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The National Park Service Celebrates 100 Years 路 Rafting & River Sports in Durango Fishing the Four Corners 路 Hiking, Camping and Exploring




S R E L I A R T G CAMPIN 993 NM 516 Aztec, NM 505.334.5500 4 miles west of Aztec, and 1½ miles east of Flora Vista 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide · 1

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2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide · 3


A sweet collection of summer activities

Chief Executive Officer Douglas Bennett

Editorial Editor Rachel Segura Designer Todd Bartz

Inside............................................................... 4 Welcome......................................................... 6

Advertising Sales

Get Oriented.................................................. 8

VP of Finance & Operations Bob Ganley

Getting Around.......................................... 10 Scenic Drives.............................................. 12 Jeep Thrills.................................................. 14 The National Park Service celebrates 100 years.................................. 16


Train Events................................................20

VP of Newspaper Advertising David Habrat Account Executives Deanna Kuchler, Sara Knight, Teressa Nelson, Cindy Fisher, Shawna Long, Colleen Donley, Bart Collins, Emily Roos, Chris Lile, Kelley Bulkley, Ryan Robison, Brian Howell




Production Manager Suzanne Duke

Saddle Up!.....................................................26

Advertising Design Jim Dodson, Olivia Dombach, Justin Meek

Find your spot.............................................28 The Animas River Trail...........................32 Rafting & River Sports.............................34



漏 2016 Copyright. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher.

Zipline!..........................................................39 Swimming.................................................. 40

Published in the United States by Ballantine Communications, Inc. 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301.

Golfing..........................................................42 Biking............................................................44 Fun for Kids.................................................48 Arts & Culture.............................................50 Art Galleries.................................................52 Antiques.......................................................54


Museums......................................................56 Breweries......................................................58 Durango....................................................... 60 Bayfield.........................................................66 Ignacio..........................................................67 Vallecito........................................................68 Chimney Rock........................................... 71 Cortez............................................................72


Dolores..........................................................76 Mancos.......................................................... 77 Mesa Verde...................................................78 Pagosa Springs.......................................... 80 Silverton........................................................86 Ouray............................................................ 90 Farmington..................................................92 Aztec..............................................................94 Ute Country.................................................95

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The Southwest Colorado Summer Guide is published once a year by Ballantine Communications. Publication date: May 22, 2016


Ballantine Communications uses reasonable effort to include accurate and up-to-date information for its special publications. Details are subject to change, so please check ahead. The publisher accepts no responsibility for any consequences arising from the use of this guide. We welcome suggestions from readers. Please write to the Summer Guide editor at the address above.

2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide 路 5


Southwest Colorado at a glance



Bayfield Cortez Vallecito

Silverton Pagosa Springs


Ouray MOAB



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RICO 550














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Our Airports Cortez Municipal Airport Durango/La Plata County Airport Grand Junction Regional Airport Gunnison-Crested Butte Airport Montrose Regional Airport Telluride Regional Airport

Our Parks & Monuments Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park Colorado National Monument Curecanti National Recreation Area Great Sand Dunes National Park Hovenweep National Monument Mesa Verde National Park Yucca House National Monument

Our Historic Trails Old Spanish National Historic Trail Pony Express National Historic Trail

Our Scenic & Historic Byways Alpine Loop Grand Mesa San Juan Skyway Silver Thread Trail of the Ancients Unaweep Tabequache West Elk Loop

Our Wilderness Areas Gunnison Gorge Wilderness La Garita Wilderness Lizard Head Wilderness Mesa Verde National Park/Wilderness Mt. Sneffels Wilderness South San Juan Wilderness Uncompahgre Wilderness Weminuche Wilderness

Our Ski Areas Chapman Hill - Durango Purgatory Resort - Durango Kendall Ski Area - Silverton Lee’s Ski Hill - Ouray Silverton Mountain - Silverton Ski Hesperus - Hesperus Telluride Ski Resort - Telluride Wolf Creek Ski Area - Pagosa Springs

Our Chambers of Commerce Aztec Chamber of Commerce Bayfield Chamber of Commerce Cortez Area Chamber of Commerce Dolores Chamber of Commerce Durango Chamber of Commerce Farmington Chamber of Commerce Ignacio Chamber of Commerce Mancos Valley Chamber of Commerce Ouray Chamber Resort Association Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce Ridgeway Area Chamber of Commerce Silverton Chamber of Commerce Telluride Chamber of Commerce Vallecito Lake Chamber of Commerce

Defy gravity and feel the wind whip through your hair as you jump and flip on the Bungee Trampoline at Purgatory Resort, located 25 miles north of Durango. The cost is $15 per two-minute session. Purgatory Resort/Scott DW Smith

2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide · 7

Get Oriented

A kayaker prepares to glide over mirror-smooth Williams Reservoir in Pagosa Springs, with the San Juan Mountain Range in the distance. Courtesy of Visit Pagosa Springs

Rock It Out Navigate by local landmarks Distinctive mountains and rocks frame the lifestyle and language of locals. “Lizard Head” and “X-Rock” will pop up in conversations or directions, and you’ll need to understand the reference. This list will help you get oriented to well-known landmarks in Durango and the Four Corners. Perins Peak This distinctive ridge is the view to the west of Downtown Durango.

Chimney Rock A distinctive land form west of Pagosa Springs is part of an archaeological area of ancient Indian sites.

Missionary Ridge Above the Animas Valley to the east, it’s known for a distinctive slide, which occurred in 1998, and the wildfire of 2002.

Arches National Park Delicate Arch, near Moab, Utah, is located 160 miles northwest of Durango.

Sleeping Ute Mountain These mountains near Towaoc are said to resemble a sleeping Ute chief lying on his back with his arms folded across his chest.

X Rock A favorite spot for climbers, this rock is at the northwest edge of Durango.

Lizard Head The 556th highest peak in Colorado is 12 miles south of the Telluride turnoff on Highway 145.

Engineer Mountain A 12,968-foot peak north of Purgatory Resort off of Hwy 550 at the head of the Animas Valley.

Shiprock A 1,583-foot-high rock formation rising out of the northwestern New Mexico desert in the Navajo Nation.

