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Are you ready for an unforgettable Dallas to Durango road trip from the heart of Texas to the rugged beauty of Colorado? If you’re considering a road trip from Dallas to Durango, buckle up and get ready for an adventure-packed intinerary. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, adventure seeker, or simply looking to escape the city hustle, this Dallas to Durango road trip itinerary will guide you through scenic routes and exciting stops along the way. Plus, we’ll highlight some of the thrilling Durango tours offered by Colorado Outback Adventures once you reach your destination in Durango!

santa fe new mexico at sunset

Day 1: Dallas, Texas to Santa Fe, New Mexico

Kick-start your Dallas to Durango road trip adventure bright and early from Dallas. Before hitting the road, grab a delicious breakfast at one of Dallas’s iconic diners or cafes to fuel up for the journey ahead.

Mid-morning to Afternoon:
As you head northwest, make a stop at Palo Duro Canyon State Park, just south of Amarillo, Texas. Marvel at the stunning landscapes of the second-largest canyon in the United States, offering breathtaking vistas, hiking trails, and opportunities for scenic drives. Check out the Lighthouse Trail for one of the most iconic hikes in the park, or for a shorter family-friendly option, the Rock Garden Trail is an easy 2-mile loop winding though a scenic canyon floor, passing by towering rock formations, colorful cliffs, and ancient rock art created by indigenous people centuries ago.

Late Afternoon:
Continue your journey towards Santa Fe, New Mexico. Upon arrival, take a stroll through the historic Plaza, where you can immerse yourself in the vibrant culture, art galleries, and adobe architecture of this charming city. For art lovers, check out the New Mexico Museum of Art where you will marvel at the Pueblo-Revival style and experience the deeply ingrained culture of the Southwest. And while you’re in the historic plaza, make sure to stop by Burro Alley to experience some quaint eateries and browse the unique shops along this pedestrian-only street.

After checking into your accommodation in Santa Fe, treat yourself to a delicious dinner at one of the city’s renowned Southwestern restaurants. Santa Fe boasts some of the finest culinary options in New Mexico but while you’re there, make sure to stop by Sazón or Tia Sophia’s for authentic flavors of the American Southwest. Savor the New Mexican cuisine before settling in for a restful night for a another big day of your Dallas to Durango road trip.

Taos Pueblo with a mountain in the background

Day 2: Santa Fe, New Mexico to Durango, Colorado

Start your day with a hearty breakfast in Santa Fe at The Pantry or one of the many other tasteful diners in town before hitting the road towards Durango, Colorado. En route during your Dallas to Durango road trip, consider making a stop at the picturesque town of Taos, known for its historic adobe buildings, art scene, and the stunning Taos Pueblo. Taos is worth spending a few hours at enjoying the town’s charming atmosphere and make sure you stop by the Taos Pueblo, a historic Pueblo Indian settlement made famous by its religious significance and unique adobe structure, providing insight into the history of the American Southwest.

Mid-morning to Afternoon:
Continue your journey northward, passing through breathtaking landscapes as you cross into Colorado. Make a pit stop at Pagosa Springs, famous for its natural hot springs. Take a relaxing soak in the mineral-rich waters, surrounded by mountain views. For a family-friendly option, we like the Healing Waters Resort & Spa which features mineral-rich hot springs without any added chemicals. Soaking options include a large outdoor swimming pool, an outdoor hot tub, and separate men’s and women’s indoor hot baths.

Late Afternoon:
Arrive in town and check into your Durango lodging. Now that you’ve reached your destination, it’s time to explore and make arrangements for your chosen Durango activities!

aerial view of durango, colorado with mountains in the background

Dallas to Durango Road Trip: Things To Do Once You’re in Durango

Before diving into the adrenaline-fueled Durango adventures with Colorado Outback Adventures during your Dallas to Durango road trip, take some time to explore the charming town of Durango and the surrounding area. Here are a few must-see Durango attractions to add to your itinerary:

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad: Step back in time and embark on a historic train journey aboard the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Traverse breathtaking canyons and rugged mountains as the steam locomotive chugs along the Animas River. Choose from various excursions, including full-day trips to Silverton or shorter rides to Cascade Canyon.

Hiking and Scenic Trails: Lace up your hiking boots and explore the countless trails that wind through the San Juan National Forest surrounding Durango. From leisurely strolls to challenging treks, there’s a hike for every skill level. For a full day excursion, try the iconic Island Lake and Ice Lake via Ice Lakes Trail for the ultimate southern Rocky Mountain views. And for great views of the town of Durango, try the Animas Mountain Trail.

Scenic Drives: Take a leisurely drive along the San Juan Skyway, one of Colorado’s most scenic byways. Wind your way through towering peaks, past pristine lakes, and alongside cascading waterfalls as you explore the breathtaking beauty of the San Juan Mountains. Stop at overlooks along the way to soak in panoramic views and snap memorable photos.

Historic Downtown Durango: Wander through the charming streets of downtown Durango and discover a treasure trove of boutique shops, art galleries, and restaurants. Admire the well-preserved Victorian architecture and immerse yourself in the town’s rich history. Don’t forget to grab a scoop of homemade ice cream or sample local craft beers at one of the breweries.

Mesa Verde National Park: Venture just a short drive from Durango to Mesa Verde National Park, home to some of the best-preserved cliff dwellings in North America. Explore ancient Puebloan ruins, hike scenic trails, and learn about the fascinating history of the Ancestral Pueblo people who once called this area home.

a group of people on UTV's and ATV's in front of the san juan mountains in colorado

Colorado Outback Adventures: Durango’s Basecamp for Fun

Now that you’ve had a taste of the cultural and natural wonders awaiting you in Durango, it’s time to kick your adventure into high gear with Colorado Outback Adventures! Durango is an outdoor mecca, a place where visitors from all over the country come to recreate. And there is no better outfitter to show you the best Durango adventures than Colorado Outback Adventures.

White Water Rafting on the Animas River: Experience the adrenaline rush as you navigate the rapids of lower Animas River white water rafting. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rafter, Colorado Outback Adventures offers guided Durango white water rafting trips suitable for all skill levels.

Durango Jeep Tours: Embark on an off-road adventure through the rugged terrain surrounding Durango. Traverse mountain trails, explore ghost towns, and soak in panoramic views of the San Juan Mountains aboard a guided Durango Jeep tour.

Durango UTV Tours: Take control of your own off-road vehicle and venture deep into the backcountry on a Durango UTV tour. With Colorado Outback Adventures, you can explore remote trails, discover hidden gems, and experience the thrill of off-roading in the San Juan Mountains.

Durango Off-Road Vehicle Rentals: From Durango Jeep rentals to Durango UTV rentals, we offer a variety of different off-road vehicles that can be rented for a few hours up to multiple days. This very popular options is perfect for those who want to explore the Colorado backcountry at their own pace.

From the vibrant streets of Santa Fe to the adrenaline-pumping adventures of Durango, this Dallas to Durango road trip itinerary offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, cultural experiences, and outdoor excitement. Whether you’re drawn to scenic landscapes, historic landmarks, or heart-pounding adventures, this road trip from Dallas to Durango promises memories that will last a lifetime. So pack your bags, hit the road, and get ready for the ultimate Southwestern adventure!