Located in the southwest corner of Colorado, Durango blends history and rugged charm with the natural beauty of a Western mountain town.
For nearly 140 years, the Durango & Silverton has taken passengers between its namesake cities. The tracks wind through the forests and mountains beside the Animas River and, along the way, students can take in the sights from the vintage rail cars. Travel planners also should make time to visit the rail company’s museum at the downtown depot.
Mesa Verde, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site, is home to millennia-old rock formations and cave dwellings. The national park’s roads lead to some of the thousands of well-preserved structures that were built during the heyday of the ancient Puebloans, from the 6th to the 12th century. The ranger-led tour of Cliff Palace is a highlight.
“Durango’s blue skies, majestic peaks and crisp clean air also make it a perfect base camp for outdoor adventure,” says Wilson. “From mild to extreme, the area features all the ‘ings’—soaring, rafting, biking, hiking, fishing, skiing, snowmobiling and climbing (rock and ice).”
Many of those activities can be enjoyed in the rugged San Juan National Forest, which is home to hundreds of miles of world-class mountain biking and hiking trails as well as rock climbing and skiing spots.
Top Educational Attractions
The Durango Fish Hatchery and Wildlife Museum
Bar D Chuckwagon
Top Recreational Attractions
Soaring Tree Top Adventures
Top Local Festivals
Animas River Days (June)
Music in the Mountains (July)
Top photo: Mesa Verde National Park
Photo by Pat Henderson