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The NEW Recreational Store is Located in Durango Inside the Old “Sweeney’s” Building at

1644 County Road 203 [Corner of CR 203 and Hwy 550] 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide · 9

Getting Around

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 am to 10 pm daily every 20 minutes during the summer – and it’s only $1. Bus routes extend beyond the trolleys. For details visit

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) 247-3577 or visit online at

Durango-La Plata County Airport Our 36,500-square-foot terminal has two airlines, five rental car agencies, two restaurant/bar locations (including one in the secure passenger waiting area), and a gift shop. DRO has one of the longest runways 10 · 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

in the Four Corners Region at 9,200 feet long and 150 feet wide. The airport terminal is open 24 hours per day. The TSA screening checkpoint typically opens 90 minutes prior to the first departure of the day and remains open until the final departing flight in the evening. Airline ticket counter hours vary depending on flight schedules. Please check with the individual airline to confirm their staffed hours. You can find more info on the Durango-La Plata County Airport by calling (970) 382-6050 or

Driving Distances Cortez

U.S. 160 runs east-west from Durango and terminates in the center of town, joining the north-south running U.S. 491. On 491, Cortez is situated between Monticello, Utah to the northwest and Shiprock, NM, to the south. It’s 46 miles, or about an hour’s drive from Durango, while it’s 60 miles or an hour’s drive from Monticello. From Shiprock, it’s a 42-mile or 45-minute drive.

Delta/Montrose U.S. 50 runs north-south from Grand Junction to the north, then curves and runs east-west to Gunnison and Pueblo. U.S. 92

Herald file runs east-west from Hotchkiss, Paonia and Aspen. Grand Junction is about 45 miles, or an hour’s drive, while Aspen is 161 miles or three hours away.

Durango To the south, Farmington, NM, is about 30 miles away, about a one-hour drive. To the southwest, Cortez is about 45 miles away and is also about an hour’s drive. To the north, Montrose is 206 miles, or a two-hour drive on U.S. 550. To the east, Walsenburg is 221 miles, or four hours away on U.S. 160.

Gunnison U.S. 50 runs east-west from Montrose and Pueblo. From the west, it’s about 65 miles, or an hour’s drive from Montrose on U.S. 50. From the east, it’s 160 miles or about three hours from Pueblo.

Ouray/Silverton U.S. Highway 550 runs north-south from Montrose in the north to Durango in the south. It’s about 60 miles, or an hour’s drive from Montrose, and 48 miles, or about an hour’s drive from Durango.

Word of Warning for Drivers

Top That Frozen Yogurt

Mountain Driving In the summer months, it’s not uncommon to see the shoulders of highways littered with broken-down vehicles that could not handle the steep grades and high-altitude air of the Rocky Mountains. If you are venturing from a lower altitude, make sure your car can handle mountain driving. Thinner air means you will be burning more gasoline. Also, with so many steep grades, expect to gear down to avoid unnecessary friction to your brake pads.

Passing & Climbing Many mountains roads throughout the Rockies have two-lane passing zones which allow faster vehicles to pass easily and safely on steep grades. Be courteous to

Tantalize your taste buds and wow your culinary creativity, with limitless topping combinations, including fresh fruit, nuts, and candies. The self-serve possibilities are endless.

other drivers and be sure stay to the right and to merge back to the right lane after passing in these zones. And

Gelato & Frozen Yogurt

of course, passing isn’t quite as quick and easy on steep

600 Main Ave, Durango (970) 449-9886 Su-Wed 11am-9pm · Th-Sat 11am-10pm

grades. Be extra cautious and give yourself more time and space to pass.

2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide · 11

Scenic Drives

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Hot Picks

Get in gear and enjoy these beautiful drives 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 long-time 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 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 to the shoreline with charm and opportunities for family fun. This easy drive will show you a lot of the area’s beautiful features. Head 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. To return, travel southbound on County Road 501 through the verdant Pine River Valley. 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. 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide · 13

Jeep Thrills

Jeep rides into La Plata Canyon offers incredible views and fresh alpine air at 12,000-feet.

Courtesy Mountain Waters Rafting

Why choose a jeep tour?

Roller coaster thrills, history on wheels and scenery that will make your jaw drop. 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. 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 water and sunscreen. The combination of high altitude and sunshine can cause headaches, dehydration and 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.

If You Go... ✓✓ Bring your camera, with extra batteries and memory cards

Backcountry routes offer a full day of four-wheelin’ fun

✓✓ Dress in layers & bring a rain jacket

Old Lime Creek Road

✓✓ Tours run from mid-May through mid-October, weather permitting

✓✓ 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 & 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 with health conditions should check with their doctors before a ride

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Hot Picks

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






NS ATIO LOC O TW RIDE TELLU DURANGO 3473 Main Ave Durango 81301 970-422-8311 7 days, 8am-8pm

135 S. Spruce St. Telluride 81435 970-239-6039 7 days, 9am-7pm

2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide · 15

The National Park Service celebrates 100 years By Rachel Segura

On August 25, 2016, the National Park Service will celebrate 100 years of protection and management of national parks, monuments and historical sites under the Department of the Interior. When the service was initiated, 35 national parks had already been established beginning with Yellowstone National Park in 1872. With many others underway, President Woodrow Wilson signed the act creating NPS for the purpose of preservation, conservation, promotion and regulation of our national parks.

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Today, the NPS comprises more than 400 areas covering more than 84 million acres in 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Saipan and the Virgin Islands. The 100th birthday of NPS signals a most opportune time of integration and awareness into the next generation of park-goers. The establishment of the park system was an important mark on American history. The next step in that historical marking is keeping our parks as majestic and inspiring for the next century of enthusiasts to enjoy.

Mesa Verde National Park

making it a federal crime to collect or destroy

stewardship and dedication to special public

any historic or prehistoric objects or build-

lands the NPS has helped to preserve in its

the most notable and best preserved sites in

ings on federally-owned land.

