Purgatory is located in the San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado. About 26 miles north of the historic town of Durango, the resort is an inexpensive family destination that has gorgeous scenery combined with short lift lines and terrain options for all abilities.
Averaging 260 inches of snow a season, Purgatory Resort offers 1,605 acres of skiable terrain. The resort’s 12 lifts allow visitors to access 101 trails and 7 terrain parks.
The resort is also close to Mesa Verde National Park, an incredible ancient city and largest archaeological preserve in the United States. The park protects nearly 5,000 archeological sites, including 600 cliff dwellings.
The exact origin of the Purgatory name is disputed; some attribute the name to a 1776 Spanish expedition where several Spanish explorers were lost on the nearby Animas River. The bodies were never found, and the explorers named the river, “El Rio de las Animan Perdidas” or the River of Lost Souls.
Another theory is that miners who were trying to travel from Durango to Silverton would have to pay a toll to access the road. Miners who couldn’t afford the toll were stationed at area called Purgatory Flats because they were stuck in limbo between heading to Silverton or turning around and heading home.
During the summer, the mountain turns into a biker’s paradise with miles of cross country and downhill riding access from uphill trails or lifts. Other actives include a mountain roller coaster and music festivals.