Snowplay in Durango, Colorado

Enjoy sunshine and skiing in Colorado's San Juans

Durango ski lift
Photo: Ebbe Roe Yovino-Smith

Why go in winter: This outdoors-loving town throws a great winter party―and there are plenty of snowy adventures in the nearby San Juans.

Beat the midwinter blues: Join the annual Snowdown Winter Celebration, with softball games on skis, a parade, and a scavenger hunt (Jan 27–31;

Elevation: 6,512 feet

Annual days of sunshine: More than 300

Population: 16,000

Meet the locals: College students, ranchers, environmentalists, and urban transplants lured by the mountains and the Animas River.

Dress code: Cowboy boots or ski garb

History lesson: The Denver & Rio Grande Railroad Company founded Durango in 1880 as a mining town to process gold and silver hauls.

Before you hit the slopes: Stop by Bread bakery for maple-oat scones (970/247-5100).

Best-seller list: Louis L’Amour wrote many of his novels in room 222 of the Strater Hotel (from $109, including breakfast;

Wild West happy hour: Stop by Strater’s Diamond Belle Saloon (970/247-4431).

More: What to do in Durango


Most Popular

  1. 53 favorite backyard projects

    Our favorite DIY patios, paths, trellises, planters, fountains, and more
  2. 10 raised bed garden ideas
  3. 20 favorite perennial flowers
  4. Top 45 hikes in the West
  5. 20 colorful plants for shade gardens