Welcome to Durango Colorado!
Durango was one of the many towns on the skyway that thrived, and largely came about, as a result of the gold and silver rush of the 1880’s. It became a major rail connection for the area and soon became the largest town on the ‘Skyway’ with thousands of residents, electricity and even streetcars running down the middle of Main Avenue. Durango no longer counts its wealth in gold and silver but in its many attractions, activities and countless things to do. This is a true ‘mecca’ for visitors coming to enjoy adventure sports such as skiing, river rafting and downhill biking but also all manner of milder pursuits like hiking, fishing, sightseeing, wildflower hunting, birding and shopping. Durango is also the closest major town on the skyway to the amazing ruins of Mesa Verde and no trip to Durango would be complete without spending a day visiting the cliff houses and various dwellings carved into the ravines and escarpments of this archaeological gold mine.
Interactive Map of the San Juan Skyway.
Click a ‘Star’ on the map below or a ‘Colored Line Segment’ to learn more about that region of the skyway.
Places To Stay In Durango Colorado
Your ‘Classic’ accommodation in Durango
The downtown area of Durango is home to one of the most famous Inns in the South West.
The Place To Stay In Durango Colorado
Your ‘Classic’ accommodation in Durango
The Strater Hotel – Durango’s Iconic Landmark
Things To Do Near Durango Colorado
Durango – Beauty, Adventure and Culture
Among the endless opportunities to encounter history in and around Durango, for all-ages the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Train and Mesa Verde National Park offer unique experiences. The train’s main route is from Durango to Silverton but additional routes running from Rockwood to Cascade Canyon depending on the time of year. 35 miles west of Durango, Mesa Verde (Spanish for ‘green table’) is one of North America’s natural and ancient man-made wonders and the largest archaeological preserve in the U.S. Established as a national park in 1906 by congress and President Theodore Roosevelt, the history of Mesa Verde dates back to the time it was seasonally inhabited by nomadic Paleo Indians, starting around 7500 BCE, and then Archaic people moved in with semi-permanent rock shelters. By 1000 BCE a Basketmaker culture emerged that eventually became the Ancestral Pueblo culture.
Jeep tours around Durango are another way to check out lakes, tumbling waterfalls, rushing rivers, historic mining ghost towns and other sights in addition to viewing fall foliage. Mountain bike riding is another very popular way to enjoy stunning fall foliage. Southwest Colorado and the Durango area have some of the best mountain bike trail systems in the nation. Visiting a dude ranch in various seasons and between them is another great way for family members of all ages to engage tubing, archery, fishing, riflery, cross country skiing and other activities in addition to horseback riding. Durango’s spring season typically consists of snowstorms followed by sunny days where the temperatures get up into the high 50s and 60s. Springtime in Durango also is full of events like the Durango Bluegrass Meltdown dedicated to bluegrass music that is so popular in Durango.
Animas Mountain is just a moderate 5-mile hike from Durango with views of the Animas Valley and Animas River. From Durango, within a few miles of driving, it’s easy to get to and explore part of the 469-mile Colorado Trail. Oher trailheads like those for the Goulding Creek Trail and Emerald Lake are a bit further away. The trailhead for Emerald Lake in the Weminuche Wilderness is about 15 miles north of Durango. In addition to being a paradise for hikers, the Durango area is a playground for adventurous rock climbers. From beginners to advanced rock climbers, bouldering around Durango has some of the best and scenic choices anywhere in the Rockies. Durango even has an indoor climbing gym where experts and beginners alike can go to improve their skills.
The original plan consisting of grid streets for Downtown Durango remains intact today. Durango’s historic residential district and Downtown Durango both reflect the Victorian heritage of the town. Animas City, now called Uptown Main, was eventually incorporated into Durango. In the early 1880s thousands of settlers poured into the area in response to a newspaper advertisement hailing Durango as the “New Denver of the Southwest.” By the early 1880s the more than 100 businesses included at least 20 saloons.
Articles Relating to the Town of Durango
As new mining claims were discovered in the 1870s and the population of the San Juans mushroomed, so did the need for an economical, year-round transportation system. Most of the ore from mines discovered was not yet shipped out by the mid-1870s.
Heading south on Hwy 550 from Ridgway to Ouray, the panorama is full of summits and jagged ridges of the Uncompahgre Wilderness. The very pretty Victorian mountain town of Ouray, tucked beneath a dramatic granite amphitheater…
Leaving Durango, Fort Lewis College sits on a bluff above the town. The college has unique origins, history and mission that visitors to the area should know about. In 1891, Fort Lewis was decommissioned and converted into a federal, off-reservation boarding school.