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With its moderate climate and proximity to four western states, Durango is a pleasant place to pass through and an affordable place to live. Located on the Animas River, underneath huge mesas, the town's primary warm-weather tourist attraction is the charming, old-fashioned mountain train known as the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. (Listen for the periodic whistles downtown, around the corner from the Old West-era Strater Hotel.) The town is within 30 miles of Mesa Verde National Park, an 80-square-mile area of right-angle cliffs and deep canyons, which is like stumbling onto an entire ghost civilization. Here are massive stone ...

With its moderate climate and proximity to four western states, Durango is a pleasant place to pass through and an affordable place to live. Located on the Animas River, underneath huge mesas, the town's primary warm-weather tourist attraction is the charming, old-fashioned mountain train known as the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. (Listen for the periodic whistles downtown, around the corner from the Old West-era Strater Hotel.) The town is within 30 miles of Mesa Verde National Park, an 80-square-mile area of right-angle cliffs and deep canyons, which is like stumbling onto an entire ghost civilization. Here are massive stone villages, complete with buildings, towers, pools, and an odd-shaped checkerboard of rectangular windows and protruding, brick-shaped stones — everything a town would need, that is, except the people. The residents of these cliff dwellings were the Anasazi (also known as Ancestral Puebloans), who lived in this area from roughly 550 to 1300 A.D. Also within 30 miles of Durango is the Four Corners Monument, the only place in the U.S. where people can touch four states at the same time.

Steve Knopper
About the Expert

Steve Knopper is the Denver-based author of Moon Handbooks Colorado as well as a contributor to numerous Fodor's city guides.

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Steve Knopper for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Summer, or spring and fall for deals in good weather