100 years of operation.

the United States. For over 700 years, Ances-

Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal program

tral Puebloan people lived in the cliff dwell-

launched in 1932 brought the Conservation

Founder’s Day: Celebrating the 100th Birthday of the NPS

ings and sites from AD 600 to 1300. The park

Civilian Corps (CCC) to Mesa Verde. The CCC

August 25, (970) 529-4465

protects nearly 5,000 known archaeological

and other depression era efforts employed

Celebrate the 100th Birthday of the National

sites, including 600 cliff dwellings.

young men and women to build trails and

Park Service with special activities scheduled

roads, operate switchboards, help in excava-

throughout the day. Curation Tours of the

tions, fight fires, build park buildings and

Mesa Verde Visitor & Research Center

is an archaeological wonder holding some of

In 1905, a bill for the creation of Mesa Verde National Park was introduced into the 59th Congress after several years of trying to get

create museum exhibits.

Two “Behind-the-scenes” tours are offered.

the area federal protection from foot traffic.

Other events in the forming of Mesa Verde

Each focus on the artifacts and archives

The bill passed and the park was created

such as The Wetherill Mesa Archaeological

associated with Mesa Verde’s “famous folks”.

on June 29, 1906. Excavation and repair of

Project, the designation of Mesa Verde by

Come learn about interesting people from

major sites began in 1908 so visitors could

UNESCO as one of 22 World Heritage Sites,

the past that helped shape Mesa Verde

see and enjoy the park. Earlier that same

and the 100th Anniversary of Mesa Verde

National Park. Tours scheduled for 9:00 am

year, the 1906 Antiquities Act was passed,

National Park in 2006, are all examples of the

and 3:00 pm. Limited to 10 people.

2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide · 17

Hovenweep National Monument

The trail system provides excellent views

Centennial Event:

of all the archaeological sites. The Square

Every Saturday May 28 through October 1

The detailed construction and skill of the

Tower Group features a two-mile loop

Hovenweep National Monument was

beginning at the visitor center. The trail

designated an International Dark Sky Park

down to the overlook is paved but the trails

in 2014. This year they will offer the public

A.D. 1200 and 1300, is highlighted in the

along the canyon loop are primitive and

an astronomy program for visitors to learn

six prehistoric villages that is Hovenweep

lightly maintained with one end of the trail

about the night sky and take a constella-

National Monument. Once home to over

sloping down into the canyon along a rocky

tion tour with park rangers. The fee is free.

2,500 people, Hovenweep is made up of

pathway. The entire loop takes at least 1.5

Visitors are encouraged to bring a flashlight

multi-story towers perched on canyon rims

hours. This is a self-guided hike, but guided

with a red covering, a chair, and/or a blanket

and balanced on boulders leaving visitors

walks can be arranged for larger groups by

to sit on. Call (970) 565-4282 for more infor-

to marvel at the idea of life at Hovenweep.

contacting the park in advance.

mation and details.

Ancestral Puebloan builders between

Yucca House National Monument An integral and unique part of Southwestern Colorado, Yucca House National Monument is one of the largest unexcavated archaeological sites in the region. Yucca House was first thought to be built by the Aztec and is known as an important center for Ancestral Puebloan people from 1150 to 1300. This site has remained largely untouched for the past 800 years, leaving the site preserved in its beauty and integrity for future visitors and scientists. Centennial Event: September 10 Join a tour of Yucca House National Monument with Mesa Verde National Park guides at 8 am. All ages are welcome on this easy to moderate 2-hour, 陆 mile-walk along a mostly level, unpaved path. The trail is rocky in some places, so wear sturdy hiking shoes or boots. Total tour time, including travel to the site, is 3 hours. The group will meet at the Cortez Welcome Center in Cortez for a brief orientation then carpool to the site, eight miles south of Cortez. Tour is limited to 15 people. Price is $5 per person. Make reservations online at or call 1-877-444-6777.

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Aztec Ruins National Monument Built and used over a 200-year period, the Aztec ruins are a 900-year-old, wonderfully preserved archaeological three-story site. The Great House has over 400 masonry rooms including a reconstructed Great Kiva. Visitors can see original timbers holding up sections of roof, as well fingerprints in the mortar. The half-mile, self-guided trail winds through the Pueblo great house, the kiva and original rooms. Also at the site is a museum with artifacts, a Heritage Garden and a segment of the Old Spanish National Historical Trail that leads to the Animas River.

2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide 路 19

Train Events

The D&SNG Railroad Engine481 crosses Timber Bridge near Silverton. Photo courtesy of Yvonne Lashmett

The Denver & Rio Grande Railway was founded in 1879. The railroad arrived in Durango in August 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 and 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 since 1882, 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, call (888) TRAIN-07 or visit

20 · 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

Durango Blues Train

Durango Brew Train

June 3 & 4

June 12, September 4 and October 2

This exclusive, moving musical experi-

If you like beer, you’ll love Colorado.

ence features live blues acts while passen-

More than 10 percent of the nation’s craft

gers travel on the Durango & Silverton

breweries can be found in Colorado. At

Narrow Gauge Railroad. The coal-fired,

least five local brewers will be onboard to

steam-powered locomotive takes visitors

share their craft brews. Learning about craft

to the spectacular Highline in the San Juan

brew is a fascinating experience, full of new

National Forest. Walk from coach to coach

flavors, places and friends.

and experience the different musical talents.

Durango Wine & Rails Train

Visit the website for a list of all artists for

June 11, September 3 and October 1

both weekends. You must be 21 or over to

Colorado’s strong wine industry offers

ride the Blues Train.

settings and wine-tasting rooms like no

Dinosaur Train

other wine region in the world. Our tasting

June 18 & 19, 25 & 26

room happens to be in the Weminuche

It’s the fourth year for this adventure-filled

Wilderness area. Wine tastings are events

train ride, with music, stories and Nature

designed to give enthusiasts the opportunity

Trackers Club guidebook. Children will

to sample a range of wines.

have an opportunity to meet and take

Railrocker Festival

pictures with their favorite T.rex, Buddy. At

August 18-21, 2016

the activity area, you’ll find fossil dig sites,

Join us this August as we join the age-old

dinosaur tracking, temporary tattoo station,

Hardrocker’s competition and Railfest’s

music and other outdoor activities. Conces-

railroading to become the inaugural

sions will be available at the site.

Railrocker Festival.

Join us on our new

outdooR patio this summer with live music

The locals love to unwind here as they enjoy our friendly staff and handcrafted cocktails, made with house-made bitters, syrups, fresh squeezed juices and fresh local ingredients. We offer a scratch-made menu at affordable pricing. Enjoy our daily happy hour from 3pm-6:30pm, daily food specials big screen sporting events, local live musicians, a wood-burning fireplace and 14 craft beers on tap.


