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What’s inside . . . 6 7 8 10 12 14 18 20 21 22 24 28 32 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 48 50 51 52 54 58 60 64

Introduction Getting Around Town Great Outdoors Scenic Drives Backcountry Drives Jeep Thrills Saddle Up Camping Wildlife Fishing Wildflowers Animas River Trail Stops On the River Rafting Swimming Golfing Arts & Culture Art Galleries Museums Antique Shops The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Fun For The Kids Summer Camps Biking Durango Special Events Local Breweries Blending In-New Winery Bluegrass Festivals

beyond durango . . . 66 67 68 69 71 72 74 76 82 88 92 96 100 102

Bayfield Cortez Dolores Ignacio Mancos Mesa Verde Chimney Rock Pagosa Springs Silverton Ouray Vallecito Lake Farmington & Aztec Ute Country Advertising Index

24 54

14 60

Special Features

14 Jeep Thrills 24 Wildflower Hikes 22 60 Blending In – New Winery

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Introduction This summer, you’re going to have to make some tough choices.

Will it be a Jeep ride to a mining-era ghost town at 11,200 feet in elevation, or a wildflower hike to hunt for plants such as shy wood nymphs and pink elephants? If your taste is more off-the-beaten-path, you could choose between the Transit of Venus at the Ancestral Puebloan site at Chimney Rock, or viewing the arm-wrestling and chainsaw competitions of Escalante Days in Dolores. You could get some hands-on history lessons on a Durango & Silverton Narrow-Gauge Railroad ride, or you could attend the Ouray Highgraders Holidays Mining Competition and watch events such as machinemucking, hand-drilling and mule races. Southwest Colorado has something to please every visitor. Need an outdoor adventure? Try the zip line, a raft trip, or a world-class mountain bike trail. Want sophisticated relaxation? Try blended wines at the new Four Leaves Winery, or attend a Music in the Mountains concert featuring Frank Sinatra classics. Is art your thing? Spend a day gallery-hopping in downtown Durango, or browse an outdoor art market filled with locally-made treasures. What’s new this year? In August, top racers from around the globe will descend on Durango for the start of a worldclass bike race, the 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge. In mid-June, The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is offering the Dinosaur Train for children featuring the T-Rex character Buddy. In most towns, there are new shops to browse, exciting new restaurants to sample, and plenty of festivals with music and brews so you can let your hair down. With all of these activities and events, the only wrong choice is to stay at home in front of the television. Get out there, get under the brilliant blue sky, and live it up!

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Welcome to the 2012 edition of the Southwest Colorado Summer Guide. Each year, this special section is the premier guide to all that’s fun and educational in the region that we call home.

The guide serves not only to help residents of the area know what will be happening in the next several months, but also is the primary means for visitors and tourists to discover the wonders of the region. In all, 50,000 copies of the guide are distributed locally and at visitor information centers around the state.

Pay special attention to my favorite part, the fold-out maps in the center of the guide, to help you locate and use trails and roads through the region.

Please let us know what you like best, and how we might improve future editions of this important special section. Ken Amundson General Manager, Newspaper Operations The Durango Herald Cortez Journal The Dolores Star The Mancos Times

Getting around Town Durango “T”

It’s easy and inexpensive to “Ride the T” and get around town using the buses and trolleys of Durango Transit. The bright red trolley design recalls the town’s early street cars, and these vehicles are a great way to see Durango. The Main Avenue Trolley runs from the Iron Horse Inn to College Drive from 7 a.m. The Durango “T” stops in front of the Intermodal to 10 p.m. daily every Transit Center. HAL LOTT/Herald 20 minutes during the summer – and it’s free. Bus routes extend beyond the trolleys. Visit for details.

Intermodal Transit Center

The center is located at 250 W. 8th St. The 8,000-square-foot, $4 million building is the largest of its kind in the Southwest. The center acts as a regional hub for public transportation, including Durango Transit, Ignacio Road Runner, Greyhound, and Durango Mountain Resort. For printable maps, schedules and other information, call (970)259-5438 or visit Bike commuter Glen Shoemaker parks in front of Carver Brewing Company. HAL LOTT/Herald

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The great outdoors

The mountains peaks surrounding high country lakes can still have snow on the peaks, even in mid-summer. Photo Hal Lott/Herald

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Publisher Richard Ballantine

General Manager, Newspapers Ken Amundson

Vice President of Advertising Paul Hay

Marketing and Promotions Sharon Hermes

Design Manager Brady Sutherlin

Editor Karla Sluis

Layout & Design Jennifer Dickens

Advertising Design/Prepress Mitchell Carter Jennifer Dickens Janelle Farnam Laney Peterson Michelle Uhl Tracy Willbanks

Advertising Sales Darryl Hunt Karolann Latimer Shawna Long Rob Lillard Chuck Jillson Cora Younie Ralph Maccarone

The Durango Herald uses reasonable effort to include accurate and up-to-date information for its special magazine publications. However, all general information comes from a variety of sources and may change at any time for any reason. To verify specific information, refer to the organization or business noted. To see the online version of this guide, click the link at:

A publication of

Fold out Map Design: Brady Sutherlin May 13, 2012 • Southwest Colorado Summer Guide 9

Scenic Drives

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When you first arrive in Southwest Colorado,

as a visitor or newcomer, every driving tour is a scenic trip through deep canyons and eye-popping mountain passes, past glistening lakes and dramatic rivers. You can drive all day or for just a few hours, it’s up to you. And to help you figure it all out, we’ve chosen a few favorites known by longtime residents as camera-ready scenic wonders. For instance, take the circuitous, 236 mile, jaw-dropping San Juan Skyway Scenic Drive, or perhaps the shorter drives such as Vallecito Lake (about 25 miles northeast of Durango) that leave you with more time to relax and enjoy the destination.

San Juan Skyway Scenic Drive: 236 miles/About six hours Colorado is well-known for an abundance of scenic highways, and this one is the crown jewel in Southwest Colorado. This tour includes some beautifully preserved and restored historic towns where you can dine and shop to your heart’s content. Pleasantly undulating among 14,000-foot peaks, the drive includes picturesque Silverton and Ouray, Victorian jewels tucked in deep alpine valleys, and Telluride, acclaimed for its world-class skiing along with film, jazz and bluegrass festivals. From Durango, head north on US 550 past Silverton and Ouray. At Highway 62 near Ridgeway, go left and follow Highway 62 to Placerville. Once you reach Placerville, take Highway 145 to the southeast. Continue on 145 until you come to the junction with US 160 near Cortez. Follow US 160 back to Durango. Between Mancos and Cortez, there is the must-see Mesa Verde National Park, one of the finest collections of historic dwellings in the United States. Vallecito Lake: 50 miles Driving to Vallecito is just half the fun. Indulgence on an unexpected scale is defined by the restaurants, guest ranches, lodging and marinas to win you over. This is a place loaded

Stands of aspen trees driving north toward Durango Mountain Resort turn a brilliant gold in late September to early October. Photo by Jennifer Dickens to the shoreline with charm and opportunities for family fun. This easy drive will show you a lot of the area’s beautiful features. Start by heading east on County Road 240 along the Florida River into the Pine River Valley. Turn left (north) onto County Road 501 and make your way to Vallecito Lake nestled amongst beautiful mountains that surround it on all sides. Have lunch at one of the many restaurants along the lake or spend the afternoon fishing while you take in the breathtaking views. Then, for a relaxing and picturesque return, travel southbound on County Road 501 through the verdant Pine River Valley. If you imagine this paved highway as the dirt road it once was, you’ll easily imagine life as it was 100 years ago on these local ranches and farms. When you reach Bayfield at the intersection of Hwy. 160, turn right (west) on Hwy. 160 for the return trip to Durango.

Chimney Rock: 105 miles This loop starts in Durango on County Road 240 along the Florida River toward the Pine River Valley. Turn south onto County Road 501 leading to Bayfield. At the intersection of County Road 501 and Hwy. 160 in Bayfield, turn east on Hwy. 160. Proceed through Yellow Jacket Pass to Chimney Rock. Turn right (south) on Hwy. 151. Continue south on Hwy. 151 through Arboles, Allison, Southern Ute Indian Reservation land, and the northern edge of Navajo Lake. At the intersection of Hwy. 151 and Hwy. 172 in Ignacio, turn right (north) onto Hwy. 172. Continue past the Sky Ute Casino Resort and take in magnificent La Plata County farmland as you make your way back to Hwy. 160. Once at the intersection, turn left (west) onto Hwy. 160 back to Durango. Chimney Rock schedules several educational events from spring to fall, so expect to add some very pleasant time to your journey. You won’t be disappointed.

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Backcountry Drives A Mild to Wild Rafting and Jeep Trail Tours vehicle allows 360-degree views of abundant wildflowers, waterfalls and wildlife. PHOTO COURTESY OF ELLIE SCHARFENBERG

More than an excuse

to put your camera gear to good purpose, the backcountry of Southwest Colorado can become a perfect getaway drive. Incredible mountain vistas, as well as access to historic sites dating back nearly 150 years are yours, providing you have the “ride” for it. For a fun trip, you will need a vehicle with generous ground clearance, maps, a GPS (a good idea, budget permitting), and a good set of tires. Cell phones may not get a signal where you’re going, so let someone know your route and when you plan to return. Take plenty of water and sunscreen. The combination of high altitude and sunshine can cause headaches, dehydration and a nasty sunburn. If you don’t want to put your own vehicle to the test on backcountry roads, either rent a Jeep or, hire a Jeep tour operator who knows their way around the backcountry and has the skills to make the trip safe and enjoyable. Letting someone else handle the driving and navigation in unknown territory can eliminate a lot of stress while allowing more time to enjoy the scenery.

Jeep tour & rentals: Buck Horn Limousine Durango (970) 769-0932 AAM’s Mild to Wild Jeep Trail Tours Inc. Durango (970) 247-4789 Outlaw Rivers & Jeep Tours Durango (970) 259-1800 Red Mountain Jeep Rental Silverton (888) 970-5512 San Juan Backcountry Silverton (970) 387-5565 Silver Summit RV Park & Jeep Rentals Silverton (970) 387-0240 Wilderness Journeys Pagosa Springs (970) 731-4081 Now that you’re prepared for a full day of four-wheelin’ fun, here are a few of the more popular backcountry routes:

Old Lime Creek Road For an interesting trip through history, follow the original route of U.S. Highway

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550, the Million Dollar Highway. This scenic trail, FR 591, begins off of U.S. 550, approximately three miles north of Purgatory Ski Area and 20 miles south of Silverton. The trail alternately travels through large, open meadows and thick forests of aspens and conifer trees. About 3 miles along the rock-strewn trail (this is where ground clearance is key) is Scout Lake; an attractive spot for landscape painters. During the summer the lake is thick with blooming lily pads. The impressionist painter, Vincent Van Gogh, would have loved this place. The lake is also home to abundant wildlife including geese, ducks and beaver and their lodges. Past Scout Lake, the road becomes a wide shelf road with scenic views of Lime Creek Valley below. High above Lime Creek, views along the section of the trail are quite spectacular, especially in early fall, when brilliant yellow aspens blanket the valley. Also along this section of the trail are the intricate stone “road guards” constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. Just beyond the historical marker, located right before the end of the trail, a spur to the right continues on, following the old route of U.S. 550. The old U.S. 550 is still quite evident and some pavement from the original road remains even today. The trail ends at the intersection of present-day U.S. 550, 11 miles south of Silverton.

Jersey Jim Lookout Loop This trail begins in Mancos, just 30 miles west of Durango on U.S. Highway 160. Travel north from Mancos on CO 184, then turn east on FR 561 (W. Mancos Road or Rd 42), following signs to Jackson Lake and Mancos State Park. The road gains elevation and narrows slightly after entering San Juan National Forest. There are a number of backcountry campsites along the trail. West Mancos Overlook, located at Transfer USFS Campground, provides excellent views over Crystal Creek Ditch, the Mancos River and Hesperus Mountain, as well as a number of other 13,000-foot plus peaks in the La Plata Mountains. Continue north on FR 561, following the signs to Jersey Jim Lookout. After about 12 miles, the trail passes the Aspen Guard Station, which was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps and originally used as the District Office for forest rangers in the 1930s. It is now used by the Artist-in-Residence Program between June and September each year. Just beyond the intersection with

FR 352 is the historic Jersey Jim Fire Lookout. The Lookout, which towers 55 feet above the surrounding terrain, was used by the forest service from the 1940s to the 1970s to spot forest fires. It was named after an early-day rancher who grazed Jersey cattle in the area. A local volunteer organization, the Jersey Jim Foundation, restored the tower and saved it from demolition in 1991. Under permit from the San Juan National Forest, the foundation rents the tower for overnight stays, with fees put toward maintaining the landmark. Beyond the tower at mile 16.5, bear left onto FR 556, signed Rock Springs Road. The trail finishes at the intersection with CO 184, a few miles east of Dolores. Junction Creek Trail For an easy and scenic drive close to Durango, begin at the intersection of Main Avenue (U.S. Highway 550) and Junction Road (25th Street). Travel west on Junction Road and follow signs to the Junction Creek Campground in the San Juan National Forest. About 5 miles after passing the campground, there is a turnoff to Animas Overlook, an interpretive trail and picnic area. The scenic view

over Animas Valley against the backdrop of the skyscraping peaks of the San Juan Mountains to the north is well worth the stop.

Past the overlook, the shelf road runs high above Junction Creek, and expansive views open up through breaks in the ponderosa pine, juniper, and aspen forest. A spur along the main trail at about the 21 mile mark is where the Neglected Mine was once located. The Neglected Mine was established in 1895 and became among the highest producing mines in the region. After intensive development, the mine reached peak production between 1902 and 1904, yielding 7,000 ounces of silver and 13,000 ounces of gold with an estimated value of $270,000. At the end of the spur is a hiking trailhead accessing the Colorado Trail. In addition to hiking, this trail is a haven for all types of outdoor recreation, including fishing, mountain biking, camping, horseback riding and more. It’s a nice escape from the traffic and buzz of Durango. The trail finishes at a dead end, approximately 2 miles after the spur.

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Why choose a Jeep tour over a scenic drive?

Answer: Rollercoaster

thrills, history on wheels and scenery that will make your jaw drop. Driving doesn’t even come close, according to Mary Thornton, who has owned San Juan Backcountry Tours in Silverton for five years.

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“It’s the excitement of getting in the backcountry to places you normally wouldn’t see. It’s thrilling and surprising. You ask yourself, ‘What’s going to be around that next corner?’” Molly Mickel, owner of Mild to Wild Jeep Trail Tours for 17 years in Durango, said the joy of her work is that every tour is a little bit different. “The wildflowers change, the sun shines on a peak in a new way, or maybe it snows. Rafting on the river is like that, too – it’s never the same.”

First-time Jeep-tour explorers can expect to see pristine wilderness from an open-air vehicle on more than 700 miles of Jeep trails. The Durango area is the gateway to the spectacular San Juan Mountain Range, and many popular tours take place in the Silverton or Ouray area. “People are just in awe of the mountains,” said Frank Miller, an eight-year veteran tour guide and manager at Mild to Wild. “They are fascinated with the way the glaciers have come through and left their mark.” Some tours ascend up to 13,000 feet above sea level. The panoramic vistas will have visitors filling up their camera’s memory cards. Vehicles cross rivers, pass waterfalls, and even go high enough for a snowball fight in mid-summer. Thornton said one tour even summits at 14,000 feet at Imogene Pass, over a ridge between Ouray and Telluride. This is unique, because Imogene is one of the rare “Fourteeners” where vehicles can go completely up and over the pass. “The beauty is what surprises people on their first ride – and it surprised me, too,” said Thornton. “I came up here from Texas and fell in love with the area. I’ve been over just about every mountain up here. Trust me when I say there’s no place in Texas that compares with these mountains.” She said a tour to Clear Lake, near Silverton, is her favorite place. Photographers and painters flock there in the summer for the incredible beauty. Pleasant summer temperatures also make Jeep tours a fun experience. But visitors should come prepared for high altitude, cooler temperatures and weather fluctuations. Mickel said the temperature can be in the 80s in town in Durango, but in Silverton, it could be 30 degrees cooler. Mild to Wild has enclosed vehicles in case of rain, snow or extreme cold, because the weather – especially in late spring – is always a wild card. “After 10,000 feet, you’re in Mother Nature’s hands,” said Miller with a laugh. “I see so many people get off the train (in Silverton) in shorts and flip-flops, because they’re not prepared for the difference in temperature,” said Thornton. “I guess it’s good for the shops, because they sell a lot of sweatshirts.” Along with the scenery, visitors will find that wildlife and wildflowers make the journey unforgettable. It’s fairly common to see deer, bear, moose, elk, marmots, hawks, bald eagles and many other creatures along the remote roads. Miller toured the high country in late April, and he predicted that this season will showcase abundant wildlife due to early, thick grass from warmer-than-average spring weather.

