Scenic ride aboard the historic Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad train
Whitewater rafting adventure on the Animas River
Taking in the view while hiking the Spud Lake Trail in the fall
Skiing down the slopes on a winter day at Purgatory Resort
A leisurely paddle while enjoying the sights on Lemon Reservoir
Bird’s-eye mountain view looking over the town of Durango
Food truck fare and summer socializing downtown at 11th Street Station
Autumn mountain biking excursion in nearby Mancos
Cliff dwellings of the Ancestral Puebloans at Mesa Verde National Park
The historic Strater Hotel, a downtown landmark
- Major Airports:
- Durango-La Plata (DRO)
- Albuquerque (ABQ)
- Denver (DEN)
Durango, Colorado, the quintessential Old West mountain town
Old West Roots
Walking down Main Avenue, you’ll feel transported to a time when cowhands and outlaws roamed the streets. Iconic historic hotels have been carefully preserved and are decorated with early 1800 relics and fixtures. In fact, downtown Durango is recognized by the National Register as a Historic District. Another reflection of the town’s Old West past is the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. The steam-powered locomotive dates to the early 1800s, when it was used to transport ore from Silverton, Colorado. The train now takes visitors on the same tracks through the towering San Juan Mountains, along the Animas River and past awe-inspiring vistas and waterfalls.
Indigenous American Heritage
Situated in the hills 56 kilometers west of Durango, Mesa Verde Country is the archaeological heart of the USA. At Mesa Verde National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, see some of the most well-preserved cliff dwellings of the Ancestral Puebloans. Other notable places to see prehistoric, indigenous archaeology include the Ute Mountain Tribal Park, Hovenweep National Monument, the Anasazi Heritage Center, Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, Canyons of the Ancients and Chimney Rock National Monument. On the Fort Lewis College campus, the Center of Southwest Studies displays colorful Navajo and Pueblo art, handicrafts and artifacts.
Haven for Outdoor Enthusiasts
Adventures abound in and along the banks of the Animas River, which winds its way through Durango. Discover the city’s vast single-track mountain bike trail systems with direct access to the legendary Colorado Trail, which leads all the way up to Denver. Start with a day trip before committing to the 782-kilometer trek. About 32 kilometers from downtown, Purgatory Resort offers year-round activities with skiing and snowboarding in the winter and epic mountain biking in the summer.
Downtown Shopping, Art and Entertainment
Durango’s downtown thrives with historic hotels, such as The Strater, Rochester and General Palmer, in addition to restaurants, art galleries and boutique shopping. Festivals, live music and special events are held year-round and add a celebratory vibe. Craft beer drinkers can grab a cold one at Carver Brewing or Steamworks Brewing. Indulge in fine dining in an Old West atmosphere at the Ore House or enjoy a variety of cuisine offered by 11th Street Station’s food trucks. Don’t forget to stop at the Diamond Belle Saloon, revered as one of the most famous original ragtime piano bars in the Wild West, and El Moro Spirits & Tavern, site of “Durango’s Strangest Shootout” in 1906 between the sheriff and the city marshal.
The Animas River runs right through Durango, offering proximity to fishing spots with incredible mountain views, Class V whitewater rafting and lazy river floating.
Room 222 at the Strater Hotel is known as the "Louis L'Amour Room" after the famous Western author who wrote many novels there.
The San Juan Skyway, which features a stretch called Million Dollar Highway between Durango and Ouray, is considered one of the USA’s most scenic drives.
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