2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide 路 21


Most mountain lions do not display aggressive behavior toward people. If you encounter a mountain lion, make yourself appear as large as possible. Open your jacket. Raise your arms. Wave arms slowly. Make noise. Maintain eye contact. Throw stones or branches. Do not run. Slowly create distance.

The Durango area 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 22 · 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

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.

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 nature of the encounter, the black bear is a very curious omnivore ready to capitalize on your mistakes. Although they normally feast on Herald file 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 area 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 near 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.

If you encounter a bear, give it an escape route and try to not block that route. Do not run. Back away slowly, always watching the bear. Try and avoid direct eye contact. It may be difficult under the circumstances, but speak to the bear in a normal voice. Say something like, “Hey, bear. It’s just me.”





Featuring fine art nature photography of the Four Corners area of the American Southwest. The gallery showcases the photography of nationally and internationally collected photographer Frank Comisar and is a highlight of Durango’s historic Main Street.

708 Main – Durango ~ 970-385-5853 ~

20704 HIGHWAY 160 WEST DURANGO 970 259 3940 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide · 23


One of the great things about camping is that it can be rewarding both as a family trip or solo adventure. Whether it’s 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.

24 · 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

Durango KOA

Lightner Creek Campground

30090 US Hwy 160, (970) 247-0783

1567 County Road 207, (970) 247-5406

Durango East KOA is an old favorite with the

Lightner Creek Campground is close to

people from Durango.

fishing, hiking, swimming, white water

United Campground of Durango

paddling and playing golf.

1322 Animas View Drive; (970) 247-3853

Blue Spruce RV Park & Cabins

On the banks of the Animas River, the

Vallecito Lake, 1875 CR 500, (970) 884-2641

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

Whether you pull up in your Pop-Up,

runs through the campground.

5th-wheel, RV or stay in one of the cozy

Durango Year Round RV Park

cabins or apartments, you’ll enjoy a variety

5875 Highway 550, (970) 247-5199

of recreational opportunities and excellent

Located 14 miles south of downtown


Durango. All spaces have full hook-ups,

Junction Creek Campground

lawns and trees.

1499 FR 171, Durango, (970) 884-2512

Riverside Resort and RV Park

Located 5 miles northwest of Durango, on

13391 County Road 250, (970) 247-0783

a south-facing hillside with Junction Creek

Riverside Resort and RV Park provides a

a quarter mile below. The 4 camping loops

panoramic view of the jagged, picturesque

have 44 campsites (of which 4 are double

San Juan Mountains.

sites), and 14 offer electrical hookups.

Lower Hermosa Campground Forest Road 576, Durango, (970) 247-4874 14 miles northwest of Durango. Small, free campground has 20 campsites; some are for horse-use only. There is no water available at this campground.

Transfer Campground Forest Road 561, Mancos, (970) 882-7296 The campground has 12 campsites in a mostly level aspen grove. All sites and rest rooms are barrier-free. All sites accommodate RVs. Ten hiking trails surround Transfer Campground, including Sharkstooth and Box Canyon Trails.

Vallecito Lake County Road 501 to County Road 500, Bayfield, (877) 444-6777 80 campsites in four loops are shaded, and most sites are large and fairly level. Those near the creek fill up quickly. There are 33 reservable sites, 3 with electricity, and 47 non-reservable sites.

Courtesy of Visit Pagosa Springs

Neighborhood health centers? In my day, your neighbors were bears, bison and bobcats. At Centura Health, we’re always pioneering health, delivering health care to you no matter where you are. That’s why we created neighborhood health centers, so you can more easily access high-quality, personalized care close to home, without running into any bears, bison or bobcats at all. And Mercy Regional Medical Center is your connection to Centura Health. Find a center near you at


Centura Health does not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, age, sex, religion, creed, ancestry, sexual orientation, and marital status in admission, treatment, or participation in its programs, services and activities, or in employment. For further information about this policy contact Centura Health’s Office of the General Counsel at 303-804-8166. Copyright © Centura Health, 2015

16-CHCORP-01213-D-FY16_NeighborhoodMRMC_7.75x4.875_4C_FNL.indd 1

2016 Southwest Colorado Summer3/11/16 Guide2:42· PM 25

Saddle Up!

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

Buck’s Livery (970) 385-2110, Hwy. 550 north, across from Purgatory. A wilderness retreat with a variety of trails and packages through remote areas of the San Juan National Forest.

Over The Hill Outfitters (970) 385-7656, Try a two-hour horseback ride on a private 1,200-acre ranch, a day ride into the San Juan National Forest, a five-day basecamp pack trip, or an expedition on the Conti-

pick and choose the type of scenery and

Canyon Trails Ranch

nental Divide Trail.

activities you’re going to enjoy from horse-

(970) 565-1499,

back. Larger ranches usually offer full-service

13987 Road G, Cortez

Rapp Corral

lodging, dining, riding clinics, day rides of

Guided horse trips into Canyons of the

varying lengths, and a first-hand experi-

Ancients, where you will learn about the

ence of ranch life. Adjusting to the current

history of the Puebloan people through

(970) 247-8454, www.rappcorralcom 51 Haviland Lake Road, Durango. One of Durango’s favorite horseback riding venues features treks through San Juan

economy, there are more vacation options

beautiful backcountry rides.

than before. When taking a ride by the hour

Circle K Ranch

or longer, you can expect experienced

(970) 562-3826,

guides to show you the scenery, historic sites

27758 Hwy. 145, Dolores

and, as interpretive guides, tell you all about

Professional, experienced ranch wranglers

12175 CR 44, Mancos

the area’s flora and fauna. Whether you’re

will guide you through some of the most

Ride horses in a pristine section of the San

seeking a day ride or staying for several

beautiful country you will ever see in the San

Juan Mountains with beautiful views of

days, all guest ranch operators and outfitters

Juan Mountains near Dolores and Telluride.

Mesa Verde National Park and

emphasize knowing your abilities and fitness

The Hole in the Wall Stables

level to maximize your riding experience.

(928) 788-1764,

San Juan Sky Outfitters

The longer the ride, the more your physical

10 miles north of Durango on CR 250 N.

