Blue Lake Ranch provides guests with a great home base for all their adventures and things to do in Durango. The Ranch also provides acres of lawns and woods with paths along the Lake, great places to view birdlife, wildlife, native vegetation and groomed gardens. Fishing for trout in the lake is fun for young and old alike, as well as spotting the Western Painted Turtles, Colorado’s state reptile which thrives in this very healthy lake. Blue Lake Ranch guests also have access to a private mile of Gold Medal Fishing on the Animas River just 30 minutes from the Ranch.

Winter finds guests enjoying cross country skiing, snow shoeing or sledding at the Ranch, and downhill skiing or tubing just 10 minutes away at Ski Hesperus. This great little ski area is open for night skiing until 9pm several nights a week.

The Ranch has a great selection of movies and educational videos and books along with classic games for guests to enjoy in their rooms. We even supply the popcorn!

We have put together a list of some of the best activities in Durango area. Whatever thrills you, we are sure to have something for everyone.

Mesa Verde National Park Cliff Palace

Mesa Verde National Park

Full-day or Half-day
Considered one of the world’s premier historic sites, the park enchants visitors with twisting canyons, scenic views, and outstanding archeological ruins. Mesa Verde covers the full spectrum of Anasazi development, from primitive pit houses to well-preserved cliff dwellings that adorn the canyon walls.

Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Park

Half-day
Adjoining the 53,000-acre Mesa Verde National Park is an undiscovered adventure, the 600,000-acre Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Park, stretching from south of Cortez and Mesa Verde National Park to the State line and east to an area just 8 miles south and 8 miles west of Blue Lake Ranch. Ute Tribal members lead tours to archeological sites similar to MVNP sites, the main difference, however, is their sites are as they have been for the last thousand years with only stabilization efforts. The sites are considered sacred and having the Tribal guide makes this tour a very special opportunity to learn about Ute history and culture.

Historic steam train on a mountain pass

The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

Full-day or Half-day
In continuous operation since 1882, the world-famous Narrow Gauge Railroad offers its riders an unforgettable trip into the San Juan National Forest to the small mining town of Silverton. Trips include the Durango to Silverton Classic, Cascade Canyon Express, and offers special excursions year-round such as the Polar Express and the Brew Trains.

San Juan Skyway

Full-day or Half-day
Spend a day driving the circle from the ranch through Durango, Silverton, Ouray, Ridgway, Telluride, Dolores, Mancos and back to the Ranch. This 5 to 8-hour road trip is sure to impress. The mountain air is fresh and the views are breathtaking. This trip is especially spectacular in the spring, summer, and fall.

Person in an inflatable canoe going downstream in a river

Rafting & Jeep Tours

Full-day or Half-day
A great selection of Colorado Rafting and Jeep Tours.

Ziplining with Soaring Colorado

Full-day or Half-day
Looking for the longest zip lines in the US? How about the world?! Soar over the San Juan Mountains on 27 different zip lines that range from 56 to 1,400 feet in length (longest zip line course in the US). Over a mile and a half of cable on this Colorado Zip Line will carry you across the Animas River and through majestic Old Growth Ponderosa Pines and beautiful Aspen Groves.

Ride the Alpine Slide at Purgatory Ski Resort Area

Full-day or Half-day
The slide is fun for all ages during the summer months! Feel the fresh mountain air as you speed down the track, or take a leisurely ride and enjoy the spectacular views for more than a half-mile descent. Purgatory’s legendary Alpine Slide is fun for the whole family. Equally thrilling are the many bike trails down the mountain. Other summer fun activities include the Purgatory Plunge Zipline, Mountain Coaster, Big Airbag Jump, Scenic Chairlift, Adventure Ropes Course, Gyro Chair, Bungee Trampoline, Paddle Boards & Boats, and Climbing Wall. The half-mile slide is open daily 9:00 am – 4:00 pm, June 1 through August 21. Weekends August 21 to October 9. Call for rates.

Man riding a mountain bike off road

Pedal The Peaks Bike Shop

Full-day or Half-day
Pedal The Peaks Bike Shop offers Mountain Bike Rentals, Townies, Road Bikes, Kids Bikes, Tag-a-long Bikes, Kids Trailers, Hardtail Mountain Bikes, Fat Tire, Road Bikes, Performance Dual Suspension Bikes, Premium Dual Suspension Bikes, E-Bikes and Go-Pros, as well as an extensive knowledge of bike trails in the area. If you call or visit them, be sure to mention you are staying with us at Blue Lake Ranch for a 10% discount.

