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Activities in Durango, Colorado
Durango, Colorado is a year-round, vacation destination where people come to ride the world famous Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, visit nearby Mesa Verde National Park, and ski the slopes of Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort. The train is a remnant of the time when Durango was a mining town where silver and gold flowed from the mines of the La Plata Mountains.
Durango is one of the most scenic towns in the United States and is a favorite vacation spot both in the winter and summer. Historic downtown offers fine dining and restaurants, shopping, and live entertainment. Speak with a Durango Travel Expert for information on lodging, activities, packages and help in planning and booking your vacation today.
Durango Lifestyle and Recreational Activities
Though Durango is a geographically, culturally, and economically diverse area, the one thread that ties its community together is, without a doubt, quality of life.
As a matter of fact, Durango has recently gained national recognition for protecting our quality of life as it was named one of the best places to live in the U.S. by Men's Journal in their April 2011 issue! The article states "...Durango has plenty of trademark Rocky Mountain beauty. But what distinguishes it from (other similar mountain towns) is how protecting its way of life and defining qualities is built into the town charter as well as its collective zeitgeist." - Robert Earle Howells - MensJournal.com
Durango has also become one of the West's latest boomtowns, with an eclectic economic mix focused in agriculture, industry, and tourism. Combine them with the local population of students from Fort Lewis College and outdoors enthusiasts who come to enjoy Colorado's high country adventures and you end up with a town which has a youthful, energetic buzz.
Durango offers numerous outdoor activities:
Surrounded by the San Juan National Forest, recreational activities and wildlife are never far away. The Animas River winds through town allowing easy access to residents and visitors alike.
Although Durango has the charming feeling of a small town community, it still has arts, culture and entertainment. Music abounds at annual festivals ranging from the internationally-renown classical series Music in the Mountains, to the grassroots Durango Bluegrass Meltdown. Live jazz, blues, swing, Celtic, country and rock - it all can be enjoyed in Durango, Colorado.
Get a Taste of Durango
From locally roasted coffee beans and gourmet natural foods, to award-winning, micro-brewed beer and authentic Mexican pastries, great food is a given in Durango. Not a guest leaves the area without citing the amazing selection of exciting dining establishments, with cuisine ranging from the progressive to the more traditional at restaurants that embrace the area's ranching tradition. Indeed, Durango's agricultural heritage thrives today through local farmers' markets and the special "Taste of Durango," a community feast featuring delectable dishes from local dining establishments.
Durango Colorado History
From the 1910's to the 1930's Durango's economy focused primarily on agriculture, ranching, and logging with the beginnings of a tourist economy as travelers began to discover the area as a vacation destination.
Like many other parts of the country during World War II, the Durango area contributed to the war effort in the 1940's through agriculture, ranching, and some mining. The 1950's in Durango marked the beginning of another "boom cycle" as mining of uranium and oil exploration in the region increased. The Durango Smelter was refitted for processing of uranium ore, and there was a flurry of building in the community to house the smelter workers, and the workers who supported the burgeoning natural gas industry. During the "boom" of the 1950's, Fort Lewis College was moved from south of Hesperus where it had been a two year agricultural school to its present location. With its relocation, the college changed to a four-year, liberal arts curriculum.
In the 1960's Purgatory Ski Resort (now Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort) was developed north of Durango. The presence of the ski resort and Fort Lewis College has added additional elements to the local economy and helped to develop the tourist economy of the area. From the 1970's to present, the area has gone through a series of economic ups and downs as Durango's setting has continued to draw people for recreation and the healthy quality of life found in the Rocky Mountains.
Durango Quick Facts:
Transition zone between desert and semi-arid
Average High/Low Temps for Winter 40/15 (Jan)
Average High/Low Temps for Summer 83/50 (July) )
Approximately 16,000 in Durango
Approximately 64,000 in La Plata County
San Juan Mountains