Photo courtesy of Ellie Scharfenberg of Mild to Wild Rafting and Jeep Trail Tours

Many Jeep tour companies have experienced guides who narrate the flora and fauna along the way, including the colorful history of the region dating back to the late 1800s. “Ghost town” tours of old mining sites in the Silverton/Ouray area are very popular. The spooky vibe of leaning, creaky buildings with no signs of life in the middle of nowhere are great, educational fun – especially for children. “A lot of people don’t expect that they’re going to learn so much,” said Mickel. Mild to Wild brings gear so children can try gold-panning in the rivers.

Animas Forks is one of the best-preserved mining ghost towns in Colorado, with buildings still standing surrounded by high mountain peaks and rolling alpine meadows. Visitors can explore the old buildings and get a hands-on feel for what life was like for early miners during gold and silver boom times in U.S. history. Mickel and her manager Miller both said the ride to Animas Forks is their favorite. Miller is well-versed in the history of this area. He was born and raised in Durango, and his family goes back four generations in the region. Some of his ancestors were miners. “I lived the history from Day One,” he said. Whether you’re adrenalin junkie intent on a cliff-hanging ride, or a family with young kids or older relatives who want a smoother route, local tour operators will help you customize your trip. The type of vehicles, from Jeeps to custom 4x4s, are usually open-air. Thrill-seekers might try San Juan Backcountry Tours’ “craziest thing up here” Black Bear route in Silverton, which is a one-way with switchbacks. “But the view at the top is breathtaking,” said Thornton. Mickel said her company focuses on the “mild” rides. “We’re not rock climbing or going up dangerous stuff,” she said. “But we like to let people know that it is quite bumpy.”

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The menu of options from tour operators allows visitors to find a trip that will fit their time and budget. People can choose a half-day trip (generally between $75-100 for an adult); or try a full-day combination tour, which might include a trip one-way on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Some operators will take visitors to trailheads or top fishing spots. For a deluxe package, Mild to Wild offers a three-day smorgasbord of Southwest Colorado delights with the “Rivers, Trails, Rails & Mesas” trip, which includes a train ride, Jeep tour, raft trip and visit to Mesa Verde. The cost of this package, subject to change, is $229 per adult and $179 per child. Some tour operators offer rain jackets, blankets, snacks and water, plus a lunch for full-day trips. Thornton said she spends most of her time in the office of San Juan Backcountry Tours because she’s so busy in the summer season. But she loves the chance to ride on a tour. “It’s living on the edge. It’s like a roller-coaster ride,” she said. “You’re screamin’ on the way up and screamin’ on the way down. And when you get to the bottom, you want to do it all over again.” Mickel said she doesn’t get out on enough rides, either, but when she does, she feels grateful. “We love to share the beauty and serenity and treasures that we have here. We’re so fortunate.”

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IF YOU GO • Tours run from mid-May through mid-October, weather permitting • Bring your camera, with extra batteries and memory cards • Dress in layers and bring a rain jacket • Wear good walking/hiking shoes • Drink plenty of water before, during and after the tour • Limit caffeine and alcohol before a ride to prevent altitude sickness • Wear sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses • If you wear contacts, you might switch to glasses because of dust • Be prepared to get a bit dirty or muddy • Children are usually welcome, but bring a car seat/booster with straps • People who have health conditions should check with their doctors before a ride

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Saddle Up

Riders follow a Big Corral guide along the Pine River in the Weminuche Wilderness. Photo courtesy of Denney Schilthuis/Big Corral

One of the advantages of our

region is the access to horseback riding and the vast trail network that goes with it. Outfitters and guest ranches are devoted to making your experience enjoyable and safe. And since they’re spread out across the region, you can pick and choose the type of scenery and activities you’re going to enjoy from horseback. Larger ranches usually offer full-service lodging, dining, riding clinics, day rides of varying lengths, and a first-hand experience of ranch life. Adjusting to the current economy, there are more vacation options than before. When taking a ride by the hour

or longer, you can expect experienced guides to show you the scenery, historic sites, and, as interpretive guides, tell you all about the areas flora and fauna. Whether you’re seeking a day ride or staying for several days, all guest ranch operators and outfitters emphasize that, to maximize your riding experience, know your abilities and fitness level. The longer the ride, the more your physical fitness will play a role in your enjoyment of the adventure. Don’t forget your camera, and happy trails!

Here is a sampling of guest ranches and horseback ride operators. For a complete list, visit

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Rim Rock Outfitters (970) 533-7588 Astraddle A Saddle (Pagosa Springs) (970) 731- 5076 Big Corral Stable (Bayfield) (970) 884-9235 Buck’s Livery (Purgatory) (970) 385-2110 Canyon Trails Ranch (Cortez) (970) 565-1499 Circle K Ranch (Dolores) (970) 562-3826

D Bar G Outfitters (Lemon Reservoir) (970) 385-6888 Diamond Hitch Stables (Pagosa Springs) (970) 731-7742 Elk Point Lodge and Stables (Bayfield) (970) 884-2482 Rustlers Roost Ranch (Mancos) (970) 533-7588 Rapp Corral (Durango) (970) 247-8454 San Juan Sky Outfitters (Durango) (970) 259-8590 Wolf Creek Outfitters (Pagosa Springs) (970) 264-5332

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Photo: Herald Files

One of the great things about camping is that it can be rewarding both as a family trip or solo adventure. Whether its car camping, hike-in camping or RV camping, there are plenty of options. The San Juan Mountain Association publishes the Southwestern Colorado Public Lands Campground Guide for anyone wishing to find a Forest Service Campground. Along with the large collection of maps, there’s a list of nearly 50 Forest Service campgrounds throughout the San Juan Basin. To obtain campground permits, contact the Forest Service offices (970) 247-4874. Stays are limited to 14 days in any one spot. Check with the San Juan Mountains Association and Forest Service for updated fire restrictions. For those wanting more “comfy” camping (think flushing toilets), the Durango Area Tourism Office has information on privately owned area campgrounds. Call (970) 247-0312. Some private campgrounds in the Durango area are listed below. Durango KOA 30090 US Hwy 160; (970) 247-0783 Durango East KOA is an old favorite with the people from Durango.

United Campground of Durango 1322 Animas View Drive; (970) 247-3853 On the banks of the Animas River, the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Train runs through the campground.

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Durango Year Round RV Park 5875 Highway 550; (970) 247-5199 Located 14 miles south of downtown Durango. All spaces have full hook-ups, lawns and trees. Riverside Resort and RV Park 13391 County Road 250; (970) 247-0783 Riverside Resort and RV Park provides a panoramic view of the jagged San Juan Mountains. Lightner Creek Campground 1567 County Road 207; (970) 247-5406 Lightner Creek Campground is close to fishing, hiking, swimming, whitewater paddling and playing golf. Blue Spruce RV Park & Cabins Vallecito Lake; (970) 884-2641 Whether you pull up in your Pop-Up, 5th Wheel , RV or stay in one of the cozy cabins or apartments, you’ll enjoy a variety of recreational opportunities and excellent facilities.

is blessed with an amazing variety of wildlife. The big-four examples are: elk, deer, bears, and mountain lions, none of which carry a consumer warning tag. Therefore, LEAVE THEM ALONE! Deer and Elk Tragically, while these animals are elegant and even regal, they’re also well-known for causing serious injury or death to drivers who hit them at high speeds on our highways. Owing to their earthy coloring, and famously capricious nature, they can go unseen until the last second – when it’s too late to avoid an accident. If you see flashing hazard lights on a moving vehicle ahead of you, it’s a likely warning that animals are in, or on the edge of, the highway and that caution is required.

The notable size difference between elk and deer can be the difference between life and death. In fact, the saying goes, “A deer can hurt you, but an elk can kill you.” The light of pre-dawn and sunset hours makes it particularly difficult to see elk crossing or standing in the highway. Another rule of thumb: “Where there is one, there are others.” So it’s vital to always remain vigilant while driving at any hour of the day or night. Just one more rule: If you encounter an elk on a hiking trail, remember, while they seem rather docile during the spring and early summer months, the hormones of the fall rutting season can make them dangerous. So as a general rule, always keep your distance from elk. Black Bears Abandon your anthropomorphic preconceptions about wildlife, especially when it comes to bears. They are not huggable or playful. Coexisting with bears is up to us since they were here first. While some animals can be dangerous, depending on the


Photo: Jerry McBride

The Durango area

Wildlife Be safe t r a m s

around wildlife nature of the encounter, the black bear is a very curious omnivore ready to capitalize on your mistakes. Although they normally feast on oak acorns, berries, small animals, insects, plants and vegetation, they’ve also discovered that humans provide a menu of options such as, bird seed, fruit, pet food, barbecue grill scraps and trash. How opportunistic are they? The stories of bears ripping open a car door are true. They can dismember a car for a leftover sandwich left on the back seat. Videos and photos from the U.S. Forest Service are clear evidence of their zeal for an easy snack at your expense.

While black bear attacks are rare, they can become bold and aggressive when defending food sources or their cubs. So respect them at all times. Never approach or harass bears; don’t allow bears to treat your campsite, or car as a food source. Remove the food and you’ll remove the bear. If you see bears in trees, stay away to avoid stressing an already unpredictable animal. Take a few photos if you must and move on so it will come down and leave on its own. Visit for a complete list of do’s and don’ts along with current regulations about black bears. To report any bear sightings and incidents, contact the Colorado Division of Wildlife at (970) 247-0855, Durango Herald Bear Tracker at (970) 375-4566 or Bear Smart Durango at (970) 749-4262. Mountain Lions Considered one of the world’s big cats, the mountain lion (about the size of a cheetah), and the much smaller, and equally shy lynx and bobcat call this home. As a fully equipped hunting machine, a solo mountain lion is, without argument, the most elegant and efficient predator in the region, able to bring down an adult deer and anything else within that weight class. Most commonly found in remote,

rugged areas offering plentiful prey and adequate cover, these conditions also exist in mountainous subdivisions, urban fringes, and open spaces where humans live and play.

To paraphrase world-famous wildlife naturalist, Jim Fowler, “All cats, large and small, have four unshakably lethal, instinctive skills in common: “They hunt, chase, kill and eat,” and they can do that with exceptional determination and precision.” Sleeping nearly 18 hours per day, the need to eat is a cat’s primary motivation to discontinue a good nap.

Though lions are generally calm and reclusive, their moods may change abruptly. With development in once remote areas, confrontations have been on the increase. A surge in the deer population can also be a factor. Not to put too fine a point on it but, hikers and mountain bikers need to be vigilant on the trail. Remember, stealth is a lion’s stock and trade, so remain alert and leave your iPod at base camp. To reduce the risk of lion confrontations you should follow these simple precautions: • If you have observed lions nearby, make ample noise when coming and going, especially from dusk to dawn. • Closely supervise children when they play outside and educate them about mountain lions. • Avoid dense shrubbery where lions might hide, especially around childrens’ play areas. • Don’t feed pets outside. Pet food attracts small animals which attract hungry lions. • If you’re grilling while camping or, keep a BBQ on the patio or yard, keep it as clean as possible. Along with the smell of raw meat, the smell of cooked meat is just as tempting to a mountain lion as it is to you.

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Jeff Perino fishes a section of the Florida River near Durango. HAL LOTT/HERALD

Durango and the surrounding Four Corners region

is an angler’s paradise. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced angler, local outfitters can help you with a license and all the gear you’ll need. Don’t forget the lemons and butter. For up-to-date information on water conditions and fishing reports, check with local outfitters or the Colorado Department of Wildlife. Call the San Juan National Forest office at (970) 247-4874 for information on high mountain waters and fishing, or visit the Colorado Division of Wildlife fishing page at Here are a few favorite spots, and remember, always respect the environment. Do not leave trash behind, such as tangled fishing line, hooks, beverage containers, food wrappers or any other trash for others to clean up. Trash has seriously negative effects on our watershed and wildlife.

Animas River

Flows from Silverton through Durango and into New Mexico. The best fishing is generally south of Durango. Specific areas are limited to catch and release, and flies and lures only. Please observe the signs.

Cascade Creek

Take Highway 550 north about 27 miles, just past Cascade Village at the base of Coal Bank Pass. The creek flows into the Animas River north of Haviland Lake.

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Dolores River

Take Highway 160 west to Mancos, about 27 miles. Turn right onto Highway 184 and drive 18 miles until you reach Dolores. The Dolores River flows from McPhee Reservoir. It begins about 50 miles north on Highway 145 at the base of Lizard Head Pass.

Dutch Creek

Take Highway 550 north to Hermosa, turn left at the sign for the Lower Hermosa Creek Road, following it to the end, about 4 miles. The creek runs near the trail.

Hermosa Creek

Take Highway 550 north to Hermosa, about 11 miles. Turn left onto Lower Hermosa Road and travel about 4 miles. The creek flows along the same path as Hermosa Creek Trail and joins the Animas River just south of Hermosa. Junction Creek Travel north on Main Avenue to 25th Street. Turn left and follow the road, which will become Junction Creek Road, to the large parking area. Junction Creek flows along the Colorado Trail.

Lime Creek

Take Highway 550 north about 27 miles, just past Cascade Village. Turn right onto Lime Creek Road. Travel a few miles until you begin to see the creek. The upper entrance to the creek may be found by traveling further north on Highway 550, ascending Coal Bank Pass. The entrance for the north end of Lime Creek Road will be on the right.

Los PiĂąos River

Take County Road 240 to Vallecito Reservoir. The river flows into Vallecito northeast of the lake. The best fishing is just above and just below the reservoir.

Mineral Creek

Photo courtesy of Duranglers

Lightner Creek

Take Highway 160 West from Durango, turn right at Lightner Creek Road. Lightner Creek flows along the road for several miles.

Take Highway 550 north to Silverton (about 50 miles) and begin ascending Red Mountain Pass. Mineral Creek runs parallel to the road for several miles.

Vallecito Creek

Drive to Vallecito Lake and take the hike up to the creek flowing into Vallecito from the northeast.

Other Creeks in the Area

Canyon Creek, Bear Creek, Big Lick Creek, and Shearer Creek.

May 13, 2012 • Southwest Colorado Summer Guide 23

wildflower Hikes By Karla Sluis Summer Guide Editor Photos by Hal Lott

Hikers walk down Engineer Mountain Trail below a wildflower meadow area. HAL LOTT/Herald

In Southwest Colorado’s forests, you might find shy wood nymphs, golden prince’s plumes or little pink elephants. These are just a few of the fanciful names of wildflowers that make a hike in the high-country feel like a fairy tale. Many of the region’s showiest wildflowers are in the subalpine life zone, from 10,000 to 11,500 feet, often in lush meadows. Photographers, painters and people who simply enjoy the beauty and peace of hiking should consider a trip to the high country in late summer. July and August are the best months to see the widest variety of blooms. Before you are dazzled by the pictures of pretty blooms, heed some advice before you launch into the wilderness. Follow “Leave No Trace” ethics to help preserve the San Juan trails for future generations: Travel on durable surfaces, dispose of waste properly, leave what you find, minimize impact, respect wildlife and be considerate of other trail users. More information on trail use can be found at Be prepared for a day of hiking with the following 24 • May 13, 2012 • Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

gear: plenty of potable water (don’t drink from streams, rivers, lakes, etc.), sunscreen, maps, compass, hat, sturdy hiking boots and weather-wise gear. Bring a hand lens for close observation, especially if you are serious about keying plants for in-depth identification. Note that you must understand and be able to identify basic plant parts such as corollas, anthers, stamens and different kind of petals to property identify a wildflower. The more casual observer might enjoy taking photos or stopping to paint a scene with portable art supplies. Summer in the high country is monsoon season. This means fast-moving, often intense thunderstorms. Weather changes quickly, and a perfect day can become dark and dangerous in minutes. Get under cover if a storm strikes. It’s smart to start your hike early so you can avoid most of the storms, which tend to happen in the late afternoon. Here are three fantastic wildflower day hikes near the Durango area, as noted in excerpts from Colorado’s Best Wildflower Hikes, Vol. 3: San Juan Mountains, by Pamela and David Irwin.

1. Clear Lake

Easy to moderate, 3 miles out and back Located west of Silverton at 11,600 to 12,000 feet Peak bloom is late July/early August The trail is above treeline, with switchbacks that flatten near the top, then mount a knoll for a view of the lake. Wildflowers can be seen along the entire route. Look for fireweed, white-headed yarrow, tall scarlet paintbrush, orange sneezeweed, white geranium, aspen sunflower, Parry goldenweed, tall chimingbells, western golden ragwort, aspen daisy, beauty cinquefoil, silverleaf scorpionweed, green gentian, king’s crown and wild blue flax. As the elevation approaches 12,000 feet, look for little pink elephants, which are flowers – not imaginary animals induced by light-headedness. Directions: From the Silverton junction on U.S. 550, go north 1.7 miles to FR 585 and turn left (west). Follow FR 585 approximately 4 miles, angling right (north) onto Clear Lake Road/FR 815. The Clear Lake Road sign recommends four-wheel drive vehicles only, but high-clearance and caution maybe adequate. Continue 2.8 miles and park by the switchback.

2. Rico-Silverton Trail

Easy to moderate, 4.5 miles out and back Located west of Silverton at 10,650 to 11,600 feet Peak bloom is late July/early August You’ll find some of the best wildflower viewing in the region in South Park meadow, with displays of rosy paintbrush and bright gold blooms. Every foot of the trail on this hike is filled with blooms.

