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North America > United States of America > Rocky Mountains (United States of America) > Colorado > Southwestern Colorado > Durango (Colorado)

Durango

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The train depot in downtown Durango from where you can catch the Durango-Silverton train

Durango is in the southwestern part of the Rocky Mountains state of Colorado.

Understand[edit]

Durango 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 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 6,512 feet above sea level.

History[edit]

Durango has a long, rich history. The city was founded in 1880 by the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad. By July 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 built to haul silver and gold ore, but passengers soon started to really appreciate the view. The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad 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 it has a bullet hole in the far east drawer behind the bar.

Several well-known movies have been 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.

Climate[edit]

Durango (1971-2000 normals)
Climate chart (explanation)
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Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation+Snow totals in inches
Source: WRCC, copied from Wikipedia
Metric conversion
JFMAMJJASOND
 
 
 
42
 
 
4
−11
 
 
 
37
 
 
8
−8
 
 
 
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17
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−10
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation+Snow totals in mm

Durango’s climate is fairly moderate in summer, with typical summer daytime highs in the 70s/80s (°F), and nighttime lows in the 50s.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

By car[edit]

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.

Get around[edit]

Map of Durango (Colorado)

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."

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.

See[edit]

  • 1 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 Vallecito Lake (Q49314750) on Wikidata
  • Durango Arts Center, 802 E. 2nd Ave, +1 970 259-2606, . Exhibits a diversity of media and artists. Live performances, educational programs, and art classes. Durango Arts Center (Q5316215) on Wikidata Durango Arts Center on Wikipedia
  • 2 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 Fort Lewis College (Q1438597) on Wikidata Fort Lewis College on Wikipedia
  • 3 Powerhouse Science Center, 1333 Camino del Rio, +1 970 259-9234. Durango Discovery Museum (Q5316216) on Wikidata Powerhouse Science Center on Wikipedia

Do[edit]

Durango’s setting and rich history make it 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.
  • 1 Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort. If you want a face to face experience with the San Juan Mountains head up 25 miles (40 km) north of town to Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort. A ski area that has the glitzy feel like that of Aspen or Vail yet it still has a hometown local vibe with "The Beach" at the base where there is always music playing and people enjoying a beer while watching people ski and board down the slopes. With trails from beginner to expert this mountain is great for families and people of all ages. There are many shops and restaurants to choose from. You can go up for a day or stay at one of the many charming and classy condominiums. The best part of Durango Mountain Resort is that fun doesn't end when ski season does. There are tons of hiking and biking trails along with the Alpine Slide that entertains tourists and locals all summer long. Durango Mountain Resort (Q5316220) on Wikidata Purgatory Resort on Wikipedia
  • 2 Durango & Silverton Narrow-Gauge Railroad, 479 Main Ave, toll-free: +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. 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. Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad (Q2962363) on Wikidata Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad on Wikipedia
  • 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, toll-free: +1-800-567-8652, . Wild Rafting & Jeep Tours offers half and full day excursions
  • Sky Ute Casino, 1432 Highway 72 N, toll-free: +1-800-585-1729. Sky Ute Casino offers a Las Vegas style casino, dining, bowling, and entertainment.
  • Zipline, +1 970 729-8420, . Soaring Treetop Adventures offers an all-day, family-friendly zipline adventure in the Durango mountains that is fun and safe for all ages.
  • Rock Climb & Rappel. Visit Southwest Adventure Guides and book a half or full day of climbing at the various Durango rock climbing sites
  • Durango Arts Center, 802 East Second Ave, +1 970 259-2606. 10AM - 5PM. 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.

Buy[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.

  • 1 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.
  • 2 Durango Silver Company, Hwy 61, +1 970 375-4100. Hand crafted jewelry since 1976.
  • 3 Gardenswartz, 863 Main Ave, +1 970 259-6322. Get all your gear for the great outdoor activities Durango has to offer! Includes clothing, gear, shoes, and climbing necessities.
  • La Plata Gifts, 501 S. Camino De Rio, +1 970-442-7765. Unique, affordable gifts to bring back for friends and family, or for yourself to remind you of your stay in Durango.
  • [dead link] D. Robert Smith Jewelry Design Studio, 863 1/2 Main Ave, Suite 8 (2nd floor, Gardenswartz Building, SW Corner 9th & Main), +1 970-247-3947. Tu-F 10AM-6PM. Handcrafted gemstone jewelry, jewelry repair, gems, stone replacement and repairs, inlay repairs, custom designed jewelry, specializing in Native American Indian jewelry repairs

Eat[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. It has several authentic Mexican restaurants.

  • [dead link] Carver Brewing Co., 1022 Main Ave, +1 970 259-2545. 6:30AM-10PM. $7-$19.
  • Durango Diner, 957 Main Ave, +1 970 247-9889, .
  • East By Southwest, 160 E. College Dr, +1 970 247-5533. $7-30.
  • Ken & Sues, 636 Main Ave, +1 970 385-1810.
  • Olde Schoolhouse Cafe, 46778 Highway 550, +1 970 259-2257.
  • Olde Tymer's Cafe, 1000 Main Ave, +1 970 259-2990.
  • Serious Texas Bar-B-Q, toll-free: +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 Ave, +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.
  • Francisco's, 619 Main Ave, +1 970 247-7472. Great Mexican food! It is Durango's oldest family owned restaurant since 1968.
  • 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.
  • Gazpacho New Mexican Restaurant y Cantina, 431 East 2nd Ave, +1 970 259-9494.

Drink[edit]

Sleep[edit]

Go next[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 that connects the towns of Durango, Silverton, Ouray, Telluride and Cortez.
Routes through Durango
Four CornersMancos  W US 160.svg E  Pagosa SpringsTrinidad
MontroseSilverton  N US 550.svg S  FarmingtonBernalillo


This city travel guide to Durango is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.