Take a sunrise tour of an ancient cliff dwelling
Located just over an hour from Durango, Mesa Verde National Park is one of the most unique National Parks in the nation. Spanning 52,485 acres and protecting nearly 5,000 known archaeological sites (including 600 cliff dwellings), it’s a place like none other, exuding mystery and unique beauty.
Hike or bike through Wetherill Mesa to visit some of the more secluded ruins, or take an amazing sunrise hike of Balcony House, one of the park’s most recognizable ruins. There are only four of these 90-minute sunrise tours offered throughout the year, two during the summer solstice (June 21st and 22nd) and two during the fall equinox (September 22nd and 23rd), making this experience highly coveted, despite the early hour. You’ll crawl through tunnels, climb ladders, and ascend a massive staircase of stone, just as the Ancestral Puebloans did. Book your reservation online at www.recreation.gov or by phone, at 1-877-444-6777.
Can’t make the sunrise tour? Ranger-led tours of the ruins are held everyday and offer an impressive inside look into the park’s sites. Tickets for ranger-led tours can be purchased at the Durango Welcome Center up to 48 hours in advance and must be purchased in advance.
Sip a cocktail at the site of Durango’s “strangest shootout” or see if you can make it into Durango’s only speakeasy
After the physical adventures, be sure to take a cocktail adventure. Stop by El Moro Spirits and Tavern for a unique cocktail served in the same saloon where Durango’s then-marshal shot and killed the sheriff in what’s been dubbed “Durango’s Strangest Shootout.” Or visit The Bookcase & Barber, a cozy speakeasy hidden behind a barbershop that TastingTable.com named one of “The World’s Best Bars for Bookworms.”