Durango is located in La Plata County in the southwest corner of Colorado. Nestled in the Animas River Valley and surrounded by the San Juan Mountains, Durango has an ideal 4 season climate with year-round moderate temperatures. Snowfall averages 68 inches in town and up to 250 inches at higher elevations. Average annual precipitation in town is 19.2 inches.
3 cultures are reflected in Durango: Anglo, Hispanic and Native American. Classic Victorian architecture as seen in some 19th century hotels and saloons (like the Historic Strater Hotel, photo on the left), complete with hitching posts downtown, give a bit of western charm to an otherwise beautiful location where the great desert mesa meets the lush mountain forests.
Durango has a couple of good shopping malls, several galleries, 75 restaurants, movie theaters, factory outlets, souvenir shops, and quite a few landmark hotels. There's a bit of something for everyone.
One of the big recreational attractions in the area is Vallecito Lake. The lake offers all the opportunities of an Alpine resort in all seasons. You can enjoy record-breaking fishing, boating, speactacular hiking trails and horseback riding in summer. Colorful scenery and renowned big game hunting arrive with fall. And there's miles of cross-country skiing and snowmobiling trails in the winter.
The city was first organized in September of 1880 after the nearby settlement of Animas City refused to pay a "dowry" to the builders of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad. So the railroad went a few miles south and built their own city, secure in the knowledge that all the local business would migrate to them and pay their fees for doing business. Durango grew after that as a center for mining supplies and "entertainment" for the miners. One of the biggest draws these days is the Durango & Silverton Scenic Railroad. In the winter folks come to enjoy the ski and snowboard scene at Durango Mountain Resort. Durango is also home to Fort Lewis College, a 4-year liberal arts school. There are several natural hot springs in the area and a couple million acres of forest in the San Juan and Uncompahgre National Forests.
On Main Avenue in Durango
Early 1900's architecture
The Strater Hotel
A. Coors Building, 1900
The General Palmer Hotel