Durango offers so much to enjoy across its magnificent mountains, rivers and plains for all seasons.
If you fancy mixing great Wild West culture with the great outdoors, then a trip to Durango should be high on your to-do list. Nestled in the southwestern Four Corners region of Colorado, Durango is a historic, quaint and colourful town that’s easy to reach and charms visitors with its beautiful, diverse surroundings and Old West heritage.
Historic Town Centre, Restaurants and Galleries
Situated just 20 minutes from the well-served Durango-La Plata County Airport, and a hub for nearby sporting and historical pursuits, Durango was founded in the days following the Gold Rush. Sitting on the banks of the lovely Animas River, it has a laid-back, Southwestern atmosphere and walkable town centre lined with restaurants, pubs and cafes.
Not surprisingly, there is also a significant Native American influence found in Durango’s dozen art galleries including Sorrell Sky and Toh-Atin. The town was home to the Native American Ancestral Puebloans long before it was founded in the 1880s during the great rail expansion. Cliff dwellings of the ancient pueblo people can still be found by taking a sight-seeing excursion into the nearby Mesa Verde National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Historic Strater Hotel
Checking in to the Historic Strater Hotel in the heart of downtown Durango is a brilliant way to add authentic Western ambience to your stay. The hotel, which was built just six years after the town was founded, retains much of the antique furnishings and houses one of the Wild West’s original ragtime piano bars, the Diamond Belle Saloon. The saloon is still going strong with honky-tonk entertainers, decked-out dance hall girls and bartenders clutching bottles of whiskey, ready to pour. You’re sure to have a fantastic night as soon as you pull up a barstool.
Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
Just a couple of blocks away, hop aboard the historic Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad for a year-round journey back in time to the age of steam, and discover the incredible beauty of the Animas River Canyon and 14,000-foot peaks of the surrounding San Juan Mountains. You can also combine the rail trip with other exciting adventures such as mine tours, zip line tours, hiking, biking, horseback and ATV-riding.
A trip to Colorado really should include a half- or full-day’s fun paddling, taking on the rapids. White-water rafting in Durango is an absolute blast thanks to the Animas River. It’s made easy by companies like Mild to Wild Outfitters who know the area inside out and provide all the equipment and expert guidance you need to make sure your adventure on the rapids is both safe and memorable.
There are also brilliant trails you can enjoy like the 32-kilometer Hermosa Creek Trail, which lets you decide how to enjoy it best. Hiking, biking and horseback riding are among the most popular ways visitors take in the soaring sights, and this trail is considered one of Colorado’s best.
Durango offers a great mix of American Western history and limitless adventures. With stunning mountains, forests and plains all around, Durango will make you feel like a pioneer exploring the Old West.