(970) 259-8590,

fitness will play a role in your enjoyment of

Guaranteed amazing views of the San Juan

The most alluring and magnificent horse-

the adventure. Don’t forget your camera,

Mountains, Animas River Gorge and the

back adventures, historical tours throught

and happy trails!

Animas Valley.

downtown Durango and train packages.

26 · 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

National Forest.

Rimrock Outfitters (970) 533-7588,

La Plata Mountains.

Colo. Outfitter #1832 Licensed, Bonded Insured

Pack Trips Wilderness Photography Workshops Scenic Horseback Rides Ride the Continental Divide Trail Highcountry Flyfishing Elk, Deer & Turkey Hunts Backcountry Horsemanship Clinics Mexico’s Copper Canyon

Medicine Horse Center in Mancos offers private horsemanship and riding lessons and summer camps. Visit www.medicinehorsecenter. org or call (970) 553-7403. Photo courtesy of Phoebe Bechtolt

2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide · 27

Find your spot

Fishing in Southwest Colorado appeals to every rod and reel

San Juan Angler guides chase the Salmon Fly hatch on local waters in Southwest Colorado outside Durango to secure a beautiful brown trout.

Courtesy San Juan Angler

By Rachel Segura

only been skunked once in all of his guiding

Glenn said that people who consider fishing

Southwest Colorado is surrounded by water; lakes, rivers, ponds, and creeks. There is an overabundance of opportunity for water activities. Once visitors have exhausted their Durango attractions, the San Juan Angler steps up for a day on the bank.

trips. Glenn has been an angler all his life.

in Southwest Colorado likely have an ideal

He began fly fishing at 10 years old because

picture of the experience, and it almost

the pursuit was a challenge for the young

always includes the river.

fisherman. Casting in a river compared to a

Sixty to seventy percent of their groups are

“Fly fishing is an active pursuit,” Glenn

Mexico because it’s a great spot for begin-

“Many people come in here looking for a different kind of experience for the day,” said Cole Glenn, manager for the San Juan Angler. “They’ve ridden the train, gone rafting, rock climbing, so what else can they do? That’s when we say, come in and try fly fishing.”

said. “You are fishing on a moving current

ners. The San Juan provides consistent tail

of water so you have to be observant and

waters from the dam release and a consistent

make adjustments as you go. The weather

hatch, which creates a great fishing spot.

is changing, the water temperature is

They also take groups on the Animas,

changing, and you can wade around or cross

Florida, Dolores and Pine Rivers, as well as

the bank to where the fish is holding.”

Vallecito Lake or Hermosa and Lime Creeks.

still body of water is a world of difference.

taken on the San Juan River in northern New

Fly fishing is a popular past time in Durango thanks to the Animas and San Juan Rivers. San Juan Angler guides offer the education and the mentorship for anyone to become a proponent of fly fishing.

Courtesy San Juan Angler

When people are looking for a particular experience, Glenn assesses their expectations to determine what type of fishing trip they are seeking. “Most people may catch multiple fish and that far exceeds their expectations, especially if they have never fly fished before,” Glenn said. “Some people are excited even if they catch one. That may be their only goal.” Glenn has been working for the San Juan Angler for over five years. He said he has 28 · 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

San Juan Angler guide Brad Miller, and his client Mark Donavan, successfully catch this Rainbow Trout and many others, at the San Juan River in New Mexico only an hour south of Durango. 




970.247.2660 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide 路 29

Williams Creek Reservoir in Pagosa Springs has excellent fishing for rainbow and brook trout, and kokanee salmon. Salmon are best taken with artificial lures and worms.

Visitors are provided will all the gear necessary for a successful fishing trip but are asked to bring appropriate clothing for the changing Southwest Colorado weather. Anglers can choose from drift trips on boats or wading trips, which waders and boots are provided.

“The metamorphosis of a bug in a particular time of year is what we are trying to match with these flies,” Glenn said. “That is anything from the larva stage to pupa and eventually a dry fly. Personally, tying your own fly and then catching is one of the most rewarding feelings.”

People can expect to catch rainbow, brook, brown and cutthroat trout. On the lakes, you could also cast for northern pike, perch, carp, and small or largemouth bass.

Also very rewarding to Glenn, is watching his clients make a catch knowing he helped their success.

“Fly fishing is a great sport and it’s definitely growing,” Glenn said. “It’s not as expensive as people think because you don’t really need a lot of gear to start. All you need is a rod and reel, some flies, line and leader, and you’re ready to go.” All ages and all skill levels can try fly fishing, although the advantage to having a guide is to learn proper technique. San Juan Angler offers various rod weights, flies, clothing, line and everything else necessary to becoming a successful fisherman. The experience isn’t necessarily about the accessories, but one thing needed is the right fly. San Juan Angler ties their own flies in-house, but offers a variety of other flies as well. The etymology of fly fishing is also one thing Glenn finds fascinating. 30 · 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

“We meet a lot of people across all states and it’s a great feeling to teach them about fly fishing and then watch them be successful. Anyone can get into this sport. You can start at any age. The best part is after you get that initial itch then it’s all about time spent on the water.” For more information on San Juan Angler, call (970) 382-9978. Visit their website for fishing reports and additional information,

Photo courtesy of Visit Pagosa Springs

Great Fishing Spots

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. The San Juan and Animas Rivers and Vallecito Lake in Southwest Colorado are included on the state’s list of Gold Medal Waters. Species include kokanee salmon, rainbow trout, small mouth bass, German brown trout, northern pike or walleye. 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

McPhee Reservoir Located 15.8 miles from Cortez, McPhee Reservoir is one of the largest in Colorado. Fishermen will find a variety of fish, including large and smallmouth bass, rainbow trout, perch and northern pike to name a few. Water recreation occurs often.

Haviland Lake Situated in the San Juan National Forest, 18 miles north of Durango. A no-wake lake, there is an accessible fishing dock located on the lakeshore. Anglers cast for rainbow and brown trout.

Andrews Lake To access Andrews Lake wildlife, go 29 miles north on Highway 550 to the access road, then ½ mile east to the parking area. Rainbow and brook trout are abundant here.

offer their own guided fishing service. Call (505) 632-3245 for more info.