Golfing

Full-day or Half-day
If you’re looking to improve your golf game while you’re visiting here, try teeing off at one of the many golf courses in Durango, CO. These resorts and clubs offer the most luxurious atmosphere for practicing your swing; with beautiful mountain views and relaxing places to cool off, you’ll love spending an afternoon golfing in the area’s scenic golf courses.


Fisher men holding their prized catch

Fishing

Full-day or Half-day
Blue Lake, the ranch’s private lake, is stocked with Trophy Rainbow and Brook Trout. We have a catch and release policy (please use barbless hooks). There is also fishing along the La Plata River, and at Shirley’s parents’ ranch on the Animas River where there are two miles of excellent private fishing. The ranch is also less than an hour from the San Juan and Dolores Rivers. Fishing guides are available at:

Dog sledding in winter

Silver Mountain Dog Sled Tours

1½, 2, or 4-Hour Rides
Hesperus locals Gretchen and Gregg are seasoned guides who have been training and running dogs for over 10 years. They offer half-day and full-day tours in both summer and winter seasons. Join them for a dog-powered exploration of the snowy peaks of southwest Colorado. The thrill of being whisked along the trail by Siberian and Alaskan huskies is a feeling you will not forget.

Horseback Riding

Full-day or Half-day
Magnificent horseback riding adventures in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains will bring you through spectacular aspen groves, tall pines, and mountain meadows where wildlife has been known to stroll right across your path.

Pleasant Journey Alpacas

Half-day
Pleasant Journey Alpacas (established 2007) is located in beautiful Hesperus, CO (only 3 miles from the ranch) and is proud to be a “hands-on” breeder of quality alpacas. They are proudly the largest alpaca ranch in southwest Colorado! They are a medium size breeder but BIG on dedication to their alpacas, and to the constant improvement of the herd. With a visit to the ranch, you can enjoy meeting the Alpacas and shop the store!

Man skiing down a mountain

Purgatory Resort Ski Area

Full-day
Purgatory Resort offers a unique blend of steep tree skiing trails and wide-open cruisers with stunning views in the rugged San Juan Mountains. Enjoy the most reliable snow conditions in the Southern Rockies. More than 20 feet of legendary powder blankets the Mountain each season. Located 25 miles north of Durango on Hwy 550.

Hesperus Ski Area

Full-day
Hesperus Ski Area offers 26 trails on 60 skiable acres, with 150 inches of annual snowfall. The double chair lift takes skiers and riders up to the 8,888′ summit. Known as the largest night skiing operation in the southwest, Hesperus also offers tubing, rentals and ski school lessons.

Snowmobiling

Half-day
What better way to enjoy the San Juan Mountains, La Plata Mountains, San Juan National Forest or Weminuche Wilderness in the winter than from a snow machine? Guided tours of 1 to 4 hours are available.

Woman relaxing in a hot spring

Trimble Hot Springs

Full-day or Half-day
Located six miles north of Durango at 6475 County Road 203. Trimble Hot Springs has mineral-rich hot therapy pools, an Olympic size outdoor heated swimming pool (currently closed till August 2019), hot sauna, massage therapy, herbal wraps, and other spa offerings for relaxation. The powerful healing qualities of Trimble Hot Springs were well known to members of the Southern Ute Indian tribe before the first white man settled here. Pioneer Frank Trimble swore the mineral water helped him to stop smoking cigarettes. General admission is reasonably priced.

Roulette wheel

Sky Ute Casino

Sky Ute Casino Resort is open 24 hours a day and offers hundreds of slot machines, five blackjack tables, one three-card poker table, one craps table, a roulette wheel, and a 200 seat bingo hall. Plus, signing up for a Bear Club Membership Card at the Players’ Club offers you great benefits. In addition, Sky Ute Casino Resort now offers high stakes gaming on all table games and select slot machines! The Casino also has 4 restaurants available for your eating pleasure throughout the day and evening. Visit their website for more information.

The casino has a great historic themed restaurant called Seven Rivers Steak Seafood and Spirits with all the modern wonders of culinary advancements. The chefs will wow you from the exhibition kitchen, creating unique steak and seafood combinations, prime cuts, fresh vegetables, and ingredients, as well as the knowledge and secrets from Chefs who have traveled the world.

Watercolor landscape painting of mountains

Local Art Galleries

Durango has a nationally recognized art community with several galleries featuring local artists. A few of our favorites are listed below:

Cowboy hat and a guitar

Bar D Chuckwagon

Opens at 5:30pm, Dinner at 7:30pm, Show at 8:15pm to 9:30pm
The Bar D Chuckwagon is a western musical comedy show and barbecue beef supper for the whole family. There are shops and a miniature train for viewing. Shows run every evening, Memorial Day Weekend – Labor Day. Bar D Chuckwagon is located nine miles north of Durango on CR 250. Reservations are required.