Along the Ute’s River of Lost Souls (today’s Animas River), you’ll find “water town,” first labeled as Urango by the Basque and later named after Durango, Mexico, by Territorial Gov. A.C. Hunt. Rio Grande surveyors founded this rail town in 1880, and its rail heritage still elevates Durango as a noteworthy place to live. This Colorado town will definitely bring out the Durango Kid in you.

What’s the latest gossip? How magnificent the Animas River rapids will be this year with all the snow melt.

Good Cowboy Bar: Diamond Belle Saloon at the 1887 Strater Hotel (699 Main Ave.).

Favorite Local Cuisine: Ore House for steak (147 E. College Dr.) and Guido’s for Italian (1201 Main Ave.).

Best Western Art Galleries: Toh-Atin Gallery (145 W. 9th St.) and Sorrel Sky Gallery (870 Main Ave.).

Best Spot to View Wildlife: Elk herds hang out in the Animas River Valley just 10 minutes north of town.

What historic site do most of the schoolchildren visit? Animas Museum, in the 1904 Animas City School, shares La Plata County history.

Do Not Miss: Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad; its steam engine pulls the train through the San Juan Mountains.

Old West Attraction: Gunfight shows in Silverton during the summer months.

Top Trail Ride: Go to Rapp Corral (51 Haviland Lake Rd.); it offers trail rides in the summer and sleigh rides in the winter.

Popular Local Event: “Snow Down,” held every year in January. The town goes nuts with nearly 100 different fun events.

May Event: The Ironhorse Bicycle Classic. Bicyclists depart downtown Durango in hopes of beating the train to Silverton; held May 24, with a finish line party in Silverton.

Avg. House Cost: $389,000, as of last quarter … was $419,000.

Avg. Temps: Summer: 80s. Winter:30s. Durango boasts 300 days of annual sunshine.

Who knows Durango’s history best? Duane A. Smith, local historian and author.

Preservation Project: We have a strong Open Space conservatorial organization.


Special thanks to Jackie King Ellis for sharing her love of the town with us.

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