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Memorial Day Weekend in Durango

Memorial Day Weekend in Durango

HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND, DURANGO! It’s finally summer time (kinda) in Durango with hot temperatures, events and live music playing on every block. Whether you plan to go camping, hang out at Lake Nighthorse, watch the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic race or want to grill out with the family, here are a couple things you need to know about Memorial Day weekend in Durango, Colorado. As always, as you participate in activities around our little mountain town, be sure to tag us on Instagram and Facebook and #dodurango to be featured in our feed! 

If you plan on going camping…

Keep in mind that we are having a DRY season, so please don’t have a big ol bonfire in the backyard or have a campfire that is not contained if you plan on going camping over the long weekend. Check out the fire restrictions in La Plata County before you light anything.

Stage I Fire Restrictions are in place: The following acts are prohibited in the unincorporated areas of La Plata County and upon all lands owned by La Plata County, excluding those private lands in the Towns of Bayfield and Ignacio, the City of Durango, or any Federal or Tribal lands:

(a)  Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire, coal or wood burning stove, any type of charcoal fueled broiler, or open fire of any type in undeveloped areas, except that, as long as not left unattended and fully extinguished after use, the use of charcoal or gas barbecue grills at private residences or fires inside established fire rings with a crate cover on private property or within a designated campground are not prohibited; and

(b)  Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, in a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area that is at least 3 feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable vegetation; and

(c)  Using explosive material (i.e., fireworks, blasting caps, or any incendiary device which may result in the ignition of flammable material), except blasting in development areas or construction areas with continuous fire watch will be permitted with written authorization of the appropriate fire chief or the Sheriff of La Plata County, whomever has jurisdiction; and

(d) Welding and/or operating an acetylene or similar torch with an open flame, except that, as long as a fire watch individual is on site and readily available with proper hand tools and either one 2 ½ gallon pressurized fire extinguisher, one 5 pound ABC extinguisher, or pressurized water supply, welding and/or operating an acetylene or similar torch with an open flame in a 20-foot radius safe zone free of vegetation is not prohibited (welding and cutting operations related to oil and gas production are addressed in 3(c) below); and

(e)  Operating or using any internal combustion engine, except that operating or using any internal combustion engine equipped with an approved, properly installed, and properly maintained spark-arresting device meeting either Department of Agriculture, Forest Service Standard 5100-1 or Society of Automotive Engineers recommended practice J335(b) and J350 (a) is not prohibited; and

(f)  The use of floating sky lanterns, fire balloons or acetylene balloons.

La Plata County officials coordinate with federal, state, tribal and our local fire districts on fire restrictions.  

Local fire officials monitor weather conditions and fuel moistures throughout the year and will update accordingly if any significant changes occur.  Please remember to always fully extinguish your campfires.

The Iron Horse Bicycle Classic

The Iron Horse Bicycle Clasic race is an iconic symbol in Durango, Colorado. This race is 50 miles, has a 5,700 feet elevation gain and goes through 10,000 foot passes. This is the 50th year anniversary of the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic race so there is sure to be a celebration! Check out more information about the race HERE. 

Water, water and more water…

Vallecito Lake

Vallecito Lake is located just 45 minutes outside of Durango, Colorado. This is the ultimate hidden gem for all things boating, paddle boarding, fishing and camping. If you plan on spending your Memorial Day weekend on the lake and camping with the family, then this is the perfect place for you! We are all more than ready to celebrate the long weekend and Vallecito Lake is open for business. 

The Boat Ramp

The boat ramp located on the west side of the lake will be open. Also, note that you will need to be passing normal boat inspections and to be sure that you have a Colorado regulated registration as well as a day or annual permit for your boat. More information on how to register your boat in Colorado can be found here. Free boat inspections will be held at the marina before boat launching will be permitted to ensure no invasive species are on your boat. 


Fishing licenses can be purchased at the marina for either single day use or annual passes. However, at your convenience due to social distance restrictions, it is suggested that you purchase your license online. You can do so here on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website. 

Day Use Areas Open 

Day use areas will be open around the circumference of the lake, however you must purchase day passes in order to utilize these areas. You can purchase a day pass at any of the several pay stations around the lake, at the marina or you can visit the Pine River Irrigation District which is at the northern end of the lake. 

Lake Nighthorse

Lake Nighthorse is the optimal spot to go to if you’re planning on celebrating your Memorial Day weekend in town. Being just 15 minutes from downtown Durango, you get the best of both worlds by spending the day at the lake and having a family cookout in town! Check out the rules and regulations, hours of operation and more HERE!

Animas River

The Animas River is the perfect spot for a day by or on the water. Since the Animas runs all the way through the town of Durango, Colorado, you can pick any spot you would like to cool off and relax during your long holiday weekend. 


Have fun, stay safe and enjoy the Durango weather this weekend! Be sure to remember the true purpose of this holiday and keep in mind those that have fallen fighting for this country. 

For more local events, check out these calendars:

Happy Hour    Happy Hour    event Calendar



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