events over Memorial Day weekend:

Friday, May 25, 2018

  • 3-7 p.m. — Final Packet Pickup Buckley Park
  • Narrow Horse Swim
  • 3-8 p.m. — Steamworks Faceplant Party with beer, live music, vendors and bike parade at Buckley Park in downtown Durango
  • Iron BMX

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Sunday May 27, 2018

Whether you’re in Durango to compete in the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic, to support an athlete or simply to enjoy the festivities, stay with us at the Durango Econo Lodge Inn & Suites! We’re one of the best Durango hotels for this event. We’re located only half a mile north of Buckley Park, which is a straight shot on Main Avenue. The Econo Lodge Durango is under new ownership, so come check us out and reserve your room today!

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Mother’s Day can be a tough one to celebrate with new ideas every year, so everyone defaults to brunch. Brunch, brunch, brunch. And don’t get us wrong — we love a good brunch, especially with mimosas, a Bloody Mary and/or bacon. But there are so many other ways to celebrate your mom in Durango this Mother’s Day. And what do moms want most of all? To get to spend time with the people they love, to be appreciated, and, of course, to have you put away your dang shoes.

Here are some non-brunch ideas for things to do in Durango this Mother’s Day that Mom will love.

Mother’s Day Train

This Mother’s Day, book a seat for Mom on the Durango train! The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad’s Mother’s Day Train Adventure departs Durango at 8:45 a.m. on Sunday, May 13, takes passengers on a scenic journey through the Animas River Valley and the San Juan Mountains to Silverton. There, passengers can disembark for a two-hour stint in the picturesque Victorian-era mining town before boarding to return to Durango. On the trip back, mothers will receive a fresh flower and a chocolate treat and can sip on some special Mother’s Day rosé while listening to strolling musicians play in the passenger cars.

Art Experiences

The Art Experience in downtown Durango has several art classes and painting parties planned Mother’s Day weekend (although none on actual Mother’s Day). Take Mom out for an early celebration with the “Owl Painting Party” Friday night. During the two-hour event, an instructor will walk painters through the process of an acrylic painting from start to finish. Other options include a watercolor painting class Saturday evening and an acrylic pouring workshop Saturday night. Acrylic pouring is extra cool, and participants will create up to three different pieces of acrylic poured art!

Another artsy option is the Annual Spring Gallery Walk on Friday, May 11, in downtown Durango. The evening will kick off with an opening reception from 5-7 p.m. at Sorrel Sky Gallery with Colorado artist Edward Aldrich. Several downtown art galleries will be open 5-9 p.m. for visitors to explore and enjoy.

 

Shopping

Maybe you’re like me and your early tween mother-daughter bonding experiences involved retail therapy. Which, sometimes meant you needed actual therapy afterward, but hey. Some of my fondest memories are shopping with Mom, so you may want to take Mom shopping this weekend — and you have plenty of options. In addition to the great everyday shopping in historic downtown Durango, you have some special shopping options this weekend.

The Durango Farmers Market opens this Saturday for the summer! The Farmers Market is every Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon in the parking lot of First National Bank of Durango at 259 W. Ninth St. Peruse local produce and products including fruits, veggies and herbs, local meats, cheeses and eggs, and handmade arts, crafts and jewelry.

Also, on Mother’s Day, the Durango Flea Market is an open-air market every Sunday in the La Plata County Fairgrounds parking lot. Shoppers will find everything they’re looking for (and plenty they’re not but need anyway): antiques, housewares, clothing, jewelry, toys, sporting goods, food and who knows what other treasures!

All of these options are close to — you guessed it — us, the Durango Econo Lodge Inn & Suites! We’re located at 20th Street and Main Avenue in Durango, so we’re within blocks of downtown and nearby restaurants, shops and galleries. If you want to treat Mom to a weekend away, or bring her for a visit, we’re one of the best hotels in Durango. Book your room at the Econo Lodge Durango today!

