Durango (Colorado)

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. It 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 situated 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 situated at 6,512 feet above sea level. Durango’s climate is actually quite moderate, with typical summer daytime highs in the 70s/80s, and nighttime lows in the 50s.


Durango has a long and rich history. The city was founded in 1880 by the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad. By July of 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 originally constructed to haul silver and gold ore, but passengers soon started to really appreciate the view. In 2006, the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad celebrated its 125th year of continuous operation and 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 has a bullet hole in the far east drawer behind the bar. In the recent past, there have been several well known movies 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.

Get in

By air

Durango/La Plata County Airport, to the southeast of town on US-160 and SR-172, has commuter air service from Denver and Phoenix.

By car

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

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." With friendly, convenient service the Durango "T" is a great, hassle-free way to get around town.

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.



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.


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.


Durango has many award-winning restaurants. The food is delecious as many of the dishes include some of Durango's locally grown food, like beef, wild game, honey, fish, and cheeses. Since Durango is in the Southwest, it has several authentic Mexican restaurants.



Go next

Routes through Durango

Four Corners Mancos  W  E  Pagosa Springs Trinidad
Montrose Silverton  N  S  Farmington Bernalillo

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Thursday, March 03, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.