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.

San Juan River

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.

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 turn off 550.

Fishing is a year ‘round activity at Vallecito Lake, located 18 miles northeast of Durango and home to various large species such as northern pike, brown and rainbow trout. Experience the salmon run late fall.

Located in the northwest corner of New Mexico, the San Juan River is world renowned for providing some of the most rewarding trout fishing you will ever experience. A 4-mile stretch of river below Navajo Lake Dam (tailwaters) is a consistent producer of both rainbows and browns averaging 16 to 18 inches. 

Jackson Lake (Mancos State Park)

Dolores River

Lightner Creek

Jackson provides quality fishing opportunity year ‘round for various species of trout as well as yellow perch. Located on US 160 west from Durango, 27 miles to Mancos. Turn north on 184 and follow signs to the park.

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.

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

Vallecito Lake

Navajo Lake Second largest state park in New Mexico, the marina is situated on the southern region of the lake which stretches 35 miles over northern NM and southern Colorado. Fishing is done by boat or off the bank. They

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.

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. The upper entrance to the creek is further north on Highway 550, ascending Coal Bank Pass. The entrance will be on the right side.


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The Animas River Trail

A series of bridges provide great overlooks on the Animas River Trail. This one, located on the north end of the trail, often has swallows swooping gracefully underneath it.

32 路 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

Karla Sluis, Durango Herald

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 halfdays. There’s plenty to see as you coast along. Most of the trail runs along 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 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 raincoat. 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. (You can print a map to take with you at

Great stops along the Animas River Trail include: ✓✓ Rotary Park: Featuring a Victorian gazebo and public art ✓✓ Durango Fish Hatchery: For a quarter, you can feed the trout ✓✓ Durango Public Library: Beautiful patios overlook the river ✓✓ Durango Community Recreation Center: Climbing wall, pool ✓✓ Smelter Rapids: Watch kayakers and rafters play in the river ✓✓ Santa Rita Park: Huge playground and river views

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Rafting & River Sports

Rafters, above and below, enjoy white water action on the Animas River in Smelter Rapids.

Photo courtesy of Durango Rivertrippers

The Best of the Southwest

Whether it’s from a raft, 4x4, zipline or train, these Durango rafting companies offer priceless views of Southwest Colorado.

By Rachel Segura

Durango Rivertrippers

The Animas River is the heart of Durango. This is a fact reiterated by the rafting companies in town who spend more time on the water than on land. Info and pricing on rafting, zipline,

Durango rafting is becoming more than a trip down river. It’s a one-stop adventure shop for visitors. Customized packages from rafting, 4x4 tours, zipline, rides on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, as well as interpretive trips to Mesa Verde National Park are all perfect ways to spend less and see more of what Southwest Colorado has to offer. Each of the companies in Durango is unique in their own management style, but they all agree on one thing: the love of the river and the rapids. They also have a profound joy for the people in their boats. When considering a trip on the Animas, think about your expectations then take a look at the featured companies here. You might just find your golden ticket down the river.

4x4 tours and Mesa Verde packaging. Durango Rivertrippers has been in business for 32 years. David Moler, owner and river guide, has been riding rapids in Durango since 2005. He purchased Rivertrippers in 2013. In 1983, they were the seventh company to become licensed as a rafting company in the state. “We should have a great runoff this year,” Moler said. “We have several options for visitors in terms of raft size, so as the river changes during the season we can specialize their ride.” They also offer private options for large families and groups who want to keep their trips personal, as do most all outfitters in Durango. Moler advises visitors to stay hydrated and wear plenty of sunscreen. Also, leave anything of value at home, and wear sturdy shoes. “We can rent river shoes to groups who may not be fully prepared,” Moler said.

34 · 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

All guides with Rivertrippers are knowledgeable and effectively trained to handle most any situation – even rafters who may be on the edge of the floatation device. “We want to catch people at their best but if someone is a little timid, we do our best to make them comfortable,” Moler said. “That could mean moving them to the front of the raft, or checking in with them often. We want our guests to have a good experience.” Moler himself has a strong love, not only for rafting, but the Animas River itself, which he sees as the backbone of the community. Taking visitors on a trip down the Animas is a good day’s work in his book. “Going through the rapids is its own adventure,” Moler said. “But during the flat water, is when you get to know the people in your raft. I really enjoy that aspect.” Should you choose to package, Rivertrippers offers a jeep adventure over Kennebec Pass and into La Plata City Ghost Town. At 12,000 feet, there are no shortage of breathtaking views while you view the old framework of the town.

If You Go...

Rafting guides and river experts offer a few suggestions on what to bring, wear, and expect on the water. ✓✓ Start out slow: Experts classify rapids on a scale of 1-6. Class 1 rapids are small with a slow current and low waves, and no obstructions in the water (child’s play), while Class 6 rapids feature large, frequent waves (read: you will fall out and lose your shorts on the way). ✓✓ Wear proper wet gear: Expect to get soaked (who doesn’t love a good chance to show off that itsy bitsy, teenie weenie, yellow polka dot bikini?). And to stave off tush chafing, pack a pair of gym shorts or water-resistant shorts for a barrier to the raft. Reservationist Michelle Fisher recommends wearing synthetic materials because cotton pulls heat away. And to protect the toes, Fisher suggests water shoes over flip-flops. ✓✓ De-bling: Leave jewelry, glitz, and cash money in the car. Sky Fogal, a professional river guide, says, “The general rule of thumb for river trips is if it got lost or wet and it would ruin your day, don’t bring it.” ✓✓ Lather up: Logging a solid day in the sun requires some sun block application. “What folks don’t expect is how sunburned the tops of their thighs and neck will be,” says PJ Stevenson, a 17-year rafting veteran. ✓✓ Stay afloat: Just like swimmies from the kiddie pool days, keep a lifejacket on at all times. In the event that you find yourself in the river, a lifejacket not only serves as a flotation device, but makes it easier for a guide to pull you back onboard.


Family Friendly to High Adventure


Having fun Since 1981!



✓✓ Dry off: Pack a change of clothes, a towel, and some water — though drenched, you’ll likely be thirsty once on land.

