Durango  is in the southwestern part of the Rocky Mountains state of Colorado. It is perhaps most famous for the historic narrow gauge railroad that connects Durango with Silverton. It is the largest town in southwest Colorado with a population of about 16,000. The people in Durango are very friendly and down to earth. Durango is situated a short drive from the “Four Corners”, where New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado meet. The surrounding landscape of Durango is diverse, spanning from red sandstone bluffs of the Animas River Valley to jagged peaks of the San Juan Mountains, a few of which rise to elevations over 14,000 feet. Durango is situated at 6,512 feet above sea level. Durango’s climate is actually quite moderate, with typical summer daytime highs in the 70s/80s, and nighttime lows in the 50s.
Durango has a long and rich history. The city was founded in 1880 by the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad. By July of 1882, tracks to Silverton were completed and the train began transporting both freight and passengers. The laborers were paid an average of $2.25/day. The Durango-Silverton Railroad was originally constructed to haul silver and gold ore, but passengers soon started to really appreciate the view. In 2006, the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad celebrated its 125th year of continuous operation and continues to be a favorite attraction on a Colorado sightseeing vacation.
Many of the buildings in historic downtown Durango were constructed with stone and brick due to a city ordinance enacted after a fire in 1889, which damaged several blocks along Main Avenue.
The Diamond Belle Saloon at the Strater Hotel opened its doors in 1957 and has a bullet hole in the far east drawer behind the bar.
In the recent past, there have been several well known movies made in Durango, including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, City Slickers, Cliffhanger, National Lampoon’s Vacation, Night Passage, Ticket to Tomahawk, Around the World in Eighty Days, How the West Was Won, and Tracker.
Durango/La Plata County Airport , to the southeast of town on US-160 and SR-172, has commuter air service from Dallas, Denver, and Phoenix.
The town is well connected by highways from all major compass points, but some care should be taken if driving here from the east via US Highway 160. This spectacular highway crosses high Wolf Creek Pass (nice ski area nearby) east of Durango, in an area that receives a great deal of snowfall, and is often closed for a time during the winter.
- Durango has many rental car agencies, a luxury motor-coach company, local taxi service, local buses and a downtown trolley. Durango is a small quaint town easy to get around on foot or bike.
Another great way to get around town is on the Durango "T." With friendly, convenient service the Durango "T" is a great, hassle-free way to get around town.
For the outdoor enthusiast, entrance to Durango's trail network, designed for all abilities and skill levels, is only a short walk or hike away.
Driving is also an excellent way to get to enjoy the scenery of the southwest. Durango has more than 1,000 public metered parking spaces for your convenience.
- Mesa Verde Tours, P.O. Box 909 Durango, Co. 81302, ☎ 970.247.8533, . 8am-9pm. The Four Corners Tour Specialist. Providing our guests with Historical Interpretive tours from the Ancestral Puebloan to the Historical Mining areas of Southwestern Colorado. Group and Private accommodations available. Year round tour offerings. $65 and up. edit
- Vallecito Lake. This lake is one of the biggest and most beautiful bodies of water in all of Colorado. Located in the San Juan National Forest, there is breath taking scenery year-round edit
- Durango Arts Center, 802 E. 2nd Ave, . Exhibits a diversity of media and artists. Live performances, educational programs, and art classes. edit
- Fort Lewis College, . Take in the “postcard view” of historic Durango and its surrounding valley and mountains by walking the Rim Trail or cruising Rim Drive, the road encircling the campus perimeter. McPherson Chapel, along the rim, is a favorite picnicking spot. Campus visitors also admire the college’s distinctive Mesa Verde-style architecture, numerous public art installations, and the Hesperus Peace Park edit
Durango’s setting and rich history make it a a great vacation spot with an endless variety of activities and attractions.
The Durango-Silverton train on the route back to Durango from Cascade where it stops during the winter time.
- Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort, . If you want a beautiful, fun family experience with the San Juan Mountains, head up just 25 miles north of town to Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort – Colorado. Family. Heaven. Purgatory is a family-centric ski area that has the resort feel of Aspen or Vail, and preserves a welcome, warm hometown local vibe. Covering 1,360 skiable acres, with 88 trails and 10 ski lifts, there are hardly ever any lines. At the base, you’ll find "The Beach," where there’s always music playing and families enjoying beverages, snacks and each other’s company, while watching skiers and boarders manage the slopes. With trails that offer something for every level of experience, from beginner to expert, the mountain is perfect for families, and caters to people of all ages. Besides all the spectacular amenities available for the whole family at the resort, there are many shops and restaurants to choose from in the town of Durango, just 25 miles away. Families can go up for just a day or stay longer at one of the many charming, classy condominiums. And, with the “Kids Ski Free Package,” families can stay three nights (with a 25% discount on lodging), and kids 12 & under ski absolutely free! The best part of Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort is that family fun doesn't end when ski season does. There are tons of hiking and biking trails, zipline, ropes courses, and the Alpine Slide to entertains the entire family all summer long, too.
