Explore the Wild West: Top Things to Do in Durango, Colorado
Durango, Colorado, is a scenic mountain town in the southwestern state, nestled in the San Juan Mountains. It is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts who experience the area’s stunning natural beauty.
With an elevation of 6,500 feet, Durango offers a mild climate and a wealth of activities for visitors of all ages.
One of the most popular things to do in Durango is to ride the historic Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, which takes passengers on a scenic journey through the San Juan Mountains. The train winds through steep canyons, past waterfalls, and beautiful forests.
This historic railroad was built in the 1880s to transport gold and silver ore from the mines in the area, and it still operates today as a tourist attraction.
In addition to the railroad, Durango offers many other outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, rafting, and skiing. There are numerous trails in the area for novice and experienced hikers, and many offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
For those who prefer biking, there are several mountain biking trails in and around Durango. Visitors can hit the slopes in the winter at the nearby Purgatory Resort, which offers skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing.
Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde National Park is a National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the Four Corners region of the United States. It is the most significant archaeological preserve in the United States.
It is the home of over 5,000 archeological sites, including 600 cliff dwellings. In addition, the park protects the ancient cultural heritage of 26 Pueblos.
The best time to visit Mesa Verde is in the spring or fall. In addition to its natural beauty, the park is a great place to see wildlife. It is home to prairie rattlesnakes, woodhouse toads, and colorful collared lizards. The park is also home to mule deer and cottontail rabbits.
The park has trails for visitors to hike through. There are three main trailheads within the park. You can explore the trails on your own or join a ranger tour.
Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
Located in Durango, Colorado, the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad has been in service for over 140 years. This train is one of the most popular heritage railroads in North America. It is also a National Historic Landmark.
Initially, the Durango and Silverton Narrow-Guage Scenic Railroad was built to haul gold and silver ore between mining towns in the San Juan Mountains. In addition to running trains, it has also been used as a film set for numerous Western movies.
The line runs along the Animas River, which crosses the route five times. The scenic railroad is also known as the Durango Train.
The railroad’s main line, which runs between Durango and Silverton, is a three-foot narrow-gauge line that climbs nearly 3,000 feet in 45 miles. It travels at an average speed of 20 miles per hour.
Located on the historic Main Street of Durango, the Strater Hotel is one of the unique hotels in the West. Built in 1887 by Cleveland pharmacist Henry Strater, the Strater Hotel has been a Durango landmark for nearly 150 years. The historic building is a blend of Renaissance and Victorian styles.
The Strater boasts a variety of amenities and services, from room service to a full-service bar. The hotel is also home to the Henry Strater Theatre, one of the West’s oldest Vaudeville theaters.
The Strater Hotel is home to one of the largest American Victorian walnut antique collections. It is also a founding member of the Historic Hotels of America.
The Barker family has operated it for three generations. Rod Barker, the current owner, continues to maintain the standard set by his grandfather.
Durango Arts Center
Located in the heart of Durango, Colorado, the Durango Arts Center is a community hub for visual and performing arts. The nonprofit Center offers visual art exhibits, dance and theater performances, and educational programs.
The Center’s building was originally a car dealership but was renovated in 1997 to house a gallery, studio space, and theater. The Center presents more than ten exhibits yearly, including paintings, sculptures, photography, and pottery.
The Center’s Theatre program produces a busy season with plays that inspire actors and audiences. In addition, several family shows are performed each year. The Theatre also hosts kids’ follies, which are held during the annual Snowdown Festival.
The Center also hosts Movies in the Park, a free, family-friendly movie series, twice a month during the summer. This program includes a pre-show with hands-on activities, a family-friendly film, and a unique exhibition.
Located in Durango, Colorado, Gudy’s Rest is a landmark worthy of a name. It is a popular local hike and a good reference point for the trail-minded traveler. It was named after the late great Gudy Gaskill, who was a crucial figure in the development of the Colorado Trail.
The Gudy’s Rest hike is one of the most picturesque of the area’s many trails. There are several reasons for the area’s popularity. First, the trails are easy to access, and the ambiance of the San Juan Mountains is second to none. In addition, the tracks themselves are ideal for snowshoeing in winter.
The hike is only eight miles roundtrip, and the scenery is dazzling. Gudy’s Rest is a worthy stop on the way to another Durango icon, High Point.