Mesa Verde, Spanish for green table, offers a spectacular look into the lives of the Ancestral Pueblo people who made it their home for over 700 years, from AD 600 to 1300. Today the park protects nearly 5,000 known archeological sites, including 600 cliff dwellings. These sites are some of the most notable and best preserved in the United States.
Mancos was recently named “One of the Best Small Towns to Visit in 2016” by Smithsonian.com for its Western charm, thriving artisan community and proximity to some of Colorado’s most treasured landscapes. The community traces its roots back to the ranching, farming and timber industries that started back in the 1870s. Ranching is still a mainstay, and the Wild West spirit is alive and well. The city is situated on the Mancos River, a rich riparian habitat for wildlife and a birder’s delight. The downtown is a designated historic gallery district that includes the celebrated Mancos Opera House and the picturesque first buildings constructed in town. Mancos boasts little shops that brim with unique gifts and wonderful art. Local artisans craft everything from beer and rum to handmade Western hats. Come and see why Louis L’Amour made the Mancos area his home and the settings for his books.
Nestled in the Animas River Valley and surrounded by two million acres of the San Juan National Forest, Durango is a gem in the rough located in La Plata County in the southwestern corner of Colorado. Here the majestic Rocky Mountains meet the serene desert of the Four Corners region where Utah, New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado converge. Nature creates a playground of pine forests, aspen groves, lakes, streams and spectacular views around Durango. Durango is situated at 6,512 feet above sea level and has a dry, moderate climate with air and water that is among the purest in the United States. In the nearby mountains, we have our own ski area, Durango Mountain Resort, with natural hot springs in the vicinity.
As our county seat, Durango is a regional hub for commerce. The county population estimate for 2010, is 54,837 residents. We are home to a four-year college, regional medical facility, modern commercial airport, and a wide variety of boutiques, specialty shops, galleries and many diverse restaurants. We are proud of our three prominent historic districts: Main Avenue Historic District, East Third Avenue Historic Residential District and the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad right-of-way between Durango and Silverton, Colorado.
Link to Durango Calendar of Events
Durango, Colorado was founded by the Denver & Rio Grande Railway in 1879. The railroad arrived in Durango on August 5, 1881 and construction on the line to Silverton began in the fall of the same year. By July of 1882, the tracks to Silverton were completed, and the train began hauling both freight and passengers. The line was constructed to haul silver & gold ore from Southwest Colorado’s San Juan Mountains, but passengers soon realized it was the view that was truly precious. This historic train has been in continuous operation between Durango and Silverton since 1882, carrying passengers behind vintage steam locomotives and rolling stock indigenous to the line. It is a family-friendly ride sure to create memories that will last a lifetime while offering a view of Colorado’s mountain splendor inaccessible by highway. Relive the sights and sounds of yesteryear for a spectacular journey on board the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.
Whether you are looking for an exciting rafting trip or a heart-pounding Jeep adventure, Outlaw Tours has been Durango’s premier outdoor adventure guide for over 20 years! Let them help you build a custom adventure that will give you memories to share for a lifetime!
The San Juan Public Lands abound with natural and cultural treasures. Five distinct life zones range from elevations near 5,000 feet to above 14,000 feet. Several of Colorado’s famous “14’ers” can be found in the Weminuche and Lizard Head Wilderness areas. The San Juan also includes the South San Juan Wilderness and the newly designated Hermosa Wilderness. Wilderness area consisting of forested mountains, 14,000-foot peaks, scenic roads, geological formations, prehistoric communities and a narrow-gauge railroad.
The 65-mile Alpine Loop Backcountry Byway winds through the alpine terrain of the San Juan Mountains, connecting the towns of Lake City, Ouray, and Silverton. Recommended for four-wheel drive vehicles, all-terrain vehicles, motorcycles, and mountain bikes. For more information on the Alpine Loop go to the BLM Alpine Loop page.