“Moss Campion” blooms at Yankee Boy Basin on July 31. HAL LOTT/Herald

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A waterfall marks the turnaround point, and the Colorado Trail lies beyond for further adventures. Look for: Colorado blue columbine, subalpine arnica, orange agoseris, edible valerian, monkshood, subalpine larkspur, homely buttercup, yellow kittentails, false hellebore and Whipple penstemon. Directions: From the Silverton junction on U.S. 550, travel north 1.7 miles to FR 585. Go 7.8 miles to the road’s end. The last 2.8 miles to the trailhead are rough and rocky and include multiple creek crossings; a high-clearance vehicle is recommended.

3. Molas Pass East/Colorado Trail

Moderate to difficult, 4 miles out and back Located north of Durango, 10,200 to 10,600 feet Peak bloom is early July Hikers can get a long view of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad (three times each summer morning) and see a bit of mining and railroading history. Casual day hikers will find this route strenuous, with brief climbs at altitude. Look for: alpine melkvetch, bittercress, yarrow, marsh marigold, yellow monkeyflower, cowbane, rock primrose, rosy pussytoes, pink plumes, wild strawberry, wallflower, red globe anemone, snowberry and many-rayed goldenrod. Directions: From Durango, take US 550 north approximately 44 miles and turn right (east) into a large parking area following milepost 65. From Silverton, head south on US 550 about 6 miles, turning left (east) into the parking lot.


If you cut just a snip of this or a snip of that, plant specimens may be taken on public lands. However, here are some restrictions and guidelines: • No picking is allowed in national parks • If you’re taking an entire shrub, or if you plan to sell the plants, you must get a permit. Call or visit the San Juan Public Lands Center for information at (970) 247-4874, or 15 Bunett Court. • If you’re collecting for your own purposes, ask yourself, “Do I really need this?” It’s best to leave a plant for everyone to en- joy, especially if it’s growing along a well-used trail. • Some plants are considered threatened or endagered. Educate yourself before you pick. You should also be able to iden tify and avoid toxic plants, such as poison ivy. • If there is only one plant, leave it alone. If there’s an entire field of the species, it’s OK to pick. • Harvesting a single flower is preferable to digging up roots, which can kill many perennial plants. • Don’t dig up an entire plant and try to transplant it into a gar den. Instead, try harvesting seeds in late summer or fall, but keep in mind that germination can be challenging. RESOURCES The first two books can be purchased at Maria’s Bookshop in Durango. The third book is available at the Durango Public Library. • Flora of the San Juans: A Field Guide to the Mountain Plants of Southwestern Colorado, by Susan Komarek • High Country Wildflowers, by Candace Carson (local author) • Colorado’s Best Wildflower Hikes: VOL 3 The San Juans (Colorado’s Best Wildflower Hikes) Pamela D. Irwin (Author), David Irwin (Photographer)

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“Rosy Paintbrosh”

“Colorado Columbine”

“King’s Crown”

“Bracted Lousewort”

“Pinnate-Leaved Daisy”

May 13, 2012 • Southwest Colorado Summer Guide 27

Animas river Trail Stops

The Animas River Trail hugs the edges of the river for approximately 7 miles. Photo: Herald Files

The Animas River Trail offers a chance for

good exercise. With a rental bike, you can enjoy the scenic outdoors and “go with the flow” of the weaving river and train tracks through the heart of a “real town.” The route offers access to many kid-pleasing facilities and 12 city parks. You can choose the length of your ride and pick places you would like to visit. Do it all in one day, or spread it out for two half-days. There’s plenty to see as you coast along. Most of the trail runs alongside the beautiful Animas River, and attractive bridges cross over at several points. The popular, hard-surface trail is approximately 7 miles long, with 2.5 additional miles planned for the future. The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge train tracks follow the trail along the northern section, and if you time it right, you’ll hear the whistle blast and see it pass right next to you. The north end of this popular trail is the intersection of 32nd Street and East Second Avenue, and the south end extends beyond Santa Rita Park. The development of the Animas River Trail in Durango

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has occurred over several decades, beginning in the 1970s and continuing today with ongoing planning for new segments to the north and south. The trail is very popular with locals during the summer, and it’s also used by many commuters. Keep your ride safe and pleasant by following these tips: Wear a helmet; stay to the right and ride in single file; when passing, use a bell or say “on your left” to avoid startling walkers and joggers. The weather can change quickly in the summer, so it’s smart to dress in layers, and bring sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, water bottle and a rain poncho. A brown-bag lunch is also great idea for a picnic at one of the many parks. Don’t forget to rent a helmet and a lock. The trail is easy to navigate and can be accessed at many places from downtown Durango. (On the Internet, you can print out a map to take with you at http://www.durangogov. org/parks/ART-Orientation.pdf.)

Here’s a list of family-friendly highlights along the way:

Rotary Park

The gold and white Victorian gazebo is the centerpiece of this small park, which is a favorite site for weddings and special events. Children will enjoy dancing or running around inside the gazebo. This is also the best park in town for the time-honored thrill of rolling your body down a grassy hill. Read the map and the information stand (one of several along the trail), which offers a little bit of history of the Durango area.

Durango Fish Hatchery & Wildlife Educational and Visitor’s Center

Children will delight in feeding the fish at the Durango Fish Hatchery. Visiting hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Bring a quarter per child for the dispensers, and let children wander along the various raceways, sprinkling pellets for hungry rainbow trout. Keep an eye on little ones, and don’t allow children to touch the water or fish, or throw anything inside the raceways. The wildlife museum is located just north of the hatchery in the visitor’s center, which is open through midSeptember. Admission is free. Kids can pet the pelts of many different animals, and learn about wildlife mounted on the walls.

Durango Public Library

The library is on a hill next to the river. Take the curving path to the west toward the bike racks. If you’re thirsty at this point, you can grab a cool drink or cup of coffee and pastry

at the small Artisan’s World Bakery & Coffee Deli kiosk inside the library’s north entrance. The Children’s Library features a puppet stand, bean bags, books galore, comfy chairs and reading nooks and computers with educational games. There are events and activities for children throughout the summer: Visit for details. Teenagers can lounge in a separate area across the building with computers, books and cool hangout booths. Parents can take turns basking in the Quiet Room, upstairs in the far west corner: No cell phones, no talking, big art books… bliss. Step out on the eastfacing balcony or patio downstairs. It’s cool and shady there in the late afternoon, with chairs that face the river, trail and train tracks.

Durango Community Recreation Center

On a warm summer day, a pool will sound really good. Children will enjoy three ways to get wet: the toddler pool with a waterslide and whirly pool, a lap pool with diving boards, and the Splash Pad – an outdoor play area filled with squirty devices. Staff members will help kids and adults safely climb a 30-foot climbing wall. There’s also a full gymnasium, fitness area, racquetball courts, pool and ping-pong, and a childcare center for a small extra fee. Outside the center, there’s a grassy area and playground, and a boulder-filled outdoor amphitheater where children can enjoy more climbing. For more information and hours, visit:

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May 13, 2012 • Southwest Colorado Summer Guide 29

Durango Discovery Museum From the trail, bikers will see a red-brick building followed by a tall, grey smokestack. Located on the banks of the Animas River in a historic coal-fired, steam-generated AC power plant, the Durango Discovery Museum presents a wide range of hands-on science exhibits. Allow at least an hour for this stop, because children will be delighted by the sounds, the colors and fun things to push, crank and pop.

Santa Rita Park

The trail veers to the right, following a bend in the Animas River. At the bend, stop at the Whitewater Park (you’ll see wooden bleachers on the right) and watch rafters and kayakers maneuver through Smelter Rapids. Continue north on your bikes to the playground at the south end of the park. There are covered picnic tables and shady spots for lounging while children play on the best jungle gym in town. Stroll down to a sandbank at the river’s edge across from the play area and let children skip stones, dip their feet in the cold water and squish their toes in the wet sand. Watch out for rafters, who use this area as a pull-out spot.

IN-TOWN BIKE RENTALS: Monty’s Town Bike Rental 143 E. 13th St., (970) 426-2807 Second Avenue Sports 600 East Second Ave., (970) 247-4511 Hassle Free Sports 2615 Main Ave., 1(800) 835-3800 Pedal the Peaks 598 Main Ave., (970) 259-6880 30 • May 13, 2012 • Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

May 13, 2012 • Southwest Colorado Summer Guide 31

ON The River

When temperatures climb, people head to the Animas for “tubing”. photo: Herald Files

By late May and early June, the winter’s snowmelt

is at its peak. When the summer air heats up and those rambunctious, silt-brown waters give way to a tranquil clear blue disposition, that’s when the fun begins for floaters of all ages and skill levels. There are many local businesses offering rafting trips, rentals, and river information. Local river outfitters will point you in the right direction, provide the right gear, and make sure everyone in your group gets the most out of their experience.

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Customize Your Water Adventure Easy: “Duckie” Float Canoes

and “duckies” (inflatables) offer fun for late-summer floats in the Animas Valley or for paddling around on Electra, Vallecito or Haviland lakes. Local rentals are available.

Intermediate: Take a kay-

ak class. Although no experience is required, and any number of children can be included, there will be some fun things to learn. Classes usually start off in swimming pools, then advance to

lakes, and then the river, all in a matter of days. For safety’s sake, take each lesson.

Challenging: For our area’s

most challenging, whiteknuckle river experience, an Upper Animas overnight raft trip fits the bill. It’s a 20-mile adventure. The Upper Animas is a Class 4 and Class 5 white-water experience and NOT recommended for a first-time rafting trip. Anyone doing this trip must be fit enough to meet the criteria. Check with local outfitters for details.

Classification of Rapids

Interpretation varies nationally, but commercial outfitters generally agree with the following classification of rapids: Class 1: An easy, slow-moving current. Class 2: Small waves. Class 3: Rapids have medium waves with some technical maneuvers required. Class 4: Rapids occur in a faster current, with bigger waves that are “technical.” Scouting the river’s course is recommended prior to launch. Class 5: A very fast current with large waves; these rapids require scouting before launch. Class 6: Rapids are virtually un-maneuverable, and should only be attempted by professionals.

Understand your limits before agreeing to run a particular section of a river. Factors such as physical fitness, level of experience and whether or not you are an aggressive paddler should be decided before agreeing to join a group on a Class 4 or 5 trip.

Tubing: Going With the Flow

A different breed of “boater” floats the river when the peak water flows subside. This fun, leisurely way to get down the river is an affordable and relatively safe means to float. On any given day, when the sun is shining and the temperature is high, the river becomes a sea of suntanned, sandaled revelers.

May 13, 2012 • Southwest Colorado Summer Guide 33


A sample of local outfitters:

Rafters and kayakers, below, experience the thrill of whitewater on the Animas River in early summer. HAL LOTT/Herald photos

Durango Rafting Company

Mountain Waters Rafting

(970) 259-2252

(970) 259-4191

Durango Rivertrippers

Outlaw Rivers & Jeep Tours

(800) 292-2885 or (970)259-0289

(800) 259-1800

Flexible Flyers Rafting (970) 247-4628

4 Corners Whitewater Mild to Wild Rafting and Jeep Tours (970) 247-4789

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Photo: Herald Files

(970) 259-4608

May 13, 2012 • Southwest Colorado Summer Guide 35



When summer temperatures arrive, many people prefer the outdoors rather than being inside with an energy-sucking air conditioner. They either head for a lake or a river to cool off, or take advantage of local pools. As we recommend for all outdoor activities at Rocky Mountain altitudes, don’t forget to use the sunblock. A nasty, painful sunburn can happen in less than 30 minutes. Monitor your time in the sun to avoid skin damage.

Trimble Hot Springs

This facility has been popular with health-seeking locals and tourists for more than 100 years. It has soaking pools as well as a large, Olympic-size outdoor pool for swimming laps or just old-fashioned water fun. There’s also a snack bar, spa, park area and garden. Located at Trimble Lake and County Road 203, seven miles north of downtown Durango. Call (970) 247-0111 or visit

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The Toddler Pool at the Durango Community Recreation Center has slides, a whirlpool and squirty toys. KARLA SLUIS/Herald

Durango Community Recreation Center A great facility for several types of activities, the indoor pool complex includes a lap pool, diving boards, two small water slides, a lazy river and other aquatic facilities. The center is open seven days a week, and day passes are available. 2700 Main Ave., Durango. Call (970) 375-7300.

Durango Sports Club

This facility has several different ways to keep you in shape, and one of them is an outdoor swimming pool. Day passes are available and the facility is open seven days a week. 1600 Florida Road, Durango. Call (970) 259-2579 or visit



May 13, 2012 • Southwest Colorado Summer Guide 37


A brilliant sunset illuminates Piñon Hills Golf Course in Farmington, N.M. For more information, call (505) 326-6066 or visit Photo courtesy of Robert Castellino If you are seeking a golfing experience that is uncrowded, unspoiled, and unsurpassed, with spectacular scenery, Southwest Colorado has a great selection of courses. The fairways, water hazards and sand traps will challenge any golfer. But remember, when playing at 6,000 feet above sea level and higher, bring plenty of water and sun block. Durango: Hillcrest Golf Course has mature landscaping and spectacular views. Call (970) 247-1499.

Dalton Ranch: Located in the heart of the Animas Valley, fantastic vistas go with a restaurant lounge, driving range, practice green, sand trap, and chipping green. Call (970) 247-8774. The Glacier Club’s 27-hole course has it all in luxurious surroundings at the Tamarron Resort, further north on Highway 550. Call (970) 382-6700. 38 • May 13, 2012 • Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

Hunter’s Run Golf Course where green fees are reasonable and carts are available for 18-holes of play. Located 14 miles southeast of Durango near Ignacio, at 8400 Hwy 172. Call (970) 884-9785.

Cortez: Conquistador Golf Course is an 18-hole championship golf course with sand traps, water hazards, practice driving range and putting green. 2018 N. Dolores Road, off Highway 145 in Cortez. To arrange tee times, call (970) 5659208. Pagosa Springs: Pagosa Springs Golf Club is a championship 27-hole course with incredible views of the San Juan Mountains. 1 Pines Club Place. Call (970) 731-4755.

Farmington, NM: Piñon Hills known as one of America’s greats. Rated by Golfweek Magazine as one the best municipal golf courses in the United States year in and year out for the last twenty years. Located at 2101 East Sunrise Parkway Farmington, NM 87401. (505) 326-6066.

Keep up with the Colorado Rockies, Denver Nuggets, Fort Lewis College football, basketball, and all you sports information in one place.

“Sports Stop AM 930 Your ESPN Station”

May 13, 2012 • Southwest Colorado Summer Guide 39

AArts rts &&CCulture ulture

Most of the Music in the Mountains concerts are held in fairy-tale white tents at Durango Mountain Resort. HAL LOTT/Herald

The performing arts are in abundance during the warm summer months. For those with a passion for symphony and chamber music, along with popular music, the Music in the Mountains festival is a three-week extravaganza. Many of the world’s finest musicians convene for this event every summer to share their passion and talent with music fans. Performances are held in the breathtaking venues of the Durango Mountain Resort and other locations in the region.

Bar-D Wranglers offer a fun, unique Western-themed dinner theater. They perform a famous stage show after supper with songs of cowboys and the old West. The group’s humor and lively instrumentals will please the whole family. The beautiful location in the Animas Valley also features a mini-train and Western-style stores, including a leather shop, blacksmith and kid’s cowboy corner. Open nightly May 26 through September 3. Call (970) 247-5753 or visit Henry Strater Theatre: The world-renowned Henry Strat-

er Theatre is one of the oldest and most prestigious continually running theatres in Colorado, offering nearly 50 years of

40 • May 13, 2012 • Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

quality performances. Formally known as the Diamond Circle Theatre, the space has been extensively renovated, and now houses top of the line stage lighting and surround sound equipment for your viewing enjoyment. The Durango Melodrama & Vaudeville will feature the show “Two Orphans.” Shows start June 15 and run through Sept. 22. For schedule information, call (970) 375-7160 or visit

Community Concert Hall: The Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College offers a variety of concerts and stage productions. For an up-to-date schedule, visit, call (970) 247-7657, or visit the downtown ticket office at 707½ Main Ave.

Music in the Mountains: Southwest Colorado’s premier three-week classical music festival features orchestra, chamber and conservatory performances of classical and world music. The season will be from July 8-29. Special occasions include benefit and gala events. For complete information on artists, venues and program schedules, call (970) 385-6820 or visit

May 13, 2012 • Southwest Colorado Summer Guide 41

Art Galleries

Sorrel Sky Gallery in downtown Durango features a variety of artists. Photo courtesy of Linda Perala Hunt A Shared Blanket is a museum-quality Native American gallery featuring original artwork from tribal members throughout the United States, emphasizing Navajo weavings, Zuni fetishes, Pueblo storytellers and pottery, Alaskan sculptures, drums, flutes, baskets and jewelry. Visit or call (970) 247-9210.

