Overview Durango, Colorado

Located in the southwestern corner of Colorado, Durango welcomes outdoor enthusiasts with open arms. This region is truly heaven to adventure travelers attempting the extreme. Any adventure thought possible in both winter and summer mountain setting conditions can be done here. Camp sites, cross country ski trails, hiking trails, biking trails, 14,000 foot peaks, canyons, great whitewater for rafting or kayaking and trout streams, will keep the adventurer busy for days. While winter offers some of the best snow in the state, summer's are inspiring, making it all, a very memorable experience. The town is rich with Old West history and the people are super- friendly, enough to go out of their way to help. The mountains surrounding Durango are truly epic, towering above the valley floor in which the Rio Animas carves its way south. Neighboring towns, Silverton and Ouray located in the heart of the San Juan mountains are correctly dubbed the "Switzerland" of the Rocky Mountains. Because of its proximity Durango is a great base camp for adventures throughout the area.

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A great view from Durango Mountain Resort.

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Looking North upon Durango.  The narrow gauge train smoking for its journey to Silverton.

Settled by the Spanish in 1876, Animas (North of Durango) was the first town into the area where Durango now exists.  It took its name from the nearby Animas River, named El Rio de las Animas (River of Souls or Spirits) by 18th century Spanish explorers.  Animas City served farmers and ranchers who had settled in the valley after the area was opened to settlement by terms of the 1874 Brunot Agreement with the Ute Indians.  Durango (only 25 blocks to the south) which now includes Animas in it's city limits  was named and settled as a part of the Denver Railroad Company as a way to ship minerals from the rich mountains in the area to Denver.  When the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad built its San Juan Extension through the valley in 1881, the railroad founded a new town, Durango, two miles to the south .  Most of Animas City's businesses moved to Durango, and Animas City became little more than a suburb.  It was finally annexed to Durango in 1948.  Durango was founded in 1880 by the Durango Trust, a business group composed largely of D&RG Railroad investors.  Seeking cheap land, Alexander Hunt and William Bell of the Trust bypassed Animas City, purchasing land from homesteaders just to the south.  The new town, named after Durango, Mexico, was surveyed and platted in September, 1880.  A boomtown from the beginning, Durango had several hundred residents by Christmas 1880.  The railroad arrived in August, 1881 and continued toward Silverton, reaching that mining town in July, 1882.  Durango became the commercial center of southwest Colorado.  Mining, smelting, logging, banking and agriculture contributed to its growth in the decades to come.  Although Durango's economy has changed, it remains the hub city of Southwest Colorado.

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(Above) The Historic Rochester Hotel, located on 2nd Ave between 7th and 8th street (721 E. Second Ave) is a great place to stay, offering the visitor a true historic feel of old Durango.  The Rochester, built in the early 1900's now displays remodeled rooms with a turn of the century feel and room names after those closely associated with Durango history as well as the hotel itself.  A truly romantic get away with unique plush rooms, a welcoming staff, and a warm, home-made breakfast every morning the Rochester Hotel and Leland House will make your visit memorable.  Centrally located, the Rochester Hotel and its sister, the Leland House Bed and Breakfast make the visitor walk a short distance to experience fun shopping and fine dining.  It is truly luxury accomodations in the spirit of the old west.  

Contact:  http://www.rochesterhotel.com or email:  [email protected] or call:  (800) 664-1920 for reservations. 

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(Above right)  Have a Dinner sleigh ride with Buck's Livery offering trail rides, cookouts, fishing pack trips and big game hunting throughout the year.  Contact:  [email protected] or http://www.buckslivery.com or (970) 385-2110.

*Feature written and photographed by Phillips, January 2003.  All historical information provided by Animas Museum and La Plata County Historical Society.



Durango is located about 7 hours from Denver (I-25 South to Walsenburg turn west on Colorado 160 until arriving to Durango. Many alternate routes exist passing through the center of the state (Hwy285) and are usually quicker) and 4.5 hours from Grand Junction(I-70 West to Grand Junction turn south on highway 50). Accesable airports include: Denver, Sante Fe, Grand Junction and Montrose.


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Globetrotter Adventures
Carbondale, CO 81623