What was once a rugged 19th century railroad way station of box tent and hardy souls searching for precious metals, has become a tourist Mecca for those seeking active, healthy, year-round recreation. Although early Spanish explorers named the river running through this vibrant town of 14,800 people, Rio de Las Animas Perdidas or "The River of Lost Souls," no one seems lost anymore. It's a fact that Purgatory, once known as both Durango Mountain Resort, and Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort, is convenient to reach, with five major airlines serving the modern Durango Airport. There's lots to do and plenty of services and amenities in this developing area, even sporting equipment delivery services available for those enthusiasts who prefer not to be travel-burdened with skis, snowboards, mountain bikes or golf clubs.
In winter, the renowned resort awaits a mere 25 miles north of town. With 2,500 acres of terrain, served by more than11 lifts, and 2,029 feet of vertical drop to explore, there's plenty of powder skiing and riding for everyone, usually sans the crowds. Learn more about this area with details on the Ski Experience and Snowboarding Zone.
Most visitors are pleased to find that lodging is quite reasonably priced for a destination resort. After a day on the slopes, many guests enjoy heading back to the summit at nightfall for a bit of star gazing through one of Colorado's largest telescopes. In town, couples may enjoy a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride along the historic byways, followed by dinner. No matter your choice of cuisine—from French to authentic "Chuck wagon"—the town's talented chefs and genuinely friendly staff please all palates.
Last, and by no means the least, taking a scenic excursion on the famed Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is not to be missed. Pulled by a 120 year-old steam engine, the historic passenger cars are comfortable and offer unsurpassed views of the river valleys and the San Juan National Forest. A first-class family activity, guaranteed to please.
Located in southwest Colorado at the crossroads of US Highways 160 and 550, the town is just 20 miles north of the Colorado-New Mexico border. Getting there is scenic and adventurous. We recommend flying into the Albuquerque International Airport.
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