Durango Arts Center hosts new exhibits monthly featuring nationally acclaimed traveling shows, juried exhibits and works by regional and local artists. 802 East 2nd Ave., Durango. Call (970) 259-2606 or visit The Ellis Contemporary Gallery, well known for exhibiting fine art, glass and jewelry, the gallery represents local and national artists. 822 Main Avenue, Durango. Call (970) 382-9855 or visit

Image Counts features limited and open-edition nature and landscape photographs by Jim and Eileen Baumgardt, as well as guest artists. 2053 Main Avenue, Durango. Call (970) 382-0055 or visit 42 • May 13, 2012 • Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

Karyn Gabaldon Fine Arts shows the contemporary landscapes of owner Kayrn Gabaldon along with glass, pottery, sculpture and jewelry of many other artists. 680 Main Ave., Suite C, Durango. Call (970) 247-9018 or visit The Open Shutter Gallery specializes in fine art photography, frequently featuring the famous and should-befamous. 735 Main Avenue in Durango. Visit or call (970) 382-8355.

Rain Dance Gallery The beautiful Rain Dance Gallery exhibits contemporary representational paintings, sculpture, glass, and furniture art by a variety of talented Western and American Indian artists; who depict life in the West from their own unique perspectives. 945 Main Ave. Call (970) 375-2708, or visit

Indian Corn Bracelet by Ben Nighthorse Campbell is featured at Sorrel Sky Gallery. Photo courtesy of Linda Perala Hunt

Sorrel Sky Gallery features paintings, sculptures, furniture, jewelry and pottery in bronze, ink, oils, watercolors, gold, silver and precious stones. 870 Main Ave. Call (970) 247-3555 or visit

Toh-Atin Gallery has featured fine Indian and Southwest arts and crafts since 1957 featuring jewelry, Navajo woven rugs and more. 145 W. 9th Street. For current information, call (800) 525-0384 or (970) 247-8230 or visit

May 13, 2012 • Southwest Colorado Summer Guide 43


Jake O’Nan checks out the mechanics of the Good Time Clock in the main room of the Durango Discovery Museum. HAL LOTT/Herald pository, a special collections library, the Office of Community Services and classrooms, labs and offices for the College’s Anthropology and Southwest Studies academic degree programs. Exhibition Gallery exhibits rotate annually. Gallery hours are 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday. The center is adjacent to the Fort Lewis College Community Concert Hall at the north end of campus. Parking permits are required on campus, and there are also metered spaces available. For more information, call (970) 247-7456 or visit

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum

The Four Corners region has one of the finest collections of museums per capita in the West. Treasures of the past are preserved and presented to capture the spirit and culture of our rich history. With a mission to preserve the past by educating each new generation for the future, visiting and supporting our museums means the past will live on.

Animas Museum

The Animas Museum is owned and operated by the La Plata County Historical Society, whose directors and staff have transformed the 1904 Animas City School building into a charming local history museum. The mission of the museum is to collect, preserve and interpret the history and culture of the San Juan Basin with a focus on La Plata County. The museum offers a variety of exhibits and programs for all ages, and is also home to our research library and photo archives. Two permanent exhibits include a 1908 restored classroom and the Joy Cabin, the oldest intact structure left in Durango. The cabin was built in the 1870s, and it has been completely restored to educate visitors on the daily lives of pioneers. The museum’s website offers two historic walking tours – Main Avenue and East Third Avenue – that can be downloaded for free: Main Avenue and Third Avenue. Animas Museum is located at 3065 West Second Ave., on the corner of 31st Street and West Second Avenue. Summer hours (May-October) are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $4 for adults and $2 for children 7-12. Children 6 and under are free. For more information, call (970) 259-2402 or visit

Center of Southwest Studies

The Center of Southwest Studies at Fort Lewis College connects individuals and communities with opportunities to explore, study and experience the Southwest’s dynamic heritage. The center facilities include the Exhibition Gallery, an archival re-

44 • May 13, 2012 • Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

The D&SNG museum is a tribute to railroading nationally and in Southwest Colorado. The museum is located in the Durango roundhouse. Half the roundhouse is used for the steam engines and the other half is for the museum. The museum features memorabilia and artifacts from the Durango and Silverton areas. There is also a movie coach that was used in the filming of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid where the railroads informational and educational films are featured. The D&SNG museum is at the south end of the roundhouse in Durango. Admission is free. Hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

Durango Discovery Museum at the Powerhouse

The new Discovery Museum at the Powerhouse honors the region’s rich history of human innovation from prehistory to the present. The museum inspires inventiveness, creativity, social responsibility and scientific understanding of energy – past, present, and future. The museum is a hands-on, interactive science center for all ages. Open year-round, the museum is a dynamic new place for family adventure, school field trips, early childhood learning, special events, “hanging around by the river, messing around with amazing technology, and just plain geeking out.” For more information, call (970) 259-9234 or visit Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday; 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday; and closed on Mondays. Admission is $9.50, and children age 2 and under are free.

Southern Ute Cultural Center & Museum

This state-of-the-art museum in Ignacio is a wonder of architectural beauty and fascinating exhibits on Southern Ute culture. Children and adults will delight in the many hands-on interactive exhibits, including storytelling by elders in a real buffalo teepee, getting a rodeo taken on a life-size horse replica, and making arrowheads, weaving beads and more. There are many educational activities, demonstrations and special events scheduled throughout the year. The center is within walking distance from the Sky Ute Casino, which has lodging, restaurants and a bowling alley. Admission is $7 for adults and $3 for children. For summer hours or more information, call (970) 563 9583 or visit

May 13, 2012 • Southwest Colorado Summer Guide 45

Antique Shops

Jewelry has an American West flavor at Durango Silver Co. HAL LOTT/Herald

For many people, buying, selling or trading in

antiques can be a sweet addiction, or a passion. And walking into an antique shop can feel like entering your grandparents’ home. Each antique has its own story to tell about a particular era, place or people. Whether you’re shopping or browsing, antique shops make for a wonderful tour down “Memory Lane.” Here are just a few in the local area: The Bookcase Quality used books, antiques, collectibles, comics, Southwest art facts, jewelry, posters, and much more. 601E. 2nd Ave., Durango. (970) 247-3776.

Durango Antique Market More than 30 dealers in 8,000 square feet offering quality antiques, furniture, primitives, glassware, pottery, tools, jewelry, western, Native American and collectibles. Located two blocks from the Durango & Silverton train station. 600 East Second Ave., Durango, (970) 247-4555. Durango Silver Co. Antiques from the American West; frontier, cowboy, Indian, furniture, rocks and unusual items of great interest. Specializes in silver jewelry, old Indian pawn, and jewelry with rare old turquoise and colored gemstones. Four miles west on Hwy 160. (970) 375-240,

A red decanter brandy glass set from the 1950s is one of the antique treasures at Treasures by Therese. HAL LOTT/Herald

46 • May 13, 2012 • Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

Toh-Atin Gallery Along with new examples of Native American art, the gallery has selections of beautiful vintage Indian and Southwest arts and crafts including jewelry, Navajo woven rugs and more. 145 W. 9th St., Durango. (800) 525-0384 or (970) 247-8230, Treasures by Therese About 5,000 square feet of antiques, furniture, pottery, records, tools, costumes and more. 111 E 30th St., Durango (in the alley). (970) 259-5034.

Gifts and Souvenirs for All Occasions

Greeting Cards • Jewelry Souvenirs • Adults & Kids T-Shirts Sweatshirts & Fleece Clothing Home Decor • Christmas Decor Unique Colorado-made Gifts O P E N 7 D AY S A W E E K

747 Main Ave. • Durango


May 13, 2012 • Southwest Colorado Summer Guide 47

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

A Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad train follows the Highline section of track north of Rockwood and high above the Animas River on the way to Silverton on Aug. 24. HAL LOTT/Herald

Durango was founded by the Denver & Rio Grande Railway in 1879. The railroad arrived in Durango on August 5, 1881 and construction on the line to Silverton began in the fall of the same year. By July of 1882, the tracks to Silverton were completed, and the train began hauling both freight and passengers. The line was constructed to haul silver & gold ore from the San Juan Mountains, but over the decades, passengers soon realized it was the view that was truly precious. This historic train has been in continuous operation for 128 years, carrying passengers behind vintage steam locomotives and rolling stock indigenous to the line. Relive the sights and sounds of yesteryear for a spectacular journey on board the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. For more information and reservations, visit call (888) TRAIN-07. DURANGO BLUES TRAIN JUNE 2

This exclusive moving musical experience features seven live blues acts, while passengers travel on The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad’s coal-fired, steam-powered train through the spectacular and breathtaking canyons of the San Juan National Forest. 48 • May 13, 2012 • Southwest Colorado Summer Guide


It’s the inaugural year for this adventure-filled train ride, with music, stories and Nature Trackers Club guidebook. Children will have an opportunity to meet their favorite T-Rex, Buddy. At the activity area, you’ll find fossil dig sites, dinosaur tracking, temporary tattoo station, music and other outdoor activities.


The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is partnering with True West Magazine to promote the 2012 annual Railfest celebration. The event will encompass Western-style cowboy events, Native American dancers, and a Heritage Train with the Southern Ute Tribe and Sky Ute Casino from Ignacio in addition to exciting rail-related special events and excursions.


Join amateur and professional photographers as the train chugs into the remote wilderness of the San Juan National Forest and drops you off to photograph the train steaming past. Passengers will have the opportunity to photograph the train with a backdrop of high peaks, autumn color and the Animas River.

May 13, 2012 • Southwest Colorado Summer Guide 49

for the Kids

Durango Mountain Resort

Family fun includes an alpine slide, mini golf, mountain biking, chairlifts rides, hiking, and beautiful views. Visit or call (970) 247-9000 for up-to-date schedules and activities.

Durango Nature Studies

This 140-acre nature center located 12 miles south of Durango offers a wide variety of hands-on workshops, classes and guided hikes, plus a summer day camp. Call (970) 382-9244 or visit

Kids Special Events Calendar SUMMER PERFORMING ARTS CAMP JUNE 10-16

Local families and visitors to the area can provide their children age 12 to 18 with a weeklong camp experience that focuses on the theater arts. Camp directors have strong backgrounds in the theater arts and recruited colleagues with experience from Broadway to Hollywood to make up their highly qualified staff. Call the Durango Arts Center at (970) 259-2606 or visit for information.

DINOSAUR TRAIN JUNE 15-17 Zach Collard of Bayfield has fun on the tree-to- tree zipline at Full Blast Adventure Center in Durango. HAL LOTT/Herald You don’t have to tell kids when summer is here. They’ve been waiting for months for warm weather and the chance to release that youthful energy. Summertime also offers plenty of opportunities to keep the learning experience moving forward without sacrificing the fun factor.

Durango Discovery Museum at the Powerhouse

Children will love this noisy, busy, colorful space with plenty of hands-on exhibits. The new museum honors the region’s rich history of human innovation from prehistory to the present. The museum inspires inventiveness, creativity, social responsibility, and scientific understanding of energy past, present, and future. For more information, call (970) 2599234 or visit

Boys and Girls Club of La Plata County

Located in the old Armory Building next to the Durango Community Recreation Center, there’s a completely remodeled facility including a small gym with games such as air hockey, pool and ping pong, a tech room complete with 10 computers and an arts room. 2750 Main Ave., Durango. Call (970) 3750010.

Durango Community Recreation Center

The Durango Community Recreation Center has an indoor toddler pool, lap pool, water slide, hot tub and outdoor splash pad. Kids can also try the climbing wall and other sports. Daycare available. 2400 Main Ave., Durango. Call (970) 375-7300 50 • May 13, 2012 • Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

It’s the inaugural year for this adventure-filled train ride, with music, stories and Nature Trackers Club guidebook. Children will have an opportunity to meet their favorite T-Rex, Buddy. At the activity area, you’ll find fossil dig sites, dinosaur tracking, temporary tattoo station, music and other outdoor activities. For more information, call (970) 247-2733 or visit www.


This Main Avenue event will kick off summer family fun with live music, a food court and beer garden, a micro golf tournament, and scientific craft and activities booths. It’s all to celebrate Dad! DaddyFest event is the fundraiser for Discovery Museum operations and programs. For more information, call (970) 259-9234 or visit

Kids enjoy a giant slide on Main Avenue sponsored by JB Construction and Red Mule Wranglers during Daddyfest. HAL LOTT/Herald

Summer camps

Children investigate a snake during Junior Naturalist Field Camp, a summer program of Durango Nature Studies. Photo courtesy of Sally Shuffield

Children in the Durango area have plenty

of options for summer fun. Local working parents or visitors on an extended stay have great access to safe, enjoyable childcare. Each summer program has a different focus, from the high-impact adventures at PACK to indoor science projects at Camp Discovery. Parents can enjoy adult time and children will be thoroughly entertained. Here are a few Durango-area summer camps.

Camp Discovery: This is a full-week science summer camp held at the Durango Discovery Museum at the Powerhouse. It was created to serve and encourage budding scientists. The hands-on science camps let kids build and program LEGO® robots, create icky and sticky concoctions, explore physics through roller coasters and skateboards, avoid nature-deficit disorder in the great outdoors and much more. For information on dates, times and registration, visit: or call (970) 259-9234. Junior Naturalist Field Camp: Durango Nature Studies offers hands-on education in nature and outdoor subjects. The weeklong sessions are held throughout the summer for various age groups. Their goal is to inspire a positive personal relationship with the natural world and to enhance respect for nature and our surroundings. For more information, visit or call (970) 382-9244.

Boys & Girls Club Summer Day Camp: Day camps are structured into six sessions, each with a theme: Life is a Game Show!, Camp Exploration, Take the Stage, Splish Splash, Camp Olympics and Crazy Camp. There are many field trips planned. For more information, visit, or call (970) 375-0010. Purgatory Adventure Camp for Kids: PACK is an exciting day camp for children ages 5-12 who love the outdoors. Kids can make new friends and explore activities, including hiking, rock climbing, a ropes course, disc golf, an alpine slide and much more. PACK’s flexible registration allows your child to participate for just a day or for the entire summer – whatever suits your family’s schedule. Visit www.durangomountainresort. com/PACK or call (970) 385-2144.

Summer Gametime: The Durango Parks and Recreation offers an all-day program for school-aged youth. Parents may register their child for specific days, weeks or months. Children will play games, create arts and craft projects, go swimming, take field trips and much more. Occasionally, children will go on a field trip or tour that will require a small supplemental fee. Weekly schedules are given out for easy transition between Summer Gametime and your child’s other activities. Visit or call (970) 375-7300.

May 13, 2012 • Southwest Colorado Summer Guide 51


FLC cyclist Garrett Alexander leads a group during the FLC Squawker Classic criterium race on April 23. HAL LOTT/Herald

Durango and the surrounding area is synonymous with bicycling and bike sports. With an abundance of incredible trails and endless stretches of asphalt, the town is a major biking destination. This is a sport with virtually no age discrimination – young and old can ride and enjoy the freedom and exercise the sport offers. Whether you choose biking as a sport or as a mode of transportation, Durango has it all. Here are a few of the more popular trail systems in the area. 52 • May 13, 2012 • Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

The most important safety tip: Wear a helmet! There is no helmet law in Colorado. However, before hitting the trail, or road (literally and figuratively), you should know about Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). It is extremely difficult to reverse the effects of it. While your skull is an attractive and handy carrying case for your brain, it offers limited protection upon impact with a tree, a vehicle or the road/trail surface. There are no spare parts for your brain, and the damage is nearly always permanent. It may look cool and fearless to ride without a helmet, but leave the attitude at home and protect your irreplaceable thinking machine with a helmet.

More rules to live by:

• Tread lightly on trails. • Ride on open and existing trails only. • Ride over water bars, not around them. • Know your ability before heading out on big rides. • Ride under control and be considerate to others. • The uphill rider has the right of way; downhill rider yields. • Cyclists yield to hikers and equestrians.


Here are three great mountain bike trails close to Durango.


Old Railroad Grande Trail This ride can be done as a 13.3-mile loop using both U.S. Highway 160 and the dirt road that follows the old railroad grade, or an easy 7.7-mile out and back. From Durango, take Highway 160 West through Hesperus. Turn right into the Cherry Creek Picnic Area, where you will find the trailhead.


Dry Fork Loop A great intermediate trail system accessible from Lightner Creek, just west of town. It’s rideable from late spring into the fall, and can be ridden as a loop or connected to the Colorado Trail, dropping into Junction Creek.

Hermosa Creek This is a wonderful 20+ mile ride from the Purgatory Mountain (Durango Mountain Resort) to Hermosa. The northbound version is not for the timid or the out-of-shape. In fact, you would be hard-pressed to call it “intermediate.” This is a popular ride in the midsummer months with narrow and technical sections. There is a fair amount of climbing and river crossings, too. Bring plenty of food and water, and be prepared for inhospitable weather.

Wildcat Canyon: Take High-

way 160 west until you see signs to CR 141 and turn left. Take the canyon road out as far as you wish. It eventually intersects with CR 140, where you can continue south, or turn right to get to Hesperus and take the highway back into Durango. This ride offers a terrific view of the La Plata Mountains. Be extremely cautious of cars, because the roads have little-to-no shoulder, or anything else remotely resembling a bike lane.


