The city of Durango is located at the center of Colorado and enjoys a warm, continental climate. Durango has seen a rich and diverse history, that complements its excellent weather well, and drawing in thousands of campers each year. Years ago as is the case today, settlers of the area enjoyed a thriving wildlife ecosystem and fertile soil, and newer city dwellers came to take advantage of the regions gold and economic viability. With the area's excellent natural terrain bringing in various types of residents, Durango has grown into a diverse cultural and economic hub rivaling, other cities like Denver and Colorado Springs in popularity.
Durango is known for the Mesa Verde National Park and the breathtaking beauty of that region, so this park stands proudly as one of the city's most well-known attractions. There, visitors and locals alike can expect acres of rolling hills and peaks, thick foliage, fresh air and curious wildlife, and plenty of quiet for a chance to relax and truly connect with nature. There's also plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, fishing, skiing, rock climbing and snow-mobiling. But the park isn't the only thing this Colorado city has to offer.
Durango is nestled in the Animas River Valley surrounded by the San Juan Mountains, and the Animas River runs through downtown area, boasting gold medal fly fishing waters. The gorgeous river is also popular for whitewater rafting, kayaking and canoeing, and just beyond the water's edge, there's chances for visitors to enjoy road biking, backpacking, slacklining, hunting, off-roading, year-round fishing and golfing. For world-class winter sports, Durango is near five major ski areas, including the famous Purgatory Resort.
Aside from these excellent attractions, RVers can also take advantage of local zip lining adventures, horseback riding, gold mine tours and gold panning, and after a long day enjoying the sites, many head to the local pubs. Among them, the Brew Pub & Kitchen, Animas Brewing Company, Ska Brewing Company and the Carver Brewing Company are the most treasured.
For art lovers, Durango has a number of galleries and alternative art venues to explore. Whether interested in jewelry, painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture, pottery, mixed-media, or Native-American artifacts, Durango has it all; from traditional landscape and western themed art to Abstract Expressionist and experimental styles. A walk along Main Avenue with forays onto side streets will yield a plethora of places to see, and buy.
Almost a dozen art emporiums participate in the 1st Thursday Art Walk, a time when galleries exhibit their best work and regularly showcase new work by some of their artists. It is a typically high-spirited, social event for locals and visitors alike, with many galleries providing appetizers and beverages to accompany the art. Of course, you needn’t wait until the first Thursday of the month to partake in an “art walk.” Many of Durango’s restaurants, coffee shops, tea rooms, banks, and hotels also exhibit local artists’ work, which especially a treat for out-of-towners who are sampling local eats.
Durango is home to the Snowdown Festival, an event that has a new, original theme each year, and includes a single firework to start off the ever-popular light parade. The parade is the centerpiece of the event and usually occurs on the last Friday of January or the first Friday of February, and many local businesses hold competitions throughout the week. Some unique competitions include: a beard growing contest, joke off, hot wing eating contest, beer plunge and outhouse stuffing contest. Durango also hosted the first-ever Mountain Bike World Championships in 1990, and since then, has been a hub for community bike rides, races and outdoor fun.
Something else the city is known for is the Secret Garden Summer Concert Series which is one of the area's best music scenes. Locals and travelers alike can look forward to excellent local bands and musicians, as well as regional artists. The series is not just a regular ongoing concert event, but is a local treasure because of the way it benefits local non profit organizations, and is set in a picturesque garden setting. The annual Durango Ragtime & Early Jazz Festival is another great local event, and features noted musicians from around the country. The city enjoys a number of other excellent ongoing and yearly events, so regardless of the season or time of year, there's always something to enjoy.
Popular Campgrounds and State Parks
One of the area's most popular campground is the Alpen Rose RV Park, and for good reason: not only is it a well-managed, pristine and beautiful park, but it's in the perfect location for travelers hoping to enjoy the urban and rural parts of town. RVers can enjoy gorgeous mountain views and the Animus River Valley that's perfect for river rafting and fishing, as well as nearby horseback riding, golfing, rock climbing, mountain biking and the mineral water of the neighboring hot springs. And of course, there's plenty of shopping, dining, golfing and entertainment options at the Main Avenue area just a short drive from the park. Amenities include: propane, showers, restrooms, pool access, trout pond, full hookups, 30/50 amp sites, laundry facilities, WIFI and cable TV. Durango also has a number of public camping options; at spots like the Junction Creek Campground, travelers can look forward to horseback riding, picnicking, nature viewing and fishing, as well as plenty of open spaces for tent camping.
Places to Eat
Main Avenue cuts through downtown Durango and home to clothing boutiques, restaurants, newsstands, tourist and gift shops, a mall, bars, lounges and other businesses. Durango has more restaurants per capita than Denver, and many serve specialty foods including Mexican, Italian, French, Thai and Japanese and others serve American favorites. Main Avenue is walked by thousands of tourists each week, making it the most popular shopping and relaxing tourist destination in Durango, and so visitors can depend on long opening hours among eateries, and great service. Some camper and resident favorites include: Zia Taqueria, Seasons of Durango, Ken & Sue's and the Himalayan Kitchen Restaurant. There's also the Ore House, Fired Up Pizzeria, Chimayo Stone Fired Kitchen and Mutu's Italian Kitchen.
History and Landmarks
Durango is a historical powerhouse, filled with old hotels, railroads and expansive national parks, walked by thousands of Native Americans and regional travelers from over the ages. The city is most known for the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, a heritage railway, which travels from Durango to the historic mining town of Silverton, Colorado on steam-powered trains with rolling stock dating back to the 1920s and before. The downtown area is also located thirty-five miles east of the Mesa Verde National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site best known for its Ancestral Puebloans cliff dwellings.
With so much to see, taste and experience, it's no wonder camping is incredibly popular in the Colorado city of Durango. For your next journey through the city, be sure to spend your time living close to the land and stepping out of your tent each day to soak in a breathtaking natural terrain. It's the best, and daresay only true way, to enjoy Durango.
See you soon.