Mild to Wild Rafting & Jeep Trail Tours (970) 247-4789, Alex Mickel, owner and guide for Mild to Wild Rafting & Jeep Trail Tours, said the best view of the region is in a raft or a jeep. “People can spend the day rafting in these amazing valleys, then go to the top of a mountain,” Mickel said. “It really brings out the best of the southwest when you can see it from all angles.” Mild to Wild rafting has been in operation for 23 years. They run on the Animas in Durango as well as out of Silverton, and the Piedra River out of Pagosa Springs. Mickel said they package all activities for visitors to make it easier and more fulfilling. Mild to Wild guides an average of 300 people on the water during peak season. With all those people coming through, Mickel never gets tired of seeing their reactions for the first time. “It’s an opportunity to experience the river through a different set of eyes,” he said. “Watching the joy from our clients when they are on the water is what keeps you coming back” Of course, all those entering a raft will get a run-down of the trip, safety orientation, and how best to conduct themselves in the raft. There are many different options for families, as well as those seeking a thrill.

The SW adventure experts for 22 years!

Live Your Adventure!

970.247.4789 • 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide · 35

Photo courtesy of Mild to Wild

“We are looking forward to a great season,” Mickel said. “The snow has been keeping in the mountains, and with the added inches it should make for a great season, and not just for rafting. It will be a beautiful time to be in a 4x4.” Whether you have half or a full day to experience the southwest, you could be on the river then the jeep trails. Or, you can ride the rails of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and the rapids. Mild to Wild can help decide what is best for your group.

Photo courtesy of Mountain Water Rafting

Mountain Waters Rafting (800) 585-8243, James Wilkes was a wandering soul until the Animas River called him home. He has been a guide in various places for over 20 years.

time with family, some splashes and fun, but nothing too intimidating.” All rafting trips can be modified and there is

“I was guiding, going from river to river until I came to Durango,” Wilkes said. “It was a serendipitous accident that I came to own Mountain Waters. My friends talked me into it. Rafting is something I loved and was good at, so it made sense.”

no age limitation. Kids as young as four can

Wilkes bought the company in 2006 with Dan Bechtel, but Mountain Waters has been around since 1981. Wilkes has noticed a shift in the industry, whereby visitors are looking for a more laid-back river trip.

and finding out what they want from their

“There is a trend towards relaxed fun without a big challenge,” Wilkes said. “It’s more about

can have the best experience possible. They

36 · 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

climb into a raft, and have a good time. “We can modify the trip by walking around the water park, or we can offer an actionpacked trip out of Silverton. It’s all about talking to the people, getting to know them experience.” Mountain Waters has about 30 to 35 guides. Wilkes said he and his partner make sure their employees are well trained so groups also offer packages with various activities

to cater to their customer’s needs and their schedule, to maximize their time. Wilkes said that the majority of rafters who are looking for half-day river trips will find a jeep tour is a great complement. Their 4x4 tours consist of riding trails through La Plata Canyon west of Durango. “Those views are phenomenal,” Wilkes said. “You can see all throughout the San Juans and over to Lizard Head. You can also just about see the Continental Divide.” Wilkes is passionate about creating an atmosphere for his clients and his guides, ensuring a good time will be had by all. He enjoys seeing everyone have fun whether they choose a short trip, long trip, packaged trip or overnights.

Photo courtesy of Mild to Wild

Flexible Flyers

Flexible Flyers Rafting ~Durango~

(970) 247-4628, Erik Jorgensen, owner and operator of Flexible Flyers Rafting in Durango, has been professionally guiding for 22 years. He’s been on the water longer than that, developing his love for rapids as a young boy. Jorgensen has also guided and played on the rivers of Guatemala, El Salvador and Panama. Flexible Flyers offers trips on the upper and lower Animas River, as well as rides on the Piedra River out of Pagosa Springs. If you are in the market for a relaxed experience, but still looking to get wet, the Historic Durango Float Trip would fit your needs. You can spend one-hour or a full day in the rafts with Flexible Flyers.


Flexible Flyers has been in operation since 1983. Their guides are extensively trained in CPR, Swift Water Rescue (I, II, and III), Wilderness First Responder skills and EMT. All trips are available to book online. This company boasts they are in the business of rafting. They don’t want to sit in office chairs. Flexible Flyers is a friendly, family-oriented company who want nothing more but to create memories for your group.

Inflatable Kayaks

Tube Rentals

Providing fun on the river for over 35 years! Photo courtesy of Durango Rivertrippers

890 Roosa Avenue (Below the 9th St. Bridge) • Durango 970-247-4628 •

2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide · 37


then a steady uphill to the base of Engineer Mountain. Make sure you have plenty of water and rain gear. How to get there: Head north on Highway 550 toward Silverton. Coal Bank Pass is 35 miles north of Durango, 13.5 miles south of Silverton, on Route 550. Look for a small dirt road on the west side of the highway. Coal Bank has a pull off spot with restrooms and the dirt road to the west has a parking area near the trailhead. Do not park at the restroom facility on the east side of the road.

Potato Lake (Spud Lake) Where: Durango Length: 2.7 miles (round trip) Elevation gain 403-feet This is a very easy trail for hiking, a good choice for kids and visitors wanting a wilderness adventure that is not too strenuous, but still beautiful. The trailhead is located right next to a large beaver pond. The trail is easy to follow and the lake is good for fishing. Campsites are scattered around its parameter. There are no facilities, so pack in and pack out.

Karla Sluis, Durango Herald

How to get there: Head north out of Durango on Highway 550 for roughly 27 miles. Turn right onto the Old Lime Creek Road (Road 591) directly after passing over Cascade Creek. Follow this dirt road for about 6 miles – four-wheel-drive is recommended. There will be a large pond directly to the south at the trailhead. There is limited parking at this trailhead and a wooden sign that reads “Spud Lake.”

Trail: Geyser Springs Trail If you want to see the San Juan Mountains, jump in your car and go for a drive. If you want an adventure in the San Juan Mountains, go for a hike. There are an overwhelming amount of trails surrounding each town in Southwest Colorado. For a mountainous experience, Durango, Silverton and upper Dolores offer amazing pine and aspen covered hiking trails that will leave you refreshed and livened. For a more desertlike approach, Cortez has you covered. Your feet will thank you as you traverse your way up and down the rugged wilderness of Southwest Colorado. Grab your pack, lace up your boots and hit some of the best trails around the region.