BMX racing has been around for a long time. It’s a fun, family-oriented sport and anyone can race, no matter what the age or gender. It’s also a lively social scene and a great way to make new friends.

Durango BMX is a bicycle motocross facility sanctioned by the American Bicycle Association, or ABA, and was built entirely by volunteers in the community. Throughout the summer, there are races on Sundays and Wednesdays. Gate practice is held every Tuesday from 5:30 p.m. until dusk. The track is usually open as long as it is dry. Getting there: From the Bodo frontage road on the east side of Highway 550/160, follow the road between Big 5 Sports and Four Corners River Sports. Better yet, ride your bike on the Animas River Trail and follow it north, out of town. It will be on the right-hand side, across from the pedestrian bridge. photo by Hal Lott

DEVO coach Annie Cheeney leads children in the Durango Coca-Cola/Sprite Kid’s Race on May 29 in downtown Durango. The event is part of the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic criterium races. HAL LOTT/Herald


Bakers Bridge Loop: There are a couple of excellent routes to take this scenic loop. Ride north on Main Avenue, turn right on 32nd Street and proceed to the intersection of CR 250 and turn left, staying on course to the bridge. Another popular route is to take Animas View Drive to CR 203. At the intersection before Trimble Hot Springs, take a right and cross Highway 550. Keep going east until you reach CR 250. Take a left and keep following the road until it reaches Bakers Bridge. After spending some time there, proceed west to Highway 550; turn left, following the highway back into town. May 13, 2012 • Southwest Colorado Summer Guide 53


Special Events

A bareback rider participates in the Fiesta Days Rodeo at the La Plata County Fairgrounds. HAL LOTT/Herald GUNFIGHT AT THE DIAMOND BELLE SALOON THROUGH EARLY SEPTEMBER Don’t miss a “real cowboy shootout” at 7th and Main Avenue on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 7 to 7:30 p.m. TASTE OF DURANGO MAY 20 A feast of a festival showcases the fabulous fare of Durango’s fine restaurants and craft beer from four breweries. There’s plenty of food and festivities for families and friends from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Main Avenue in downtown Durango. For more information, visit

IRON HORSE BICYCLE CLASSIC MAY 26-28 This multi-event, multiple-party extravaganza celebrates the love of cycling. 2,500 bicycles race the train to Silverton in the signature ride of this popular event. Come to ride or cheer on your favorite. For more information, call (970) 259-4621 or visit

MEN WHO GRILL JUNE 2 To benefit the Women’s Resource Center, grilling teams of both amateur and professional levels wear costumes and deck their booths with a theme. The event runs from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

54 • May 13, 2012 • Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

on Main Avenue between 12th and 13th streets. Attendees help choose the winners of various categories. For more information, call (970) 247-1242 or visit

ANIMAS RIVER DAYS JUNE 8-10 Enjoy a weekend-long, boat-and-float celebration. This festival features kayaking competition, a rubber duck race, river parade and more. All kinds of river races and fun will be held at Santa Rita Park on Friday evening, and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call (970) 259-3583.

TOUR OF GREENMOUNT CEMETERY JUNE 9 The Animas Museum presents this event, which will be held from 10: 30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Wear comfortable shoes and bring a water bottle. Hear the stories of early settlers. For more information, call (970) 259-2402 or visit DURANGO MOTOR EXPO JUNE 16 A classic car and hot rod show with an exhibit on Main Avenue in Durango. Visit for more details. FUN IN THE SUN ARTS & CRAFTS SHOW JUNE 29 This arts and crafts fair will be held at Buckley Park (across from The Durango Herald) and will be open to the public. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call (970) 247-2117 or visit; durango. FOURTH OF JULY FIREWORKS JULY 4 Come join in the fun for all of the areas Fourth of July events. Starting with a breakfast and 5K at Rotary Park and ending with a parade at 6 p.m. and a street dance on Main Avenue and fireworks.

ART ON THE ANIMAS JULY 13-15 This arts and crafts fair has become a great tradition exhibiting works from many of our local artists. The event will be held at Santa Rita River Walk on Friday from noon to 6 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, call (970) 247-2117 or visit fairandphoto@ Honeyville team members Kevin Culhane, left, and John Feistner, right, prepare Honey BBQ Brisket Sandwiches at the Men Who Grill event. HAL LOT/HERALD

May 13, 2012 • Southwest Colorado Summer Guide 55


Special Events

Robby Overfield performs on the D&SNG Durango Blues Train. HAL LOTT/Herald

Durango Outdoor & Travel Expo July 20-21 This event will showcase outdoor activities and travel destinations in the Southwest and beyond. Friday 10am-8pm and Saturday 10am to 6pm at La Plata Country Fairgrounds. For more informaiton Visit www. GEM AND MINERAL SHOW JULY 6-8 The event features kids’ activities, a silent auction, raffle, mineral displays and about 40 vendors. The show is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the La Plata County Fairgrounds. Call (970) 385-6850.

MUSIC IN THE MOUNTAINS JULY 8-29 The 25th festival season features orchestra, chamber music and conservatory performances of classical and world music. Venues include Durango Mountain Resort, Durango and Pagosa Springs, and concerts feature more than 350 musicians. Visit or call (970) 385-6820 for more information.

COWBOY CAMP JULY 14 Mosey to the Animas Museum from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for some Western-style living history at “Cowboy Camp.” Visitors can try their hand at roping and other cowboy skills, as well as sampling some of the cowboy grub, cooked on a campfire. For more information, call (970) 259-2402 or visit

ARTISTS MARKET JULY 21 Durango Friends of the Arts presents its first outdoor event, with local paintings, sculpture, pottery, jewelry, collage, printmaking, drawings, glass, leather and fiber. This event will be held at the Edgemont Picnic Grounds from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, visit or call (970) 247-9223. Durango Fiesta Days JULY 21-29 This annual event is the area’s oldest celebration of Durango’s Spanish history and cowboy heritage, featuring rodeos, a parade and more. For information visit

56 • May 13, 2012 • Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

LA PLATA COUNTY FAIR AUGUST 9-12 Held at the La Plata County Fairgrounds, featuring a rodeo, demolition derby, carnival, live music, food and more. For more information, call (970) 382-6471.

RAILFEST AUGUST 17-19 For train buffs and everyone who loves trains. Don’t miss the World Fast Draw Competition/Celebrity Shoot Out at the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad depot. Ride the trains, see the exhibits and enjoy the events. For details, visit or call (888) 8724607. USA PRO CYCLING CHALLENGE AUGUST 20 A seven-day race from Durango to Denver, with top racers from around the globe. Visit for more information.

WHOLE EXPO SEPTEMBER 8-9 The Holistic Health and Ecological Conference & Exposition for Your Whole Life,


will hold its annual event in Durango on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at La Plata County Fairgrounds. Contact Herb Irle for more information: (970) 259-4027. DURANGO COFFEEFEST SEPTEMBER 8 Come for your morning coffee, food and music at 8th St. and Main Ave. Call (970) 385-4354 for more information.

DURANGO CONNECT SEPTEMBER 26 From 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., celebrate the Animas River Trail. Join hands from the north end to the south, a human chain 7 miles long. DURANGO COWBOY GATHERING OCTOBER 4-7 The gathering is an exciting, fun-filled event with evening performances and Saturday daytime sessions. Poets and musicians from throughout the country grace an intimate stage at The Strater Theater, performing classic and contemporary poems and songs that will bring tears to your eyes and keep you in stitches.

Visitors check out classic cars during the Durango Motor Expo.


May 13, 2012 • Southwest Colorado Summer Guide 57


Beer judges taste beer and take notes during the San Juan Brewfest . HAL LOTT/Herald

For adults, one of the rewards of patiently waiting for summer weather and playing hard is “knockin’ down a tall, cool one.” Over the past few years, Southwest Colorado has become a beer lover’s mecca with several microbreweries quenching locals’ thirsts. At any of the great bars and restaurants in the region, bartenders pull the handles on locally-brewed beers on tap. SAN JUAN BREWFEST AUGUST 25 Southwest Colorado is becoming the Napa Valley of beers. Come and meet approximately 30 brewers and taste many of the best brews this region has to offer. This event will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. and includes live music in downtown Durango on Main Avenue between 12th and 13th Streets in front of Buckley Park. The cost is $25 to enter. Must be 21 to taste the beers. Guests receive a souvenir 5-ounce tasting mug and unlimited tastings of the over 60 different beers. Visit www. for more information.


Carver Brewing Co. The brews always on tap at this restaurant and bar include Old Oak Amber Ale; Colorado Nut Brown Ale; and, Iron Horse

58 • May 13, 2012 • Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

Oatmeal Stout. 1022 Main Ave., Durango. Call (970) 259-2545 or visit Dolores River Brewery This brewery was founded on the premise that everybody needs somebody, and every community should have a comfortable place to hang out with that “somebody!” It’s the place where you can meet friends, old and new, over a beer and good food. Their ales, lagers, and stouts are all “live,” that is, they have never been filtered or pasteurized. 100 S. 4th St. in Dolores. Call (970) 882-4677 or visit Durango Brewing Co. Boasting a tap room, they also have open bluegrass jams every week. 3000 Main Ave., Durango. For more information, call (970) 247-3396 or visit

Pagosa Brewing Co. This brewpub features several flagship brews. Amenities include a heated patio and tree covered beer garden with views of the surrounding mountains. Located at 118 N. Pagosa Blvd. in Pagosa Springs. For more information, call (970) 731-2739 or visit

Silverton Brewery Silverton went without a brewery until Silverton Brewery opened for business in June of 2005. The brewing system became fully operational in April of 2006 with the five-barrel system producing fine beers ever since. 1333 Greene St., Silverton. For more information, call (970) 387-5033 or visit Steamworks Brewing Co. This very popular local restaurant and brewery features a wide variety of beers and ales, and it all goes down well with a great food menu. 801 East Second Ave., Durango CO 81301. For more information, call (970) 259-9200 or visit

SKA Brewing Co. A tasting room only, is located in Bodo Industrial Park,. The company depends on local restaurants and pub rooms to market their products, including their popular Pinstripe Red Ale, Buster Nut Brown (seasonal), a True Blonde Ale and other specialty brews. Visitors are always welcome at their facility where you can pick up”to-go’s,” kegs, and pony kegs. 225 Girard St. Durango, Call (970) 247-5792 or visit www.

Don Cornutt, a United Way volunteer, delivers beer to the judging tent during the San Juan Brewfest on Aug. 27. HAL LOTT/Herald

May 13, 2012 • Southwest Colorado Summer Guide 59

New winery near train station offers unique tastings and artwork By Elizabeth Silverstein Special to the Summer Guide Photos by Hal Lott

Walking into Four Leaves Winery is like walking into a home – one where guests not only feel welcome, but are expected to stay awhile. I received the menu explanation from Tracy Fagner, who owns and runs Four Leaves Winery. She opened the business with her husband, Dean, in January. They own another location, D’Vine Wine, in Manitou, Colo. Glasses of wine are $7, with three tastings for $5, or four tastings plus a full glass for $10. They have an array of reds, whites and dessert wines, with several red wine blends. They also offer chocolate tastings and various cheese, meat and fruit plates provided by Hot Tomatoes. I decided to try the four tastings and a glass.

I first tried the Chardonnay, which is Tracy’s specialty and, she told me, what she drinks all the time. She adds lemon peel and a bit of pear to the wine. It has a crisp and fresh taste, and the little zing from the lemon is easy to catch. I then tried the Cranberry Shiraz from their fruit wine list. For my full glass, I asked for the Viognier from the white wine list. 60 • May 13, 2012 • Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

The interior of Four Leaves Winery features work by local artists.HAL LOTT/Herald

They have two blended wines currently on their menu: a Zinfandel/Shiraz and a Cabernet/Merlot, both of which I had to try. The Zinfandel/Shiraz blend was a little less smooth, but the Cabernet/Merlot was fuller. They were richer and a little more dimensional. Dean said that they offer blended wines because it allows for creativity. “It’s something that’s different that visitors might not experience anywhere else,” said Dean, adding that they’re always open to suggestions and trying new ideas.

When asked about European culture verses American culture in regards to trying blends, Dean said that Americans tend to be a little slower to change and try new ideas. He gave the example of a screw top on a wine bottle. “A screw top on a wine is really frowned upon on in the U.S. There is no difference in the wine itself, but our perceptions take a little longer for us to embrace. Americans are more comfortable with a pure Merlot or a pure Zinfandel, and when you start mixing something with it, it starts taking us out of our comfort zone, so it takes a little longer for Americans to embrace the concept,” said Dean. “For us at Four Leaves, it’s just a way to experience different grapes and create something

Winery owners Tracy and Dean Fagner say they offer blended wines because they allow for creativity. HAL LOTT/Herald

May 13, 2012 • Southwest Colorado Summer Guide 61

new with them. It allows us to bring in different grapes and experiment and create something new.” Karen Barger, the owner and sommelier at Seasons, has noticed the delay in blended wines transitioning in America.

“We’re now catching up to making some really terrific blends,” said Barger. “There are certain grapes that do better together than others. There are things that go together really well. It’s almost like having cream in your coffee: Is there a little bit, is there a lot?” Different grapes have different flavor profiles, and offering blends as well as allowing people to make their own allows them to learn what grapes produce after being processed. “It’s a great educational tool,” said Barger. “People can taste different components and put them together in a way that’s appealing to them.” That’s the part of the education and accessibility aspect at Four Leaves Winery.

“We want to bring wine to the masses and provide a venue that allows everybody to come and experience wine,” said Dean. They seek to keep their prices competitive and offer tastings all the time. They currently produce wine in their Manitou location, but will begin production in Durango in June. “If we make it right there, it’s just a natural progression to take people who are learning about wine to show them what we do,” said Dean. “If they are interested, they can take the next step and make their own wine. We’ll walk them through it and show them the process.” Dean added that it’s not an intimidating process, nor does it involve rocket science. He’s found that those who learn can and do make their own wine at home. 62 • May 13, 2012 • Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

Their encouragement extends to other aspects of their winery as well. They promote local artists, including Tracy’s mother, by including the artwork on their brick walls, and have consistent Friday local musician nights, which packs the house each time.

“We’re not in this just for us. We want to help promote local artists, local musicians and things like that,” said Dean. “And ultimately, we want to help the whole town and the community as well. That’s our goal. The music, like the artwork, has been an offshoot of that, and that’s been a tremendous amount of fun for us.”

If You Go

Four Leaves Winery opened in January and is located at 528 Main Avenue, near the D&SNG train depot. Wine tastings take place every day: Monday-Saturday from noon to 8 p.m.; and Sundays from noon to 7 p.m. No appointments are necessary. The business also offers instruction in making wine. The site is available for rent for private wine-tasting events. For more information, call (970) 403-8182 or visit

Join KRSJ and celebrate the wild west with Fiesta Days, the La Plata County Fair, and stay informed with Fox News and Local News for the Four Corners. May 13, 2012 • Southwest Colorado Summer Guide 63

BlueGrass Festivals

The Punch Brothers perform at a FolkWest production in Pagosa Springs in 2011. Photo courtesy of Michael Pierce Photography

Bluegrass music was born in the in the hills of Appalachia and it continues to thrive there. But for the past few decades, aspiring young musicians have also found a flourishing bluegrass scene in Colorado. There are two festivals in Pagosa Springs and a packed venue in Telluride that grow in popularity each year. The Bluegrass Critic blogger notes: “What is most impressive about Colorado’s bluegrass scene is the unknowns: the young groups practicing in their living rooms for hours a day; the folks showing up to the bluegrass jams and concerts around the state; those pushing to share their music with the community that produce the expanding reputation of bluegrass in the Rocky Mountain state.”