- Durango & Silverton Narrow-Gauge Railroad, 479 Main Avenue, +1 888 872-4607, . This steam-gauge railroad is one of the great scenic railroad lines of the United States. The train runs round trip tours to the mountain town of Silverton, with time for sightseeing at the far end. This is an all day adventure as the travel time in each direction is three-and-a-half hours with a two hour stopover in Silverton. The route passes through superb scenery along the Animas River and in the appropriately named "Needles" range of the San Juan Mountains, passing close to three of Colorado's "Fourteeners," mountains with summits above 14,000 feet. Intermediate stops close to the Needles are popular with backpackers and climbers heading into the mountains. The train itself is gorgeous to look at, both inside and out; choose between one of the enclosed cars and its fine old woodwork, or an open-air car with extra viewing opportunities (and lots of cinders in the air from the steam engine—not recommended if you wear contacts or are unwilling to get a little grit in your clothes). Reservations are a must.
- Historic Durango. You can walk around and get the feel of the old West. Downtown Durango is home to historic boutique hotels and art galleries that feature paintings and sculptures of a Western theme,and shops where you can buy toy figures of cowboys, cowboy hats, and all articles of clothing that Durango images.
- Rafting and Jeep Tours, 50 Animas View Dr, ☎ 800 567 8652, . Wild Rafting & Jeep Tours offers half and full day excursions edit
- Gamble, 1432 Highway 72 N, ☎ 800 585 1729. Go to the Sky Ute Casino and relax in luxury! It offers a Las Vegas style casino, dining, bowling, and entertainment. edit
- Zipline, ☎ 970 729 8420, . Soaring Treetop Adventures offers an all-day, family-friendly zipline adventure in the Durango mountains that is fun and safe for all ages. edit
- Rock Climb & Rappel, . Visit Southwest Adventure Guides and book a half or full day of climbing at the various Durango rock climbing sites edit
- Durango Arts Center, 802 East Second Avenue, Durango, CO 81301, ☎ (970) 259-2606, . 10 am - 5 pm. Created and sustained by the people of the Four Corners region, the Durango Arts Center promotes the exploration, education, enrichment and enjoyment of the arts. The arts center offers plays, exhibits, and a shop. edit
Durango has over 500 retail stores offering everything from outdoor gear for your camping trip, to southwestern art and homespun honey.
- Main Avenue in downtown Durango is a well-known shopping area.
- Durango Mall, 800 S. Camino Del Rio, +1 970 259-3603, . Standard strip mall tenants, like Linens N Things, Pier 1 Imports, JC Penney, Kay Jewelers, and Sears.
- Durango Silver Company, Hwy 61, ☎ 9703754100, . Hand crafted jewelry since 1976 edit
- Gardenswartz, 863 Main Ave, ☎ 9702596322. Get all your gear for the great outdoor activities Durango has to offer! Includes clothing, gear, shoes, and climbing necessities edit
- La Plata Gifts, 501 S. Camino De Rio, ☎ 97-4427765. Unique, affordable gifts to bring back for friends and family, or for yourself to remind you of your stay in Durango edit
- D. Robert Smith Jewelry Design Studio, 863 1/2 Main Ave, Suite 8 (2nd floor, Gardenswartz Building, SW Corner 9th & Main), ☎ 970-247-3947, . 10-6 Tues-Friday. Handcrafted Gemstone Jewelry, Jewelry Repair, Gems, Stone replacement and repairs, Inlay repairs, Custom Designed Jewelry, Specializing in Native American Indian Jewelry repairs edit
- Blu Boutique, 651 Main Ave, Durango, CO, ☎ (970) 259-9554, . Stay on trend and in style with the latest women's fashion. edit
Durango has many award-winning restaurants. The food is delicious as many of the dishes include some of Durango's locally grown food, like beef, wild game, honey, fish, and cheeses. Since Durango is in the Southwest, it has several authentic Mexican restaurants.
- Ken & Sues, 636 Main Avenue, +1 970 385-1810, .
- Brew, 117 W. College Drive, +1 970 259-5959, . 11AM-12PM. $7-$19.
