Exploring the Hidden Gems of Durango La Plata Co: A Visitor’s Guide

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Exploring the Hidden Gems of Durango La Plata Co: A Visitor’s Guide

Durango, located in La Plata County, Colorado, is a charming town nestled in the San Juan Mountains. Known for its outdoor adventures, rich history, and vibrant culture, Durango is a great destination for travelers looking to explore hidden gems and off-the-beaten-path attractions. From scenic hiking trails to historic landmarks, there’s something for everyone in Durango. In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at some of the hidden gems that make Durango a must-visit destination.

Hidden Gem #1: Mesa Verde National Park

One of the most iconic attractions in the area is the Mesa Verde National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage site is home to some of the best-preserved Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings in the United States. Visitors can explore the ancient ruins, hike through the rugged terrain, and learn about the history and culture of the Pueblo people.

Hidden Gem #2: Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

For a unique and unforgettable experience, hop on board the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. This historic steam train takes passengers on a scenic journey through the breathtaking canyons and mountains of the San Juan National Forest. The train offers stunning views and a glimpse into the area’s rich mining history.

Hidden Gem #3: Animas River Trail

Outdoor enthusiasts will love exploring the Animas River Trail, a scenic pathway that follows the meandering river through Durango. The trail is perfect for walking, biking, or simply enjoying the natural beauty of the area. Along the way, visitors can spot wildlife, take in the views of the surrounding mountains, and even stop for a picnic by the water.

Hidden Gem #4: Historic Downtown Durango

No visit to Durango is complete without a stroll through the historic downtown area. Lined with charming shops, art galleries, and restaurants, the downtown area is a vibrant hub of activity. Visitors can admire the beautiful Victorian architecture, explore the local boutiques, and sample delicious cuisine at the many eateries and breweries.

Hidden Gem #5: San Juan National Forest

For a true wilderness adventure, make sure to venture into the San Juan National Forest. This vast and diverse landscape is filled with opportunities for hiking, camping, fishing, and wildlife watching. The forest is home to a variety of ecosystems, from alpine tundra to lush forests, making it a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts.

Hidden Gem #6: Durango Discovery Museum

Families with children will love the Durango Discovery Museum, a hands-on science center located in downtown Durango. The museum features interactive exhibits, educational programs, and engaging activities that make learning about science and technology fun for all ages.


Durango La Plata County, Colorado, is a destination that is full of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. From the ancient ruins of Mesa Verde National Park to the scenic beauty of the Animas River Trail, visitors will find no shortage of unique and unforgettable experiences in this charming town. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, history buff, or foodie, Durango has something for everyone. So, plan your trip, pack your bags, and get ready to explore the hidden gems of Durango.


Q: When is the best time to visit Durango?

A: The best time to visit Durango is during the summer months, from late May to early September, when the weather is warm and the outdoor activities are in full swing.

Q: Are there any guided tours available for Mesa Verde National Park?

A: Yes, there are guided tours available at Mesa Verde National Park, led by knowledgeable park rangers who can provide insights into the history and significance of the ancient ruins.

Q: What are some must-try local foods in Durango?

A: Some must-try local foods in Durango include green chili, elk or bison burgers, and craft beers from the many breweries in the area.

Q: Is there public transportation available in Durango?

A: Yes, Durango offers a free trolley service and a public bus system for getting around the town and to nearby attractions.

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