The Bluegrass Camps in Pagosa Springs are an example of local musical fervor. Colorado Bluegrass Music Society offers comprehensive information on music and events around the state at

Jack Murray of The Mountain Gazette reports that Colorado string bands have never been shy about having their way with bluegrass. “The fans are really open minded to the looseness,” says Mike Chappell, who grew up checking out Salmon and Yonder Mountain String Band in high school and now plays mandolin in the up-and-coming Fort Collins-based band, Head for the Hills. “It’s become the Colorado tradition to always take bluegrass somewhere else.” 64 • May 13, 2012 • Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

BLUEGRASS CAMPS JUNE 5-7 FolkWest has two great bluegrass camps – one for adults and one for kids – planned for 2012 on Reservoir Hill, just prior to the Pagosa Folk ‘n Bluegrass festival. Pagosa Folk ‘N Bluegrass Jam Camp for Adults is an excellent opportunity for intermediate level pickers to take a big step forward in their bluegrass understanding and pickin’ proficiency. The children’s camp is open to students ages 8-16. (Exceptions will be made for younger students who have attended a past bluegrass camp) This camp is an opportunity to explore traditional music in a supportive environment. For more information, visit www. PAGOSA FOLK N’ BLUEGRASS JUNE 8-10 Pagosa Folk ‘N Bluegrass is now a 3-day festival at Reservoir Hill Park in Pagosa Springs. Workshops will be offered on Friday afternoon, and they are included in the price of admission and are open to players of all abilities. Instructors from the bands Bearfoot, The Deadly Gentlemen, Jayme Stone and others will be on hand to teach a variety of classes in instruments, songwriting, jamming, vocals and more. Main stage lineup: Mountain Heart, Jimmy LaFave, David Wilcox, Sierra Hull & Highway 111, Bearfoot, Elephant Revival, The Deadly Gentlemen, Phoebe Hunt Project, SHEL, Lake Street Dive, Cahalen Morrison & Eli West, Larkin Poe, Finnders & Youngberg and Jayme Stone’s Room of Wonders. Tickets & info: www.folkwest. com or (877) 472-4672

Jimmy LaFave (in black beret) and his band perform in the main tent at the Four Corners Folk Festival in Pagosa Springs on Sept. 4. HAL LOTT/Herald


There is seating under the festival tent at Reservoir Hill Park in Pagosa Springs for 1,200+ people and a huge meadow behind where you can stretch out in the sun or set your chairs up. There will be food vendors providing great festival fare on site all weekend, everything from bratwursts and roast corn to Italian. Lineup: Railroad Earth, Sam Bush Band, Jerry Douglas featuring Omar Hakim & Viktor Krauss, Loudon Wainwright III, Darrell Scott, The Wood Brothers, Elephant Revival, Caravan of Thieves, Mike + Ruthy, Sarah Siskind, You Me and Apollo, Anne & Pete Sibley, The Milk Carton Kids, Rose’s Pawn Shop. Tickets available by phone 1(877) 472-4672 or by website at


Guests relax in the reserved tent seating at the Four Corners Folk Festival on Sept. 4. HAL LOTT/Herald

The 19th Annual Telluride Blues & Brews Festival recently announced the initial 2012 lineup: Phil Lesh & Friends, Gov’t Mule, and the B-52s headline the September Festival weekend, with additional festival appearances by Chris Robinson Brotherhood, MarchFourth Marching Band, Tab Benoit, Little Hurricane and The Lee Boys, with many more acts to be announced. For festival information or to purchase tickets, visit To purchase tickets by phone, call toll-free at (866) 515-6166. May 13, 2012 • Southwest Colorado Summer Guide 65


ay field

Visitors watch sheep trailing event during Heritage Days in Bayfield. Photo: Herald Files


is a charming and friendly town just 18 miles east of Durango. The town, named after William A. Bay, was laid out in 1898 and established in 1906. Bayfield has continued to serve as a supply town and social center for the surrounding farmers and ranchers, growing rapidly in the past 30 years from 320 residents in 1970 to around 7,140 today (according to the Bayfield Chamber of Commerce). The town is a mix of the old and the new west nestled in the beautiful Pine River Valley. It is situated downstream from Vallecito Lake on the banks of the Pine River. The earliest residents of the valley were Ute Indians. It wasn’t until the late 1800s that the region was settled by non-Indians. The first herd of cattle was brought to the area in 1875 and the valley was further settled as ranchers discovered its fertile soil. You can contact the Bayfield Chamber of Commerce at (970) 884-7372 or (800) 447-4094. 66 • May 13, 2012 • Southwest Colorado Summer Guide


Annual 4th of July Celebration JULY 4 Join us for our famous parade and celebration on Mill Street and at Joe Stephenson Park. Enjoy a full day of fun and activities with food, arts and crafts and entertainment. For more information contact or call (970) 884-9544. Heritage Days END OF SEPTEMBER Heritage Days & Sheep Trailing are baaaack! The town turns out to watch as a local rancher’s flock is herded through the historic downtown in an event called “sheep trailing.” Demonstrations of shearing and wool spinning follow the parade of animals. This event also includes plenty of food and a 5K run. For information on this event’s schedule, call (970) 884-2331 or visit



When you drive into Cortez, you have reached the “Heart of Southwest Colorado.” It is also the gateway to Mesa Verde National Park, one of the more popular places to visit in the region. The area surrounding Cortez features the La Plata Mountains to the east, the Great Sage Plain to the southwest, and the Ute Mountains to the west.

Cortez dates back to 1886, but the area’s occupied history began with cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde National Park and the multitude of other archaeological sites on the valley floor. Long after the Ancestral Puebloans abandoned their homes around 1300 A.D., members of the Ute Tribe entered the area. Ute Territory changed dramatically at the end of the 19th century, when a mining rush brought European settlers to the area. The miners were soon followed by loggers, farmers and ranchers. For more information about the region, call the Cortez Chamber of Commerce at (970) 565-3414, or visit


Cortez Cultural Center The Cortez Cultural Center is located in an historic building built in 1909 to house the E. R. Lamb Mercantile. The Center, founded in 1987, is a nonprofit organization with the goal of providing educational, cultural and artistic programs for its members and the public. It has become a home for artists, cowboy poets, archaeologists and musicians. Since its inception, the center has provided programs to thousands of residents and visitors to the Four Corners area. It currently has over 450 members and receives more than 35,000 visitors annually. The Cultural Center increases knowledge of, and appreciation for, the vast archaeological resources of the area; provides enrichment experiences including lectures, museum exhibits, art displays, and Native American cultural programs. The Center also hosts field trip visits to the museum and cultural park and Hawkins Preserve for schools, Boy Scouts, senior citizens and other tour groups throughout the year. A video library is available with topics including NASA; Colorado History; Native American History, Culture, Arts, and the Ancient Puebloans. Call (970) 565-1151 or visit


INDIAN ARTS & CULTURE FESTIVAL MAY 26-JUNE 3 This festival provides a chance for visitors to explore and experience the wide variety of Native American culture available in Southwest Colorado. Dances, tours and concerts are some of the highlights of the festival. For more information, call (970) 565-8227 or visit

A Native American woman shows baskets she made at the Mesa Verde Country Indian Arts & Culture Festival. Photo courtesy of Branson Reynolds. UTE MOUNTAIN ROUND-UP PRCA RODEO JUNE 7-9 This pro rodeo event is not only sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association (PRCA), it’s a family-oriented, funpacked rodeo and carnival at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds east of Cortez. For more information, call (970) 5651000, or visit MONTEZUMA COUNTY FAIR AUGUST 1-4 A genuine county fair at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds with animals, exhibits, special events, food and judging. For more information, call (970) 565-3123. CORTEZ RENDEZVOUS HOT AIR BALLOON RALLY AUGUST 3-5 Event will be held in Parque de Vida in Cortez. For more information, call (505) 977-2679. GEORGE GEER MEMORIAL CAR SHOW AUGUST 11 This car show will feature hot rods to roadsters in Centennial Park. For more information, call (970) 565-0770.

MESA VERDE COUNTRY FOOD, WINE & ART FESTIVAL AUGUST 25 Enjoy wine tasting and sales of wines from Colorado wineries, plus art, food and music in City Park. For information, call (970) 565-8227 or visit HARVEST BEER FESTIVAL SEPTEMBER 8 Sample beer from regional breweries, and enjoy live music and a silent auction at this fundraiser for the Monetzuma Land Conservancy. For information, call (970) 565-1664.

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The river winds through the valley to McPhee Reservoir, the second largest lake in Colorado. The valley was once home to the Ancestral Puebloans, and more than 1,380 archaeological sites were identified in the Dolores Project area prior to the construction of the reservoir. The extensive collections from those excavations are archived and interpreted at the Anasazi Heritage Center just north of Dolores, which is also the headquarters of the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument.


Photo by Nancy Richmond

You will be charmed by this little town, located in the

spectacular Dolores River Valley. The full Spanish name of the Dolores River was Rio de Nuestra Señora de Los Dolores, “River of Our Lady of Sorrows,” conferred by Fathers Escalante and Dominguez on their historic expedition in 1776.

Anasazi Heritage Center The Anasazi Heritage Center and visitor center for Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, 27501 Highway 184, Dolores, has office hours of 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday and Museum hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (March through October), 7 days a week. Closed for all federal holidays. For more information, call (970) 882-5600 or visit ahc or

Galloping Goose, Motor No.5 The Goose (named for its loud honking and waddling motion) carried mail and sometimes nervous passengers over a narrow gauge track through the San Juan Mountains for almost 20 years until 1952. Visit the goose at the Grande Southern Railroad Museum on Railroad Avenue.

Town of Rico Located north of Dolores on the road to Telluride, this little town of 500 friendly folks is the perfect place for getting away from it all. If you’re looking for a laid-back vacation in a restful mountain haven with unlimited outdoor recreational opportunities, Rico, Colorado is your kind of town. For those who love quiet mountains more than busy resorts, Rico will certainly satisfy. For updates on events throughout the summer and fall, contact the Rico Chamber of Commerce at


DOLORES RIVER FESTIVAL JUNE 2 Arts, crafts, food vendors, live music, kids’ activities, beer garden, free raft rides and River Dog Contest. For more information, call (970) 882-4780 or visit

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ESCALANTE DAYS AUGUST 10-11 Annual festival in Dolores featuring Galloping Goose rides, a rubber duck race on the river, mountain bike race, chainsaw and arm-wrestling competitions. There will be games, arts, crafts and a barbeque at Flanders Park. Contact the Dolores Chamber at (970) 882-4018.



Motorcycles line Goddard Avenue in downtown Ignacio during the Four Corners Motorcycle Rally. HAL LOTT/Herald Photo by Hal Lott

Ignacio may be small, but it has a big heart. Home to the Southern Ute Tribal Headquarters and the Sky Ute Casino, small businesses are the life blood of this quaint community. Ignacio also has a huge community for horses and horsemanship. The fairgrounds plays host to several equestrian events each year, featuring clinics run by some of the top horse trainers in the nation, and extreme cowboy competition. Bike Week in the fall becomes home for around 22,000 motorcycle enthusiasts arriving from several neighboring states. For complete information on the events listed below, contact the Ignacio Chamber of Commerce at (970) 5635541. SOUTHERN UTE BEAR DANCE & POW-WOW MAY 25-26 This annual event is a fun celebration of Native American culture at Bear Dance Grounds. For more information, call (970) 563-5541.

CAR CRUISE & POTLUCK PICNIC JUNE 9 During this “Spring Into Summer Celebration,” watch the exhibition of classic hot rods in downtown Ignacio. You can even “hitch a ride” as these rumbling classics parade up and down Goddard Ave. For more information, call (970) 563-0344.

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TAYLOR BARREL CLINIC JUNE 9-10 Catch the action as riders and horses exhibit their own brand of speed and agility. The event will be held at Sky Ute Downs. For more information, call (970) 563-5541.

SOUTHERN UTE SUN DANCE JULY 13-16 This event will be held at the Sun Dance Grounds. For more information, call (970) 563-0100 x2250. SAN IGNACIO FIESTA JULY 28-29 A Car Cruise will kick off the event on June 28. Call (970) 563-0344. The fiesta will also include a parade, picnic, softball tournaments and a dance. Call (970) 563-4241. IGNACIO BIKE WEEK AUGUST 38-SEPTEMBER 3 Thrill to the sights and sounds of 22,000 roaring motorcycles riding in with flair through the spectacular scenery of Southwest Colorado. If you have a motorcycle, you don’t want to miss this event. There will be daily poker runs deep

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into the best roadways in the U.S., full-time fun in downtown Ignacio featuring free concerts, beer tents, scores of vendors and artists, custom bike shows, biker bull-riding, tattoo contests, and plenty of great biker games. For more information visit SOUTHERN UTE TRIBAL FAIR & POW-WOW SEPTEMBER 7-9 This event will be held at Sky Ute Downs. Call (970) 563-0100 x2250.



GRAND SUMMER NIGHT JUNE 29, JULY 27, AUGUST 31 Gallery walk and carriage rides through historic Mancos. Contact the Mancos Valley Chamber of Commerce, (970) 533-7434.

MANCOS DAYS July 27- 29 Family fun, parades, softball, music and great food. Contact the Town of Mancos, (970) 533-7725. MANCOS FARMERS MARKET JUNE 14-SEPTEMBER 27 Contact the Town of Mancos, (970) 533-7725.

SUGAR PINE RANCH RALLY SEPTEMBER 1- 3 Motorcycle Rally on Labor Day Weekend. Part of the Four Corners Bike Week celebration, this event includes riders poker runs, music and more. Visit for information. MANCOS VALLEY-MESA VERDE COUNTRY BALLOON & ARTS FESTIVAL SEPTEMBER 28-30 Mass ascensions, balloon glows, rides, vendors and entertainment. The event also includes an arts festival on September 29. Family fun at Boyle Park. Contact (970) 560-0203. Photo courtesy of Lynne Lewis of Rimrock Outfitters.

The Mancos Valley continues a 140-year tradi-

tion as a center of ranching at the edge of the San Juan Mountains. The old West lives on and blends with the new as cowboys lead cattle drives down Main Street and gallery owners open their doors on Grand Avenue. Folks usually discover Mancos on their way to somewhere else, usually Mesa Verde National Park, which is only 6 miles from town. Historic Mancos offers easy access to hiking, biking, fishing and hunting. Discover a town where the “old West meets the new,” where the town retains its pride in history with several buildings on the State and National Historic Registers. The downtown business district offers visitors art galleries, top-notch dining options, as well as a distillery, a coffeehouse and several locally owned motels and B&Bs that all provide a great big dose of Southwestern hospitality. Come and see why Louis L’Amour made the Mancos area his home and the settings for his books. Explore the primal connection between Mancos, the home of the Wetherill family who discovered the mysterious cliff dwellings, and Mesa Verde National Park. Visit the Mancos Valley Chamber website at www.; e-mail or call (970) 533-7434. The Chamber is located at 101 E. Bauer, Mancos, CO 81328.

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esa Verde

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Mesa Verde, the first national park set aside to preserve the works of

humankind in North America, was established in 1906 in order to protect sites built by pre-Columbian Indians. Elaborate stone villages and collective communities were formed by Ancestral Puebloans, who occupied the area from 600 A.D. to 1300 A.D. There are more than 4,000 known archaeological sites in Mesa Verde, and 600 of them are cliff dwellings. Trained tour guides help visitors to the park gain insight into the experiences and dwellings of these early people.

The sites are not all grouped in any particular area, so allow plenty of time to drive from one site to another. Not all the sites can be adequately seen in one day. For additional information regarding the events listed here, visit index , or call (970) 529-4465.


INDIAN ARTS & CULTURE FESTIVAL MAY 26-27 In conjunction with the surrounding communities of Cortez, Dolores, Mancos and Towaoc, Mesa Verde National Park will celebrate its Native American heritage and showcase the many cultural and archaeological gems of the area. The event will be held at the Far View Terrace, near the visitor center. Artisans’ work is judged and presented for public viewing and sale. TRADITIONAL HOPI DANCES JUNE 30 & JULY 1 Flora Lomayestewa has been bringing her Hopi dance group from Shungopavi village on Second Mesa to Mesa Verde for the last 24 years. The Lomayestewa family invites you to view traditional Hopi dances at the Chapin Mesa Amphitheater near the museum. These are scheduled both days at 11 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

PUEBLO POTTERY DEMONSTRATION SEPTEMBER 15 Starr Tafoya from Santa Clara Pueblo has given pottery demonstrations at Mesa Verde for over 15 years. She is an award winner at the Santa Fe Indian Market. Join her at the Chapin Mesa Amphitheater near the museum at 3 p.m. for a demonstration, firing and sale of black and redware pottery.

Photo by Hal Lott

WETHERILL MESA BIKE AND HIKE SEPTEMBER 8 & 22 The will take place on two Saturdays in September. This is a special time of year to visit as the more relaxing fall season replaces the busy days of summer. The tram will not be running, so you are invited to ride your bike or hike along the tram road. Long House and Step House will be open for self-guided tours with rangers available to answer your questions. The road to Wetherill Mesa will be opened from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Come enjoy the autumn at Wetherill Mesa.

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himney Rock


experience a unique part of America’s heritage in the shadows of Chimney Rock’s awe-inspiring twin spires. Visit this ancient Puebloan archaeological site, located 17 miles west of Pagosa Springs and 3 miles south on Highway 151. The site is accessible for guided walking tours (2-2.5 hours) at 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. (Tours will end on Sept. 30.) The fee for adults is $10; children ages 5-11 are $5; and children under 5 are free. Events listed below are sponsored by Chimney Rock Interpretive Association, Inc. in partnership with the USDA Forest Service/ Pagosa Ranger District. Ticket purchases are considered donations and are non-refundable. For all event details, as well as reservations, advance ticket sales and schedules for each event, visit www.chimneyrockco. org, or call (970) 883-5359 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily.


SOLAR ECLIPSE & NIGHT-SKY ARCHAEOASTRONOMY PROGRAM MAY 20 Watch the solar eclipse with special glasses at 6:25 p.m. Afterward, there will be a brief lecture about the naked-eye astronomy of the Ancestral Puebloans and visible celestial objects of the night, followed by approximately 1.5 hours of night-sky viewing using on-site telescopes. The cost is $15 for adults and $5 for children 11 years and younger.