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Purgatory aerial ropes course

As winter bids us farewell, Purgatory Resort is wrapping up its 2017/2018 ski season. Closing day at Purgatory is this weekend, and Sunday, April 29, marks the last day of scheduled winter operations. Sad, right?

Well, dry those eyes, people, because summer season at Purgatory Resort starts May 26! As much as we all love to ski and snowboard and snowshoe and take Snowcat tours at Purgatory, the Durango ski resort is also a haven for summer fun.

Mountain Biking

In the summer months, Purgatory mountain becomes Purgatory Bike Park with a slew of bike trails criss-crossing the ski slopes. The resort has miles of singletrack trail accessible from the base area, Lift 1 and Lift 4. Fourteen trails range in difficulty from easiest to “expert only,” so there’s something for all experience levels and everyone in the family. Purgatory Bike Park is home to Divinity Flow Trail, Durango’s only lift-served downhill flow trail, and the first World Mountain Bike Championships.

Purgatory Resort also offer mountain biking lessons for first-timers, beginners and intermediate riders to help them learn new skills and gain more confidence. Lessons start June 17th and happen twice daily at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Instructors cover balance and body positioning, shifting and speed management, cornering and other basic techniques. Family lessons and bike rentals are also available.

Alpine Slide and Mountain Coaster

New this summer is Purgatory’s Inferno Mountain Coaster! The 4,000-foot rail-car coaster will zoom passengers through nine switchbacks, one 360-degree loop and multiple dips while descending over 300 vertical feet. The coaster will be open in both summer and winter, so riders can experiences the rush pretty much year-round.

Take a scenic chairlift ride up the mountain and enjoy even more scenic views coming down the slopes on the Alpine Slide during a half-mile descent. The slide is more like an Olympic luge — a sled on a track — while the coaster is a car on rails.

Zipline and Ropes Course

Brave the Purgatory zipline when you step off the Purgatory Village Tower! The zipline zips riders over Purgatory Beach at speeds of up to 35 mph for the length of a football field.

Test your skills and your will at the Sky High Adventure Family Ropes Course! Guests will have to navigate obstacles and challenges as they’re suspended in the air. The course requires people to climb over wooden beams, rope ladders and wooden steps, cross a suspended skateboard and more.

Jump, jump, jump!

The truly fearless can get a taste of being a Hollywood stuntman on Purgatory’s Big Airbag Jump. The 50-foot x 50-foot inflated airbag gives adrenaline junkies a cushy landing after they free-fall jump  — no ropes or safety harnesses here — from the 18-foot platform onto the airbag, the same kind used in freestyle athlete training and movie stunts.

Kids can jump to their heart’s content in Purgatory’s Bounce House or get an even bigger rush on the Bungee Trampoline that allows guests to strap into a harness and jump and flip and do as many aerial somersaults as their stomachs will allow.

There’s a whole bunch of other Purgatory summer activities as well, such as panning for gold, summer tubing (like in the winter, but without the snow), riding a gyro chair, playing miniature golf or trying out the 24-foot-tall climbing wall.

Total Adventure Tickets

The Total Adventure Ticket allows guests to choose from either five or 10 summer activities at Purgatory Resort. It’s less expensive to buy in advance than walking up on the day of, so save yourself some moolah and buy your tickets online.

Durango Hotels

You can also save some moolah by staying with us during your Durango summer vacation! The Durango Econo Lodge Inn & Suites is a great value and makes a great home base for all your summer fun. Whether you’re heading to Mesa Verde, the Durango train or to Purgatory (just 26 miles due north of our hotel — seriously, the only turns you have to make are out of our parking lot and into theirs), we’re one of the best Durango hotels to be your jumping-off point, so book your room today!

Durango Train Narrow Gauge Day

Photo: Durangotrain.com

Train season has arrived in Durango! Well, technically, every season is train season in Durango, but the time has come for the Durango train to start running all the way to Silverton for the summer.

