This town serves as a base for visitors to southwestern Colorado and the beautiful San Juan Mountains, one of our favorite parts of the state. Durango retains a lot of Victorian architecture and an Old West feel. You can see some old-fashioned entertainment at the Diamond Circle Melodrama, which stages live shows June-September. Lots of adventure sports take place in the surrounding mountains, including white-water rafting and mountain biking. Skiers visit the Durango Mountain Resort, 25 mi/40 km to the north.

One of the area's most popular attractions is the historic Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. It offers a 45-mi/70-km trip through spectacular mountain, valley and wooded scenery, pulled by a coal-fired steam engine. The train can be boarded in either Durango or Silverton (most people choose Durango), and a round-trip ride will return you to the town from which you started. Mid-May through mid-October, there are several daily departures; the rest of the year, just one a day. The journey takes 3.5 hours each way, with a layover of more than two hours. We recommend riding one leg of the route on one day and returning on the second—doing both in one day can be tiring. It's also possible to take the train one way and a speedier bus the other. Durango is 240 mi/385 km southwest of Denver.

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