Situated in Southwest Colorado, Durango is flanked by diverse and dramatic landscapes, from the Animas River Valley’s sandstone bluffs to the San Juan Mountain’s jagged peaks. Unparalleled access to the great outdoors, cherished Western traditions and a growing collection of on-trend shops and eateries make the town a perfect place to visit year-round.
Mountain biking, whitewater rafting on the Animas River, hiking through fields of wildflowers — the opportunities to uncover Colorado’s unspoiled wilderness in Durango are endless. Go fishing at 7,800 feet in the sapphire-blue waters of Vallecito Lake or immerse yourself in the rugged beauty of the San Juans on horseback. During the winter, more than 92 ski runs, five terrain parks and 1,525 acres of skiable terrain await at family-friendly Purgatory Resort. Other cold-weather activities include snowmobiling, dogsledding and snowshoeing.
Founded in 1880 by the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad, Durango continues to honor its Old West heritage in many ways. Visitors can still board the historic 1880s Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad for a 45-mile trip through the majestic San Juans to the old mining town of Silverton and take a walking tour of downtown Durango, a National Historic District lined with shops, eateries and hotels housed in 19th-century buildings.
Durango is the archeological hub of the Southwest. For a peek into ancient cultures, visit the archaeological wonders and ancient cave dwellings at nearby UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Mesa Verde National Park, Chaco Canyon National Park and Aztec Ruins National Monument. Mesa Verde National Park, just 35 miles west of Durango, is where the Ancestral Puebloan people lived more than 1,400 years ago. The park protects more than 5,000 known archeological sites, including 600 cliff dwellings. Drive farther west to Hovenweep National Monument to see six prehistoric villages built between A.D. 1200 and 1300 that once housed more than 2,500 people.
The town also boasts more restaurants per capita than San Francisco, making it an excellent destination for culinary-fueled getaways. Sit down for a hearty breakfast at a homegrown diner, taste Colorado beers at six microbreweries and brewpubs, sip spirits at two local distilleries, sample super-fresh, locally inspired fare at farm-to-table restaurants — there’s something to satisfy every craving.
There are plenty of lodging options in Durango. Slumber in a historic locale like the 1887 Strater Hotel, cozy up in a cabin with the family or pitch a tent under the stars at a scenic campground.