The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad begins its 137th year of continuous train operations between Durango and Silverton. The train first started running the route in 1882. Every winter, the train stops running the full route to Silverton and instead offers scenic rides to Cascade Canyon wye, which is “train talk” for a place to turn locomotives or trains around, then returns to Durango.
During the summer, passengers can do the full round-trip route to and from Silverton or opt to take the Durango train one way (up or down) and a bus back to shave some time off the journey.

Narrow Gauge Day

May 4th is Narrow Gauge Day for the Durango train! Come out to kick off another year of Durango-to-Silverton train service at the depot in downtown Durango. This year marks the 20th anniversary since American Heritage Railways bought the Durango train, so this year’s festivities will celebrate that anniversary.
Things get crackin’ with the annual free picnic from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, May 4, at the Durango depot in downtown. Volunteers will be grilling hot dogs and serving up chips and soda. Snoopy will be making an appearance to say howdy to kids and kids-at-heart. And The Bar D Wranglers will be singing some amazing tunes, so don’t miss out!
Two recently renovated passenger cars — the premium Nomad and standard Coach 333 — will be on display as well as some locomotives and other railroad equipment. Guests Durango_train_arriving_depotare welcome to take tours and visit the D&SNG Railroad Museumto explore the

exhibits and check out a crowd favorite: the model train. If you haven’t been for a while, you can’t miss the museum’s new 600-gallon aquarium that houses Colorado River Cut Throat Trout!

Also, if you’re not familiar with the annual Durango Cowboy Gathering, you should be — and now you can be because they’ll be at Narrow Gauge Day to tell you about the festival coming up in October.
Free tree seedlings will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, so get there early to get your free tree, courtesy of owner/CEO Al Harper.

Ride the First Train of the Season!

You can ride the first (or second) train of the season to Silverton on Saturday, May 5. Board the first train departing Durango at 8:45 a.m. or the second one at 9:30 a.m. — the first Silverton passenger trains of the 2018 season. Costumed interpreters will be on board strolling from car to car, entertaining passengers with stories and historic tidbits.

Stay with us!

The Durango Econo Lodge Inn & Suites is located at 2002 Main Ave., a straight 1.2-mile shot north of the Durango depot in downtown. We’re a quick drive or an even easier trolley ride to downtown Durango and the Durango train depot. Come for Narrow Gauge Day, stay to ride the first Silverton trains on Saturday and spend Sunday exploring the town! Book your room at the Econo Lodge Durango today!
Mile Twelve band Durango Bluegrass Meltdown

Photo: Mile Twelve

As the snowmelt starts, so does the meltdown — the Durango Bluegrass Meltdown, that is. The annual Durango music festival is now in its 24th year, and the three-day weekend April 20-22 is filled with concerts, jam sessions, workshops and shows. You definitely don’t want to miss it because you’ll be missing out.

Venues

There are three main venues where bluegrass bands and acts will take the stage throughout the weekend: Henry Strater Theatre, Durango Arts Center and Wild Horse Saloon, although other venues include the Powerhouse Science Center, Animas City Theatre and the Durango Elks Lodge as well as a slew of bars and pubs around town.

Lineup and Headliners

This year’s Meltdown lineup is massive with nearly 30 bands on the docket and massive names on the marquis. Headliners include the Becky Buller Band, the Molly Tuttle Band, The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys and Mile Twelve.

In 2016, Becky Buller made bluegrass music history when she won both instrumental and vocal categories at the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) awards, making her the first person ever to win both.

Molly Tuttle is an award-winning songwriter and singer who has toured extensively with her band at many prominent festivals including Rocky Grass Festival and Wintergrass Festival, and who received a 2016 IBMA Momentum Award as Instrumentalist.

The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys  are a 1940s-style Tennessee bluegrass quartet that “remain close to their musical roots by cranking out some of the tightest and hardest-driving traditional bluegrass you’ll find anywhere.”

Mile Twelve’s five members formed the band in 2014, and the group has made big moves in a short time. They won the 2017 IBMA Momentum Award and have been touring extensively through the U.S., Ireland and Canada, including sets at major festivals such as FreshGrass Festival, Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival and Thomas Point Beach Bluegrass Festival.

