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Durango, Co. has many westerners that head there each autumn for Colorfest, to partake in foliage-related activities and view the area's prolonged and lavish fall color displays. Durango also can be a starting or ending point on one of the state's most dramatic drives, the San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway.

Town Information: Gold brought many of the first settlers to Durango, in the Animas River Valley of Colorado. Trains were essential transportation of the day, bringing supplies in and gold ore out. Much of the gold is probably still hidden out there, but the train is the big draw in Durango. When the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad blows its whistle, tourists climb on board for a 45-mile trip through the still-wild San Juan Mountains to Silverton where they can lunch and shop before re-boarding for the trip home. This is an essential experience in Durango.

Suffice it to say, if it can be done outdoors, it can be done in Durango. This is a huge mountain biking community, and the Iron Horse Classic bicycle race draws cyclists from all over the country each summer. Animas River Days celebrates the area's top-notch whitewater rafting on the nearby Piedras, Animas and Dolores rivers. (If you like fishing, bring your pole!) Backpacking and camping are prime activities in the nearby Weminuche Wilderness Area. And not far away is Vallecito Reservoir, where you can rent a cabin and spend lazy days on a high mountain lake.

Map: Durango

Region: Southwest Regional Information

County: La Plata

Proximity to other towns: Located 271 miles from Pueblo, 19 miles from Bayfield, 19.7 miles from Ignacio, 29.3 miles from Mancos, 30.6 miles from Rico

Population: 15,614

Elevation: 6523 feet

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