- Durango Diner, 957 Main Avenue, ☎ +1 970 247-9889 ([email protected]), . edit
- East By Southwest, 160 E. College Drive, +1 970 247-5533, . $7-$30.
- Olde Schoolhouse Cafe, 46778 Highway 550, +1 970 259-2257.
- Olde Tymer's Cafe, 1000 Main Avenue, +1 970 259-2990.
- Serious Texas Bar-B-Q, +1 877 259-9507, . Main location: 3535 North Main Avenue, +1 970 247-2240. Secondary location: 650 S Camino Del Rio, +1 970 259-9507. Daily 11AM-9PM. Excellent barbeque, with large portions and delicious food. The main location has a great atmosphere, with plenty of signs and memorabilia from Texas, without overloading you. $4-$6.50.
- Tequila's Mexican Restaurant, 948 Main Avenue, +1 970 259-7655.
- Steamworks, 801 E. 2nd Ave, ☎ +1 970 259-8830. Award-winning beers that are brewed as you watch! Enjoy all the peanuts you can eat that come out before your meal. You can even throw the penaut shells on the ground! Fun for family and friends. edit
- Francisco's, 619 Main Ave, ☎ +1 970 2477472. Great, award-winning Mexican food! It is Durango's oldest family owned restaurant since 1968. edit
- Bar D Chuckwagon. Enjoy authentic old west entertainment under the stars. After dinner the Bar D Wranglers take to the stage to entertain with their famous stage show of cowboy songs, poetry, and comedy. edit
- Steamworks Brewing Company, 801 E. 2nd Avenue, +1 970 259-9200, .
- Ska Brewing Company, 545 Turner Dr, ☎ (970) 247-5792, . edit
- Carver Brewing Co., 1022 Main Ave, ☎ +1 970 259-2545, . edit
- Ore House Steakhouse & Bar, 147 E. College Drive, ☎ 970 247 5707, . edit
- Best Western Durango Inn & Suites, 21382 Highway 160, +1 970 247-3251 (fax: +1 970 385-4835), . Check-In: 2PM, Check-Out: 11AM.
- Comfort Inn & Suites, 455 S. Camino Del Rio, +1 970 259-7900 (fax: +1 970 259-7901), . Check-In: 3PM, Check-Out: 12PM.
- General Palmer Hotel, 567 Main Avenue, +1 970 247-4747, . $85-$275.
- Holiday Inn, 800 Camino Del Rio, +1 970 247-5393 (fax: +1 970 259-4201), .
- Rochester Hotel, 721 E. 2nd Avenue, +1 970 385-1920, . Boutique Historic Hotel with Hollywood Western motif and free WiFi.
- Strater Hotel, 699 Main Avenue, +1 970 247-4431, .
- Doubletree Hotel, ☎ 970 247 6510, . Picture perfect hotel nestled in the San Juan mountains edit
- Jarvis Suite Hotel, ☎ 970 259 7190, . edit
- #1 Cabin in La Plata County. Relax in the Rocky Mountains in the heart of La Plata Canyon. The ultimate luxury river front cabin. edit
- Apple Orchard Inn. Bed & Breakfast. Four Diamond Property with ponds, streams & beautiful gardens. edit
- Abbey Inn, 2391 Main Ave, ☎ 970-247-0593. checkin: 3PM; checkout: 12PM. A clean and comfortable value motel that is family-friendly, offering a riverside park and playground. The Abbey Inn is a newly remodeled with either queen beds or new king beds and family rooms. edit
- EconoLodge Inn & Suites, 2002 Main Ave, ☎ 970-247-4242, . checkin: 3pm; checkout: 11am. Free breakfast, free wi-fi and Simmons Beauty-rest pillowtop mattresses in every room. edit
- Antlers on the Creek Bed & Breakfast, 999 Lightner Creek Rd, Durango, CO 81301, ☎ (970) 259-1565, . checkin: 3-6 pm; checkout: 11 am. Luxury Durango bed and breakfast 10 minutes from downtown overlooking Lightner Creek. Family friendly rooms and romantic suites. 169-219. edit
- Vallecito Lake  is located 23 miles northeast of Durango. It offers fishing, boating, hiking trails and horseback riding in the summer. Hunting for elk and deer is also available with fully equipped guide services.
- Mesa Verde National Park  makes a reasonable day trip from Durango.
- San Juan Skyway  is a 236 mile journey through southwestern Colorado and connects the towns of Durango, Silverton, Ouray, Telluride and Cortez.
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