Meltdown Highlights

Band Showcase
Noon-6 p.m., Saturday, April 21
Durango Elks Lodge

The Band Showcase has been a staple since the beginnings of the Meltdown. The showcase gives a stage to bands who might shy away from the spotlight or don’t feel ready for the “main stage.” And the showcase is a little more flexible when it comes to the bluegrass part of the Durango Bluegrass Meltdown; other toe-tapping music genres are welcomed and are always entertaining. Always a favorite during Meltdown, the showcase is also free to the public and will take place downstairs at the Durango Elks Lodge, from noon to 6 pm on Saturday.

Super Jam
7:30-10 p.m. Saturday, April 20
Henry Stater Theater

The name says it all: It’s a jam. It’s super. It’s Super Jam. Catch the in-the-moment music magic as musicians from different bands come together to jam. Get a bunch of pickin’, playin’, fiddlin’ musicians together, and you never know what will happen — or what kind of music they’ll make. Former Durango local and longtime bluegrass lover Annie Savage will be hosting the event and is sure to throw together some incredible collaborations for the stage.

Old Time Barn Dance
7:30-10 p.m. Saturday, April 20
Durango Elks Lodge

The Old Time Barn Dance is actually a newer addition to Meltdown — as in it’s only been around for 12 years. The barn dance is a family-friendly community favorite and has become a Meltdown must-do since it debuted in 2006. Six Dollar String Band will be playing tunes for you to kick up your heels and swing up your skirts in the Elks Lodge dance hall. Admission is free with either a Saturday or Weekend Meltdown Wristband, or it’s $10 at the door.

Durango Hotels

Whether you’re “with the band” or just want to see some bands, the Durango Econo Lodge Inn & Suites is your best bet for Durango Meltdown hotels. The Econo Lodge Durango is a hop, skip and jump north of downtown Durango, so the hotel provides easy access to all the different Meltdown venues. Book your room today and stay with us while you enjoy the shindigs and shenanigans!

rafting-695318_1280

Springtime means birds and bees, budding trees and allergies — dang, we’re poets over here at the Durango Econo Lodge Inn and Suites. But spring is also the season for Durango whitewater rafting.

As the snow melts off, the rivers rise — and that means it’s time to go rafting on the Animas River.

The Animas River is one of the prime rafting rivers in Colorado. Visitors of all ages and abilities can go whitewater rafting on the Animas because the river offers a wide range of rapids, from family-friendly to technical and somewhat terrifying. (OK, “terrifying” is a subjective term.)

The Lower Animas is better for easy floats because that stretch is less intense than rapids found on the Upper Animas. Depending on water levels and time of year, the Lower Animas is usually rated Class 2 to Class 3 rapids. Rafters will float along some nice, calm stretches while still getting to bounce through some exciting (but not terrifying) whitewater, such as the Pinball, Smelter and Santa Rita rapids.

Newbies may want to think about their options before taking on the Upper Animas River. This 12-mile stretch of river ranges from Class 3 to Class 5 rapids as it winds through the narrows of Animas Canyon, past several of the San Juan Mountains’ 13,000-foot peaks. When the water is running high, the Upper Animas ranks as one of the nation’s most advanced stretches of commercial river. Adrenaline-pumping rapids on the Upper Animas include sections called “Dinner Gorge” and “Lunch Box.” Yikes.

Durango is the perfect home base for your whitewater rafting trip. Water levels are usually highest in May and June, but now is a good time to start planning your Durango rafting trip because floats do fill up. There are simply too many Durango rafting companies to list, so we won’t try, but there are some darn good ones to choose from. It’s kind of impossible to go wrong.

While you’re in Durango for your whitewater rafting trip or your summer vacation, you should stay with us at the Econo Lodge Inn and Suites Durango! We’re one of the best Durango hotels and getting even better under new ownership. We’re located on Main Avenue, just a short drive or quick trolley ride north of downtown Durango and only 30 minutes south of Purgatory Resort. So book your room with the Durango Econo Lodge today!