If someone said out of the blue, “Go to Purgatory,” it would not be surprising to see some folks suddenly be confused, maybe even hurt. However, others might know exactly what that phrase means, and would respond with “Are we skiing or snowboarding?”

Those people in the know probably are ski or snowboard nuts, or live near Durango, Colorado. Purgatory Resort has been and continues to be one of the best, affordable destinations go-to for exceptional Colorado winter sports and recreation. The Rocky Mountain resort is famous for its big runs, heavy powder snow, and plenty of sun exposure for bright days. However, getting there can be a bit of a challenge for folks from out of town.

Driving to Purgatory

Purgatory Resort is located in the San Juan mountain range, and its closest city is Durango, about 30 minutes away. Basically, from Durango, the route goes up US 550 North for a half hour. The distance is not that far, about 27 miles, but going through the mountains can take a bit longer than a straight shot on the plains.

Flying to Purgatory

If coming from further outside and flying in, the best location is La Plata County Airport. This domestic airport connects with the big international hubs at Albuquerque, Denver, and Phoenix airports. A visitor will land some 41.5 miles to the south of Purgatory and then need a rental car or local transport for the remainder of the trip. Rental cars can be leased at La Plata County Airport, which is generally the smartest way to go with the greatest amount of convenience in terms of getting around on the ground. Just make sure they have four-wheel drive and include snow chains, as well as some instructions on how to install them as well. Snow and road ice can get pretty thick during the winter months in the area. However, for those who just want to get to the resort and have no plans to go anywhere else, there is a standing shuttle from the Airport to the Resort and back. Montrose County Airport might also be a cheaper landing destination, if you don’t mind a drive over the San Juan mountains and the Million Dollar Highway, through places like Ridgway, Ouray, Silverton.

Stops on the Way There

Durango is a great supply location and stop on the way to Purgatory. There is plenty to see in town, and lots of local amenities year-round. And for those who don’t want to stay at the Resort per se but want a bit more town feel, Durango offers lots of lodging at competitive pricing as well as shuttles to Purgatory daily. Plus, you’re not going to find it at the Purgatory Resort area, but the Durango Marijuana Dispensary is up and operating in town. Many folks stock up on groceries and needs locally for stays at apartments and timeshares and then spend their activity time at the Resort. Durango also offers options for entertainment, especially for those who aren’t necessarily motivated to be on skis or a snowboard, but still want to enjoy the Rocky Mountain region in winter and see the sights.

So, getting to Purgatory isn’t all bad, regardless of what religious teachings might say otherwise. Just make sure you have good tires on the vehicle and a clear day for seeing ahead on the road!