LOCAL APPRECIATION DAYS MAY 25-28 Area residents are invited to visit Chimney Rock for half-price guided tours on Memorial Day weekend. The discounted prices are $5 for adults; $2.50 for children ages 5-11. Children under 5 are always free. 74 • May 13, 2012 • Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

Photo by Hal Lott

FULL MOON PROGRAM JUNE 3, JULY 3, AUGUST 1 & 31, SEPTEMBER 29 Watch the full moon rise at the Great House Pueblo site, learn about the Ancestral Puebloans, archaeoastronomy theories and area geology, and enjoy Native American flute melodies by Charles Martinez. Children under the age of 12 are not allowed at this program. Tickets are $15. Add $5 for an early tour of the lower area (Great Kiva Trail Loop), which starts at 5 p.m. Reservations are required. TRANSIT OF VENUS & MOON VIEWING PROGRAM JUNE 5 This certainly will be a “once in a life-time” viewing. Although it is not spectacular, Venus passing in front of the sun is a rare event which will not happen again until December 11, 2117. The event begins at 3 p.m., and continues with a new program called Moon Viewing. There will be a brief lecture on the ancient people who lived at Chimney Rock, and what visitors may be able to see on the moon using on-site telescopes. The cost is $15 for adults and $5 for children 11 years and younger. Reservations are required.

NIGHT-SKY ARCHAEOASTRONOMY PROGRAM JUNE 17, JULY 18, AUGUST 17 & 19, SEPTEMBER 15 This entertaining, educational program, which includes a onehour astronomy lecture, provides an excellent opportunity to learn about visible celestial objects. Following a lecture on nakedeye astronomy of the Ancestral Puebloans, the solar system and universe, participants will drive to the upper parking lot of the Chimney Rock Archaeological Area for approximately 1.5 hours of night-sky viewing. Telescopes will be available to assist with viewing. Reservations are suggested, as space is limited. The cost is $10 for adults, and $5 for children ages 11 years and younger.

INTRODUCTION TO CHIMNEY ROCK PROGRAM JUNE 17, JULY 15, AUGUST 19, SEPTEMBER 16 This program consists of educational presentations, lectures, discussions and talks that focus on Chimney Rock Archaeological Area. Participants will also enjoy Native American flute melodies by Charles Martinez. The cost is $5 for adults. (This event is not recommended for children under the age of 12.) SUMMER SOLSTICE SUNRISE PROGRAM JUNE 20 Watch the sun rise over the San Juans this first day of summer. Discuss how the ancients may have lived, and why they celebrated the solstice. This unique, 2-3 hour event begins at the Sun Tower, a place not visited on our regular tours, and concludes at the Stone Basin, providing two viewing locations. Tickets are $15, and reservations are required. LIFE AT CHIMNEY ROCK: A FESTIVAL OF CRAFTS & CULTURE JUNE 30-JULY 1 Interactive demonstrations of crafts and skills of Ancestral Puebloan culture and regional Native American cultures. Free demonstrations from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. include use of the atlatl, basket-making, flint knapping, flute making and playing, grinding grain, pottery making, fiber spinning, and yucca pounding to make rope. The festival is free to the public and will be held at the lower cabin parking area this year. No reservations are required.

NATIVE AMERICAN CULTURAL GATHERING JULY 21-22 Traditional singers, storytellers, and dancers from various pueblos will gather at this event. There will be traditional Puebloan social dances in the Great Kiva at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Native American arts and crafts will be available. No reservations are required. The entry fee is $10.

PUEBLOAN POTTERY WORKSHOP AUGUST 3-5 Potter Greg Wood will show how to replicate Pueblo III Mesa Verde, black-on-white, organically painted pottery. Participants will gain an understanding of the fundamentals of craftsmanship, design, and prehistoric technology required to create and fire this ancient pottery, as they hand form, burnish, decorate, and trench-kiln fire using only prehistoric methods. Prepaid advance reservations required, limited enrollment. For reservation information contact the instructor at AUTUMNAL SUNRISE PROGRAM SEPTEMBER 23 Watch the sun rise over the San Juans this second day of autumn, and discuss how the ancients may have lived, and why they celebrated the autumnal equinox. The cost is $15 and reservations are required.

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agosa Springs THE CAR SHOW AT PAGOSA May 18-19

BBQ in Town Park, music, beer and wine garden Friday the 18th from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. “Show and Shine” on Historic Lewis Street on Saturday at 9 a.m. Cars, live music, food and fun all day long. Visit: for more info or call (800) 252-2204.


Music at Reservoir Hill Park plus, workshops, campfire jams and kids’ programs. Visit: for details.


June 9 – Gecko Turkey Track Trail Marathon August 25 – Mountain Chile Cha-Cha September 22 – Wolf Creek Ride & Reggae September 29 – Devil Mountain Ultra Marathon For more information visit:


Pagosa Springs is a growing community in a beautiful setting east of Durango and west of Wolf Creek Pass. The town is also the gateway to Wolf Creek Ski Area and Colorado’s largest wilderness area, the Weminuche Wilderness, with 492,418 acres of stunning scenery. For more information, contact the Pagosa Springs Area Chamber of Commerce at (970) 264-2360.

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On Friday, there will be a Meet and Greet BBQ at the Pagosa Lodge at 5 p.m. Saturday there will be a parade down the Riverwalk, followed by fun activities and competitions, vet clinics and more. Town Park will be filled with the friendliest dogs on Earth (All breeds are welcome to join the goldens.) Saturday evening, enjoy a free movie in the park with family, friends and canine friends.For more information, visit


The week is filled with a myriad of events, including the carnival in Town Park, the 35th annual Park to Park Arts and Crafts Festival, Quilt Show and Red Ryder Rodeo continuing through July 7. Parade and fireworks will held on July 4.


The premier racing event of Pagosa will be held in the San Juan Mountains from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Get the ultimate Pagosa Duathlon experience with epic single-track for the trail enthusiasts. The Full Duathlon is a 6-mile run, 12-mile mountain bike ride and the Half Duathlon is a 3-mile run, 7-mile bike. You can ‘du’ either race as a two-member team or take them on solo. For our young athletes, we have the Mini-Du with a 1 mile run, 2 mile ride. All participants receive an official race t-shirt and post-race goodies. Special awards for the top three finishers. For registration forms, race information, and course maps, visit

Photo courtesy Pagosa Town Tourism Committee


Join us for a day or two of merriment, mysticism, magic and more. Town Park is transformed into a medieval village, where live entertainment, music, food, drink and merchants selling their wares bring these ancient times alive. For more information, visit www.pagosachamber. com.


The Archuleta County Fair celebrates all the best the community has to offer! This is a wonderful family tradition that includes entertainment, rodeos, livestock auction, BBQ, rides and food and beverages. For details, call (970) 264-5931 or


Labor Day weekend embraces the return of the Folk Festival. Reservoir Hill comes alive with the sounds of multiple music performers. For details, visit


Join us for the 27th annual Hot Air Balloon Rally, Taste of Pagosa, and bands and brews. Friday night is the 7th Passport to Pagosa. Enjoy wonderful dishes prepared by local restaurants along with wines from the Four Corners region. Saturday the balloons rise over the San Juan River. Town Park will have beer tasting and live music, followed by a night balloon glow. On Sunday, the balloons rise from uptown Pagosa Springs. For more information, visit

Athletes compete in the Pagosa Duathlon in Pagosa Springs. Photo courtesy of Tracy Bunning and Mike Hayward

May 13, 2012 • Southwest Colorado Summer Guide 77

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Silverton is a quiet, high-altitude town with an

open-hearted spirit surrounded by breathtaking peaks of the San Juan Mountains. Quiet in the winter, despite great skiing opportunities, summertime brings out the whimsical best in residents and visitors alike. The town, designated a National Historic District by the U.S. Department of the Interior, is located on the upper Animas River and has retained its original Western character of wide streets and historical Victorian buildings.

Photo by Jerry McBride

Recreational activities include hiking, backpacking, fishing, hunting, mountain biking, horseback riding, photography and skiing. The drive into Silverton is breathtaking. Whether entering from the north over Red Mountain Pass, or from the south over Molas Pass, it is truly a sightseer’s extravaganza. For more information, call the Silverton Area Chamber of Commerce at (970) 387-5654 or visit

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Photo by Jerry McBride

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ONGOING EVENTS Silverton Brass Band The band plays every Sunday evening at 6:00 pm in the streets of Silverton (weather permitting).

Silverton Gun Fighters Re-live the Wild West with staged gunfights at 12th & Blair Streets Thursday - Saturday and Holidays at 5:30 pm (weather permitting) Memorial Day through Labor Day.

A Theatre Group Productions Productions are performed at various venues around town. For the latest information, please call (970) 387-5337 or visit Old Hundred Gold Mine Tour Go underground in a real gold mine! From May through September, a mine train will take you 1,500 feet into the actual mining operation for mining demonstrations. You’ll see what it was like to search for the elusive treasure. The old mining equipment is still in place, awaiting another opportunity to strike it rich. FREE gold panning with the purchase of a tour. Call (800) 872-3009 or visit

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Photos by Jerry McBride

STEP BACK IN TIME JUNE 1-3 This event is hosted by the Victorian Aid Society, which preserves and promotes the history of the region in accurate period clothing. The three-day celebration will include a reception, film, ghost tours, and Grand Victorian Ball. For more information, visit

TASTE OF SILVERTON & BLOCK PARTY STREET DANCE JUNE 16 Bring your appetite to the great culinary event of the year in Silverton. This feast will be prepared by Silverton’s finest chefs and served up on Blair Street along with an exhibition of wares by local artists. For more information, call the Silverton Chamber of Commerce at (970) 387-5654 or visit FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATION & FIREWORKS JULY 4 Silverton has one of the best fireworks displays in the Four Corners. Along with the brisk and lively sounds of the Silverton Brass Band, fun activities throughout the day will include: Blue Ribbon Fun Run/Walk, Parade at 10:30 a.m. followed by Fire Departments’ Water Fight, International Rhubarb Festival at Memorial Park, Ducky Derby at 2 p.m., Old Fashioned Picnic at the American Legion Hall, Fireworks after Dark. For complete schedules and other information, visit

Owing to mountain weather and other elements, schedules may change daily. For more information on any event, call (800) 752- 4494.

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George Foster, owner of The Grand imperial Hotel, enjoys the Taste of Silverton event. Photo: Herald Files. 20TH ANNUAL HARDROCK 100 ENDURANCE RUN JULY 13-15 The most difficult 100-mile race in the world. Starting in downtown Silverton, the total vertical climb and descent is 66,000 feet, and runners have 48 hours to complete the circle. For more information, visit or KENDALL MOUNTAIN RUN JULY 21 A fun 6.5 miles to top of Kendall Mountain, then back down to Memorial Park. For more information, visit or

GREAT WESTERN ROCKY MOUNTAIN BRASS BAND FESTIVAL AUGUST 17-19 At the Kendall Mountain Recreation Center. For details, contact Silverton Chamber of Commerce at (970) 387-5654. SILVERTON QUILT SHOW & SALE SEPTEMBER 8-9 At the Silverton School Gym. For more information, contact Silverton Area Chamber of Commerce at (970) 387-5654.

SILVERTON BARBERSHOP MUSIC FESTIVAL JULY 21 This traditional event is at the Silverton School gym. For details, call the Silverton Chamber of Commerce at (970) 387-5654.

HARDROCKERS HOLIDAYS AUGUST 10-12 The three-day competition celebrating Silverton’s hard rock mining heritage offers events for men, women, and children and range from horseshoes, hand-mucking, machine drilling, tug-o-war, arm wrestling, and much more. Admission is free for all spectators. Beer, food, and beverages sold on site. Children of all ages can participate in events that include a sack race, three-legged race, wheel barrel obstacle course, and the doghouse dash. For more information, call (970) 387-5635.

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Photo: Herald Files

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The Ouray Fire Department Water Fights are held on the Fourth of July. Photo courtesy of The Ouray Chamber Resort Association.

Established in the 1800s, Ouray is a quaint, romantic town with Victorian charm. Experience the breathtaking scenery of the San Juan Mountains. Enjoy the all-natural Hot Springs Pool and Park. Walk to spectacular waterfalls, or bask in the mountain beauty along four-wheel drive and hiking trails. For the more adventurous, explore the many cliffs and canyons by rock climbing, canyoneering or ice climbing. Soaking in the hot springs is the perfect way to end the day. Immerse yourself in the local history and heritage by visiting the Ouray County Historical Society Museum, mining ghost towns and Victorian buildings. Throughout the year, Ouray offers a variety of events and festivals that celebrate the local mining, farming and ranching, railroad and Native American history. Located in Southwest Colorado, Ouray is on the Million Dollar Highway and the San Juan Skyway, two of the most scenic drives in

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the country. For more information on any of the attractions or events listed below, visit


Ouray Hot Springs Pool – Enjoy the pleasure of soaking in all-natural hot springs water in this familyoriented facility, which includes a fitness center. The pool offers three temperatures of sulfur-free mineral waters ranging from 80 -104 degrees. Open year-round at 1200 Main St. Call (970) 325-7073. Box Canyon Falls & Park – Visit this geological wonder, where a 285-foot waterfall plummets into a narrow quartzite canyon. Watch for a rare bird, the black swift, which spends its summers nesting on the canyon walls. (970) 325-7080.

Ouray Historical Walking Tour – Ouray is a National Historic District. Stop by the Ouray Visitor Center or Historical Museum for a complimentary brochure and map that explores the entire town, showcasing private homes and other examples of Victorian architecture.

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Hiking – Ouray is home to over 70 spectacular, wellmaintained trails, many of which are easily accessible from town. Enjoy the Ouray Perimeter Trail, Uncompahgre Riverwalk, and Bear Creek National Recreation Trail, just to name a few. Hiking maps and books are available at the Ouray Visitor Center.

Jeeping and off-highway adventures – Ouray offers access to hundreds of miles of historic mining roads, popular with off-highway and 4-wheeling enthusiasts. Traverse a variety of forest and alpine terrain and view extreme mountain peaks, wildflowers and waterfalls. Visit ghost towns and historic mining buildings. Local tour and rental companies let visitors customize their adventure.

Water sports – Fishing, boating, rafting and canyoneering are just a few of the water sports available in the Ouray area. Local guide services offer exceptional opportunities for beginners and experts. Wright Opera House – The Singer/Songwriter Music Series at the historic Wright Opera House features a great lineup of musicians in a beautiful, intimate setting. For a complete list of performers and ticket information, visit


Photo: Herald Files

MOUNTAIN AIR MUSIC SERIES THURSDAYS IN JUNE Presented by the Ouray Hot Springs Pool, the Mountain Air Music Series is the newest free outdoor concert series on the Western Slope. Each Thursday in the month of June, Ouray’s Fellin Park will be the location for live music, great food, non-alcoholic beverages, and beer and wine for purchase. Each concert will be a multi-faceted family-friendly affair, with great kids’ entertainment to go along with the music.

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OURAY COUNTY RACE SERIES MAY THROUGH OCTOBER The Ouray County Race Series showcases new and established road and trail races throughout Ouray County range, from 5K to marathon lengths. Participants who run all six races, or run five and volunteer for one, will receive a special finisher’s award. For more information, dates and times of races, visit

TASTE OF OURAY CULINARY FESTIVAL JUNE 6 Sample the best culinary offerings from local chefs and restaurants, watch cooking competitions between local professionals and enjoy cooking demonstrations at the Ouray Community Center. OLD-FASHIONED FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATION JULY 4 From pancakes in the morning until the last firework booms around the canyon, visitors and locals will find events and activities all day long. Don’t miss the Main Street Parade, the world famous Ouray Fire Department Water Fights, the Jeep flare parade, and much more. OURAY HERITAGE WEEKEND AUGUST 24-26 The weekend events include the Grillin’ & Chillin’ Brew and Music Festival on Aug. 25 at Fellin Park. Sample the best microbrews on the Western Slope while enjoying live music and a zipline in the park. The Highgraders Holidays Mining Competition will be held Aug. 24-26 at Miner’s Park at the Hot Springs Pool. Watch real miners compete in traditional mining events, from hand drilling to machine mucking. Don’t miss the mule races on Friday evening. OKTOBERFEST & 48TH ANNUAL JEEP RAFFLE DRAWING OCTOBER 6 Watch as a lucky ticket holder wins the raffle, and enjoy traditional Oktoberfest food, beverages and live music at the Ouray Community Center. The Ouray Jeep Raffle supports student scholarships, community events and the annual fireworks displays.

More Events

* Evenings of History – Tuesday evenings, June – July * Black Canyon Car Show – June 17 * Woman’s Club of Ouray Rummage Sale – June 22 – 23 * Ouray County Historical Society Quilt Show – July, August * Artists’ Alpine Holiday – August 3 – 11 * Ridgway Rendezvous Arts and Crafts Show – August * Ouray Canyon Festival – August 16-19 * Ouray County Fair and Rodeo – Labor Day Weekend

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At 8,000 feet above sea level, Vallecito Lake is located 18 scenic miles from downtown Durango and completely surrounded by the San Juan National Forest. More than 2,700 surface acres of water and 12 miles of shoreline provide ample opportunities for outdoor recreational activities.

