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A snapshot of Durango, Colorado

Information about Durango, Colorado, and a little bit of its colorful history.

A mountain community, with an elevation of 6512’, which visitors often refer to as a “real town,” Durango was founded in 1880 by the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad. It continues to embrace its Western and Victorian heritage – including the authentic coal-fired, and now scenic railroad that draws an international audience.

Indeed, one of Durango’s secrets is its cosmopolitan undertone (with a jeans and cowboy hat dress code). Durango is one of the more sophisticated as well as socially-minded communities in Colorado. (For example, the town of about 18,000 has more award-winning, quality restaurants per capita than San Francisco, and supports some 200 non-profit organizations.)

Quality of life is often quoted as the reason so many have given up the “big city” to embrace the casual or rural mountain life, where one can “breathe.” With an average of 266 days of sunshine (the July high is about 87 degrees, with a possible January low of 12 degrees), and trails and scenic vistas around every corner, “getting out-of-doors” is always a priority in Durango.

The town proper is cupped by the Animas River (Rio de las Animas Perdidas), which flows from the majestic San Juan Mountains through one of the most fertile valleys in Southwest Colorado – a valley that yields an abundance of fresh, local produce and meats. The formal, paved Animas River Trail rims the river north to south, offering opportunities for cyclists, runners, walkers and baby strollers to experience the beauty of the town’s natural amenities.

Durango’s secrets also include the enterprising entrepreneurs with international reach with their businesses. Duango is a great place to start a business. Plus, the arts thrive, with a diverse selection of unique galleries – and truly the hills are alive with the sounds of live local music – as well as national and international offerings at the world class Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College.

Yes, Durango boasts a 4-year liberal arts and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) college. Fort Lewis College is recognized for excellence in education of its 4,ooo undergrads, but it also presents opportunities for all community members to continue education across all disciplines – including historical and cultural offerings, so all may learn, for example, about the Southern Ute Tribe, a dynamic as well as an economic force in the surrounding La Plata County. Native American influences are part of the fabric of Durango, as are the influences of the early Hispanic settlers – and of course, our farmers and ranchers.

Durango is only a 30-minute drive from Purgatory Ski Resort, a locals’ and visitors’ favorite in both winter (with a variety of “snow” offerings for all ages and skills), and summer with hiking, mountain biking, bunge jumping and more.

Plus, this quality of life attracts world class physicians and talented personnel at its two lauded medical centers. A healthy lifestyle is a Durango priority.

Learn more about visiting or relocation to Durango at the Durango Welcome Center, 802 Main Ave. in Downtown, or click HERE  to order a Relocation Guide from the Durango Chamber of Commerce, or HERE  to plan your vacation to Durango.