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!

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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!

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Ah, Easter. Eating the ears off your chocolate bunny. Licking the center out of a Cadbury egg. Dying Easter eggs, hunting Easter eggs, cracking open plastic Easter eggs to find jellybeans and chocolate goodies inside. If you’re looking for things to do in Durango to celebrate this Easter, look no further because we rounded up the best Durango Easter happenings for your egg-hunting pleasure!

Ski-Easter at Purgatory Resort

Let’s just say the “SkiEaster” Bunny comes early at Purgatory Resort. Start your Durango Easter celebration early with Ski-Easter at Purgatory Resort, the resort’s own special way to celebrate the day. Ski-Easter kicks off at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 24, with a little kids’ Easter egg hunt on the tubing hill. Children will be divided into appropriate age groups to go find Easter eggs, which the SkiEaster bunny hid all over the hill. (Each group will hunt for different colored eggs to keep it even-Steven.) The event it open to kids of all ages!
New this year is an Easter egg hunt ON THE MOUNTAIN. Crazy, eh? This is a full-on, ski-in egg hunt. Take Lift 1 and head over to Animas City. There you’ll find an Easter egg hunt right in the terrain park. Once you arrive, step out of your skis or snowboard to race each other on foot through the park to find the eggs. Get on Lift 1 no later than 10:55 a.m., then follow Sa’s Psyche or West Fork over to arrive at Animas City in time for the hunt, which starts at 11:15 a.m. sharp.
Other Ski-Easter activities include a ski-through chocolate station from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. thanks for Rocky Mountain Chocolate Co. Just ski over to the picnic table at the bottom of El Diablo. Durango Joe’s will also be serving up free coffee and cocoa at a special Easter tent on the ski beach, so grab a hot beverage on your way to the lift!

PEANUTS™ The Easter Beagle Express Durango Train

Peanuts The Easter Beagle Express aboard the Durango Train is an annual Durango Easter tradition, and there’s no better way for you to celebrate Easter with your little kiddos. Hop aboard the Peanuts Easter train Saturday, March 31, for the special themed trip to Cascade Canyon. During the ride, attendants will be on board to help children as they enjoy games, crafts, music and prizes. An on-board musician will meander between two Easter-themed passenger cars playing songs and reading the “It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown” story to the kids.

At Cascade Canyon Wye, everyone can get off the train to take pictures with beloved Peanuts characters. After the train ride, kids can participate in an Easter egg hunt at the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge museum! All Peanuts Easter train passengers will also received a souvenir mug. This Durango train excursion is wildly popular, so make sure you book your tickets today!

Durango Easter Egg Scramble

The annual Durango Easter Egg Scramble is a hugely popular (and free!) event, and this year won’t disappoint. The Easter Egg Scramble will be held at 9:45 a.m., Saturday, March 31, at Smith Sports Complex at 1480 E. Eighth Ave. in Durango. The Easter Bunny will make a special appearance to start off the egg hunt for each age group, which will range from toddler to 8-year-olds. Kids can also take pictures with the Easter Bunny! Be sure to bring your basket to carry all your eggs and goodies, but leave your pets at home (pets are not allowed).

If you’ll be visiting Durango over Easter weekend or will be hosting family for the holiday, be sure to book a room (or two or three) with us at the Durango Econo Lodge Inn and Suites! Guests rate us among the best hotels in Durango, and we’ll be sure the Easter Bunny knows where to find your room. Book your stay today!

Kiss me, I’m Irish! No, really. I am. But we can skip the smooching and go straight to drinking green beer, it that works for you? Works for me!

Although our mountains aren’t emerald green like the rolling hills of Ireland and our Animas River isn’t neon green like the Chicago River (and our beer isn’t really green because…gross), locals and visitors alike still have plenty of things to do this St. Patrick’s Day in Durango.

Durango Train Shamrock Express

Get your green on and get aboard the Durango train for the Shamrock Express! The St. Paddy’s Day-themed Durango train trip will chugga-chugga choo-choo passengers to Cascade Canyon while they chugga-chugga Irish beer and drink specials.

Durango train Shamrock ExpressThe train departs at 9:45 a.m., Saturday, March 17. Before boarding and during the ride, passengers can enjoy live music by local Celtic group the Kitchen Jam Band, which will start off playing on the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad depot platform then move from car to car playing traditional Irish tunes during the trip.

Passengers can also buy a special, mint-chocolate St. Patrick’s beer: Mint-Night Express Stout by New Terrain Brewing Co. out of Golden, Colorado. Passengers can also order a special corned beef sandwich boxed lunch provided by The Yellow Carrot.

The Durango train will be decked out with Irish decorations, and passengers are encouraged to deck themselves out by wearing green or dressing in St. Paddy’s costumes — but (just like drinking) it is not required.

Pub Crawl

Why do they call it a “pub crawl?” Is it because you crawl from pub to pub, or is it because you’re crawling by the end of it? Both? Either way, downtown Durango is the perfect place to do a bit of bar-hopping to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Durango’s hip downtown is home to plenty of awesome bars and brewpubs all within easy walking (or crawling) distance. ireland-531137_1920

Naturally, your St. Paddy’s Day pub crawl must include a stop at the Irish Embassy Pub, 900 Main Ave. Fish and chips are on the menu, Guinness is on draft, and the specialty drink menu is heavy on Irish whiskey cocktails with names like Dublin Mule, Dublin Manhattan, Rory McIlroy, Embassy Wolfhound and Irish Red Setter. Swing by on Sunday, March 18th, to catch (or join) the pub’s weekly traditional Irish music jam session from 12:30-4 p.m.

Head a block north to Carver Brewing Co., the original Durango brewery, to try out their Irish stout. A couple blocks away is Steamworks Brewing Co., one of the renowned Durango craft breweries, where you can sip their Backside Stout or sample McDammit’s Scottish Ale (Scotland is close enough to Ireland, right?).

While you’re in Durango celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, we want you to be safe. Stay with us at the Durango Econo Lodge Inn and Suites! We’re located at 2002 Main Ave., which is pretty close to downtown — either during a brisk walk or a quick lift. We’re one of the best hotels in Durango! Book your room today so you can fully enjoy St. Paddy’s Day in Durango. (Kissing not included. Sorry.)