Well known as a great location for lodging and dining, biking, fishing, horseback riding and camping, take the time to also enjoy Vallecito’s many restaurants open during the summer. Some of the event dates listed below may change due to weather and other factors so, call the Vallecito Lake Chamber of Commerce (970) 247-1573 or

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visit for details and to confirm these schedules. Please note: Minimal Recreation User Fees are required for all lake activities. For information, contact the Pine River Irrigation District at (970) 884-2558.

Make a splash on Vallecito Lake

Have some fun on the lake, whether in a fishing boat, pontoon boat, kayak, canoe, or from the shore. Vallecito offers a variety of water activities. The lake a great place to land a record-breaking fish. You will find rainbow, brown and cutthroat trout, Northern pike, walleye, smallmouth bass and kokanee salmon. Rental boats and fishing supplies are available at the lake.

QR Look for the Plane!

Photo by Jerry McBride

Doc’s Marina

Located near Vallecito Dam at 14810 CR 501, Doc’s Marina offers a variety of boat and watersport rentals like pontoons, fishing equipment and skis, as well as marine services of docking, repair and maintenance. You can also fill up your tank and cooler at the marina store. For information, call (970) 884-9450 or visit

Vallecito Outside/Guide Service

Book a full or half-day guided fishing trip, hourly private fly casting lesson. Wade, float, lake and high-country pack trips are available. Call Randy Wagner at (970) 779-8917 or email

3000’ Lake/River Frontage RV and Tent Sites Cabins Camp Store • Licenses Boats • Horseshoes Swings • Volleyball Laundry • Hot Showers

See website for

August Specials

Open May 18th thru Sept. 8th 2012 4677 CR 501A Bayfield, CO 81122

( 970 ) 884-2582 May 13, 2012 • Southwest Colorado Summer Guide 93

The Vallecito Event Center If you’re planning an event, the Event Center at Vallecito Lake is ready for you. Weddings, reunions, corporate meetings, and other special events are welcome. The Center features a 30’x60’ multipurpose room with an aspen cathedral ceiling. The 20’x20’ kitchen features oak cabinetry, commercial stainless steel appliances and expansive counter space. One of the two unisex bathrooms is for handicapped use. An 8’ covered veranda surrounding the center offers outdoor seating choices, steps down to large 40’x80’ patio with raised 20’x20’ raised stage area. Included in the rental are 29 folding tables and 160 folding chairs. For policy details, availability and rates call (970) 884-6080.


FREE FISHING WEEKEND JUNE 2-3 Try your luck all weekend fishing at Vallecito Lake.

VALLECITO SERVICE LEAGUE ANNUAL PLANT SALE JUNE 2 Stop by the Vallecito Event Center at the north end of the lake. The sale will be on the patio with plants, art and lots of surprises. ANNUAL ARTS & CRAFTS FAIR JUNE 30-JULY 1 This outdoor event, held at Vallecito Dam on CR 501, is organized by the Service League to benefit the local scholarship fund. Known locally as “the best arts and crafts show by a dam site,” you will find many treasures of arts and crafts and the artisans who made them. For more details, call (970) 884-2300.

FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATION JULY 4 For a great way to celebrate the 4th of July, come early to enjoy outdoor activities and dine at one of Vallecito Lake’s great restaurants. The event will be held at 9 p.m. at the north end of Vallecito Lake. Fireworks go off over Vallecito Lake during the annual Fourth of July celebration. HAL LOTT/Herald 94 • May 13, 2012 • Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

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Chaco Canyon has ruins from AD 830-1250 in the Chaco Culture National Historical Park. Photo courtesy of Major Graham

Located in the northwest corner of the state, Farmington, New Mexico, is part of San Juan County, covering 5,560 square miles. This is an area larger than the entire state of Connecticut, with fertile river valleys surrounded by high desert, rolling plateaus, mesas and mountain ranges. The Animas, La Plata, and San Juan Rivers flow through Farmington, accounting for two-thirds of the surface water in New Mexico. An average of 273 sunny days per year means that year-round outdoor activities are very enjoyable here. Farmington and surrounding areas enjoy a pleasant climate year-round, and residents and visitors alike enjoy the mild changes in temperature and scenery brought on by each of the four seasons.


Angel Peak Scenic Area Located about 30 miles southeast of Farmington, the area offers more than 10,000 acres of rugged terrain recognized for its scenic and scientific wonders. The nearly 7,000-foot Angel Peak is visible for miles in any direction. However, the banded colors of the badlands and the deep sculpted fingers of the canyon at the base of Angel Peak are only fully revealed to those who make the short journey along the rim. 96 • May 13, 2012 • Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

Aztec Ruins National Monument In the Aztec region, an ancient 450 room Anasazi pueblo and community of Chacoans was built in the early 1100s and later inhabited by Mesa Verdeans in the 1200s. The reconstructed Great Kiva once served as the center for community-wide events and ceremonies. Located 14 miles east on Highway 516. For more information on schedules and park fees, call (505) 334-6174. Visitor Services are located at #84 County Road, Aztec, New Mexico 87410.

Chaco Culture National Historical Park This was the center of Ancestral Puebloan civilization from AD 850-1250 and contains the largest excavated prehistoric ruin in North America. A campground is available, but it does not have services. The Visitor Center is located 75 miles south of Aztec on Hwy. 550, with 16 miles of dirt roads subject to inclement weather conditions. You may want to call in advance to ensure that the road is passable. Access is via Hwy 550 to CR 7900/7950. Admission: $8 per car or $4 per pedestrian or cyclist. Camping: $10 per night. For more information, call (505) 786-7014 Ext.221. Salmon Ruins This is one of the largest outlying colonies built by the Chacoans in the 11th century. Museum exhibits display prehistoric pottery and other artifacts. A picnic area is also available. Heritage Park is comprised of reconstructed dwelling and habitation areas forming a timeline of San Juan Basin history. Located just 10 miles east on Hwy. 64. Admission is $3 per adult, $2 for senior, $1 for ages 6-16, children under 6 are free. For more information, call (505) 632-2013.

EVENTS RIVERFEST 2012 MAY 25-27 The rivers of San Juan County are celebrated with a festival of music, food, arts & crafts, entertainment, a 10K and 5K run and walk, riverside trail walks, river raft rides, The Weiner Dog Race, a Disc Golf Tournament and children’s activities. New this year: a Gourd Dance demonstration will honor our veterans and warriors; and Roverfest, which is fun for our four-legged friends. The event will take place at Animas Park off Browning Parkway and Berg Park off San Juan Blvd. For more information, visit AZTEC FIESTA DAY JUNE 2 Celebrate the arrival of summer with the Hot Spot Car Show, parade, live music, vendors, food and the Bennett’s Amusements Carnival (May 31-June 3) and the Burning of Old Man Gloom. For information, call (505) 334-7646 or visit

KIDFEST – “GOIN COUNTRY” JUNE 2 KidFest is a free one-day event, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., held at McGee Park. This year has a country theme and will offer new related exhibitors and a new kids’ talent show. KidFest focuses on youth education, summer program planning for families and

local services and goods for kids. For information, call (505) 564-3299 or visit CROWNPOINT RUG AUCTION JUNE 8 300 to 400 hand-woven Navajo rugs are auctioned off each month at the Crownpoint Elementary School, 72 miles south of Farmington on Hwy. 371. Native American arts & crafts vendors are also on site. Auction sponsored by Crownpoint Rug Weavers Association, rug viewing 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and auction begins at 7 p.m. For information, call (505) 786-5302 or (505) 786-7386 or visit

Aztec Ruins National Monument, open year-round, is a popular summer attraction for visitors to Southwest Colorado. Aztec is just 35 miles south of Durango on U.S. 550. (Courtesy of the Aztec Visitor Center. Photo by Chris Duthie.)

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A dancer peforms during the Annual Totah Festival Indian Market & Pow Waw in Farmington. Photo courtesy of Major Graham.

NEW MEXICO: 100 YEARS OF ART AUGUST 25-NOVEMBER 17 Featuring over 60 works in a variety of media, this exhibit showcases the work of New Mexico artists over the past century. The exhibition tells the ongoing story of these artists and explains why they chose to live and work in New Mexico. The exhibit was organized by the Las Cruces Museum of Art and shows at the Farmington Museum at Gateway Park Museum & Visitors Center. For more information, call (505) 599-1174.

ANNUAL TOTAH FESTIVAL INDIAN MARKET & POW WOW SEPTEMBER 1- 2 This juried art festival offers authentic handmade Native American Arts & Crafts of over 100 artists, an authentic Navajo Rug Auction (Saturday) and a contest pow wow. Festival held at the Farmington Civic Center, 200 W. Arrington. For Information, call (800) 448-1240 or visit: .

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ANIMAS RIVER GREEN CHILE FESTIVAL SEPTEMBER 15 – 16 Join Sutherland Farms in Aztec for the Animas River Green Chile Festival. Music and lots of chile roasting will be happening along with train rides, face painting and hay bales for the kids. No admission fee. Come celebrate the harvest season! For information, call (505) 334-3578 or visit


te Country

The Southern Ute Cultural Center and Museum galleries feature hands-on, life-size exhibits. HAL LOTT/Herald

Photo by Hal Lott

The hub of Southern Ute Indian tribal life is in the community of Ignacio (“ig-na-she-o”), which sits in beautiful, rolling terrain. With land in Colorado, Utah and New Mexico, the reservation measures 15 miles by 73 miles. The original Ute territory covered much of Colorado and Utah. The reservation opened up for homesteading in the late 1800s. NonIndians settled most of the finest farm, timber and range land, leaving about 597,000 acres for the tribe. This land has turned out to be among some of the most valuable in the region, owing much to an abundance of oil and natural gas.

Ute Country Gaming: Sky Ute Casino Resort in ignacio Please take time to visit their 45,000 square foot gaming floor including slots, poker/blackjack, craps, roulette, and bingo. Stay in one of our elegantly appointed luxury hotel rooms and suites and enjoy dining in our five unique restaurants. Then, take a shot at striking it rich in the Rolling Thunder Lanes. For information on events and lodging, visit www.skyutecasino. com. Southern Ute Cultural Center and Museum. One of the most important attractions is the new Southern Ute Cultural Center and Museum in Ignacio, an ultimate authentic cultural experience. Expect to feel a close spiritual connection with Native Americans when visiting this 52,000 square-foot architectural masterpiece. For details on the museum’s origins, exhibitions and schedule, visit 100 • May 13, 2012 • Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

Lake Capote Recreation Area: Fully stocked with rainbow and brown trout, largemouth bass, and channel catfish for your fishing pleasure. No state fishing permit required! A full service campground is available. Lake Capote is on U.S. 160 approximately 15 miles west of Pagosa Springs on the way to Durango or Ignacio. For further information call (970) 8832273 or visit lake_capote.html Ute Mountain Ute Reservation is lush with recreational opportunities for visitors. The Ute Mountain Casino near Towaoc (“toy-yock”) provides an exciting gaming experience with bingo, blackjack, poker, generous slots and a popular restaurant. The Ute Mountain Tribal Park, rich in Ancestral Puebloan sites, occupies a large portion of the mesa. Native American guides provide tours into the remote canyons, giving visitors a glimpse of the ruins sitting silent as they have for centuries.

Ute Mountain Casino Beneath the expansive Western sky in Towaoc, you’ll find the largest casino in the Four Corners. Nestled in the shadow of the legendary Sleeping Ute Mountain, the Ute Mountain Casino, hotel, resort, RV park, travel center, tribal park, and pottery plant offer Southwest Colorado hospitality, friendly faces, good food, and gaming excitement. Call (970) 565-8800 or visit

EVENTS SOUTHERN UTE BEAR DANCE CONTEST POW WOW MAY 25-26 Celebrate Southern Ute culture with pow wow dancers, arts & crafts vendors, food and beverages at the Sky Ute Fairgrounds in Ignacio. For more information, call (775) 671-5426.

UTE MOUNTAIN UTE ROUND-UP RODEO JUNE 7-9 Experience real rodeo action at this 82-yearold tradition held at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. The specialty act/barrelman will be six-time PRCA Comedy Act of the Year, Troy Lerwill “The Wild Child.” For more information, visit

Photo by Hal Lott

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Summer Guide Advertising Index Durango

A Shared Blanket 43 Animas Surgical Hospital 13 Animas Transportation 7 Bar-D Wranglers Suppers 59 Browns Shoe Fit 25 Browns Sport Shoe 25 Buzztown 33 Buzztown-Durango 39 Christie’s Wood & Glass 23 Dietz Market 47 Directory Plus 31 Downtown Durango Business Improvement District 55 Durango Arts Center 43 Durango Herald/Flavor of Durango 19 Durango Herald/Outdoor & Travel Expo 16 Durango Mountain Resort 2 Durango Rivertrippers 35 Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad 49 Durango Soaring Club 9 Durango Sports Club 37 Durango Sports Zone 47 Earthen Vessel 43 Four Corners Broadcasting – KIQX 57 Four Corners Broadcasting – KIUP 39 Four Corners Broadcasting – KRSJ 63 Four Corners Gem & Mineral Show 17 Francisco’s Restaurant 4 Full Blast Adventures 37 Healthy Hounds & Fat Cats 31 Honeyville 39 IDTV-Animas Media 57 Kelly’s Cowboy Company 33 Mercy Regional Medical Center 35 Music in the Mountains 41 Pine Needle Mountaineering 9 Rapp Corral 19 Re Deau Furnishings 49 Rock Island Art 17 Serious Texas Bar-B-Q 29 Signature Salon 43 Silk 17 Storyteller Theatres 63 Strater Hotel 45 102 • May 13, 2012 • Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

Three Springs 4 Town Plaza Merchants 27 Trimble Spa & Natural Hotsprings 37 Trinket & Treasures 47 Wells Fargo Home Mortgage 31


Silver Summit/Jeep Rentals 87 Silverton Brewery 85 Silverton Colorado/Stay and Play 87 The Teller House Hotel 83 Villa Dallavalle Bed & Breakfast 85



Ouray Brewing Company 91 Ouray Chalet Inn 89 Ouray Chamber Resort Association 91 Ouray Victorian Inn 91 Rigs Adventure CO 89 St. Elmo Hotel 89 The Wiesbaden Hot Springs Spa & Hotel 89 Timber Ridge Lodge 91



Four Corners Broadcasting – KKDC 68

Foxfire Farms 70 Sky Ute Casino & Resort 3 Southern Ute Cultural Center & Museum 3 SunUte Community Center 69

Rimrock Outfitters 71

Chimney Rock

Chimney Rock Archaeological Area 75 Lake Capote Recreational Area 75

Pagosa Springs

Healing Waters Resort & Spa 79 High Country Lodge 79 Mountain Landing Guest Quarters 78 Pagosa Chamber of Commerce 80-81 Pagosa Riverside Campground 78 Pagosa Springs Golf Club 79 The Buck Stops Here 78


Brown Bear Café 83 Molas Lake Campground 87 Mother Cluckers Restaurant 83 Natalia’s Family Restaurant 85 Old Hundred Gold Mine Tour 87 Red Mountain Motel, Cabins & RV Park 103 San Juan Backcountry/4x4 Tours 85

Big Corral Riding Stables 93 Doc’s Marina 95 Durango Herald-Subscriptions 95 Five Branches Camper & RV Park 93 Pine River Lodge 95 Wilderness Trails Ranch 95

Aztec & Farmington

Inside Ideas 101 Northern Edge Navajo Casino 104 San Juan Regional Medical Center 97 Sleep-N-Aire 98

Other Towns

Gunnison Chamber of Commerce-Crested Butte 99

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MOAB MONTROSE SW Colorado/Four Corners: National Parks, Monuments & Recreational Areas 1. Four Corners National Monument 2. Mesa Verde National Park 3. Yucca National Monument 4. Hovenweep National Monument 5. Chimney Rock Archaeological Area 6. Aztec Ruins National Monument 7. Chaco Culture National Historic Park 8. Canyon de Chelly National Monument 9. Natural Bridges National Monument 10. Canyonlands National Park 11. Arches National Park 12. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Monument 13. Curecanti National Recreational Area SW Colorado/Four Corners: State Parks, Lakes & Reservoirs


San Juan Skyway Continental Divide Trail Colorado Trail












Trail Heads in SW Colorado 11. Hermosa Creek 12. Pass 13. Upper Colorado 14. Spud Lake 15. Lost lake 16. Eileen 17. Piedra 18. Williams 19. Reservoir Hill 20. Treasure Falls



1. Vallecito Reservoir 2. Lemon Reservoir 3. Mancos State Park (Jackson Lake) 4. Joe Moore Reservoir 5. McPhee Reservoir 6. Narraguinnep Reservoir 7. Summit Reservoir 8. Groundhog Lake 9. Navajo Lake State Park 10. El Vado Reservoir 11. Heron Lake State Park 12. Abiquiu Reservoir 13. Ridgway State Park/Reservoir 14. Morrow Point Reservoir 15. Blue Mesa Reservoir

1. Animas City Mtn. 2. Can Do 3. Geyser Springs 4. Priest Gulch 5. Calico 6. Big Al 7. West Mancos 8. Dry Fork 9. Animas Overlook 10. Lower Colorado






2012 Summer Guide  

2012 Summer Guide