Sand Canyon Trail Where: Cortez Length: 6.5 miles (one-way) from trailhead in McElmo Canyon Sand Canyon trail is a singletrack, dirt trail that crosses slickrock marked with rock cairns. There is a very steep section with 30 38 · 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

switchbacks about 4.5 miles into the ride. The trail is open to hiking, biking, and horseback riding. The upper section is rugged and uphill. Turn around at anytime to trek back to your vehicle. How to get there: To reach the McElmo Canyon trailhead, head south from Cortez on Highway 491. Turn right (west) on County Road G at the signs for the airport. Go 12 miles down to the trailhead parking on the north (right) side of the road. No water, toilet, or other services are available.

Engineer Mountain Trail Where: Durango Length: 4.4 miles (round trip) Elevation gain 2,378-feet Engineer Mountain trail is a well-marked and fairly popular trail north of Durango. This is a fun, challenging mountain hike with amazing panoramic views. The most direct ascent starts at Coal Bank Pass on US-550 and goes up the Pass Creek Trail. The hike climbs up moderate switchbacks

Where: Dolores Length: 1.25 miles (one-way) Elevation gain 500-feet This trail begins by crossing a small bridge over the upper west Dolores River. There are several relatively gently sloped switchbacks that take you through a series of small meadows and aspen stands. The trail ends at a small warm pool fed by the only true geyser in the state of Colorado. The frequency of eruptions varies but 30 to 45 minute intervals are common. The temperature of the spring is 82.4 degrees Fahrenheit, which is not ideal for soaking. How to get there: From Dolores, head east on Highway 145 towards Rico. Take the West Fork of the Dolores turn-off (County Road 38 which turns into Forest Road #535). Travel 23.3 miles to parking and Geyser trailhead.


The Purgatory Plunge Zipline is named for the sensation of literally “plunging” off a tower. Soar for more than the length of a professional football field at speeds in excess of 35 mph. A single zipline ride is $15.

Nancy Richmond Photography

Photo courtesy of Purgatory Resort/Scott DW Smith

If you want a unique thrill, ziplining will get your heart racing. It’s safe (even for those scared of heights), yet fast, fun, and exhilarating. Tandem rides are often available for those who want the comfort of “soaring” with a loved one. But the feeling of a solo leap off a platform into the sky is truly exhilarating – for every member of the family. You can choose a short one-time zipline at Purgatory, a half-day adventure at Full Blast, or a full-day extravaganza with gourmet lunch at Soaring Pines.

Purgatory Plunge Zipline

Full Blast Adventure Center

20673 Hwy 160 West, Durango (970) 759-9880, The Canopy Tour offers the feeling of being on top of the world, yet is only 1 mile from downtown Durango. Participants zipline between timber towers perched high in the ponderosa pines, with great views of the mountains.

US Hwy 550, Mile Marker 49, (970) 247-9000, Take one part incredible scenic views, add in some cables, harnesses, trolleys and helmets; connect it to the tallest tower in Durango and what does it produce? Screams of delight and heart-thumping exhilaration with breathtaking views.

Tree Top Adventures 964 CR 200; (970) 769-2357 This zipline is remotely located 32 miles north of Durango in the San Juan Mountains and only accessible from a ride on a Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad train. Soar on 27 different ziplines that range from 56 to 1,400 feet in length. Over a mile and a half of cable will carry you across Animas River and through the forest. 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide · 39


Swimmers can get in workout atlap the Durango Community Recreation Center pool. The adjoining pool has a water slide and wading pool with water features fora children.

Karla Sluis, Durango Herald

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.

40 · 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

Durango Sports Club

laps or just old-fashioned water fun. There’s

(970) 259-2579 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.

also a snack bar, spa, park area and garden.

Trimble Spa and Natural Hot Springs

(970) 375-7300

(970) 247-0111 This facility has been popular with healthseeking locals and tourists for more than 100 years. It has soaking pools as well as a large, Olympic-size outdoor pool for swimming

the indoor pool complex includes a lap pool,

Located at Trimble Lake and County Road 203, a quick seven miles north of downtown Durango on Highway 550.

Durango Community Recreation Center A great facility for several types of activities, 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.


3rd Annual







rescues • vendors • food & drink

agility demonstrations

canine aquatic competition


11 AM - 3PM


June 17th, 18th & 19th at the La Plata County Fairgrounds in Durango, CO

for more information call CIndy 1t 970.375.4599 or email 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide · 41


If you seek a golfing experience that is uncrowded, unspoiled, and unsurpassed, with spectacular scenery, Southwest Colorado has a great selection of courses. But remember, when playing at 6,000 feet above sea level and higher, bring plenty of water and sun block.

Local Courses Hillcrest Golf Course

Conquistador Golf Course

(970) 247-1499 in Durango, has mature landscaping and spectacular views. There are affordable green fees, a great membership program, golf tournaments and a grill.

(970) 565-9208 In Cortez, is an 18-hole championship golf course with sand traps, water hazards, practice driving range and putting green. 2018 N. Dolores Road, off Hwy 145 in Cortez.

The Glacier Club

Pagosa Springs Golf Club

(970) 382-6700 27-hole course has it all in luxurious surroundings at the Tamarron Resort, north of Durango on Highway 550.

(970) 731-4755 1 Pines Club Place, Pagosa Springs A championship 27-hole course with incredible views of the San Juan Mountains

Dalton Ranch

Piñon Hills

(970) 247-8774 Located in the heart of the Animas Valley, fantastic vistas go with a restaurant lounge, driving range, practice green, sand trap and chipping green.

2101 East Sunrise Parkway, Farmington, NM 87401. (505) 326-6066 In Farmington, NM, is known as one of America’s greats. It’s rated by Golfweek Magazine as one of the best municipal golf courses in the United States year in and year out for the last 20 years

Hunter’s Run Golf Course 8400 Highway 172, (970) 884-9785 With green fees that are reasonable and carts that are available for 18 holes of play. Located 14 miles southeast of Durango, near Ignacio. 42 · 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

Hillcrest Golf Course is set on top of a scenic mesa that overlooks the town of Durango. The 18-hole course is surrounded by the beauty and tranquility of the Southern Colorado Rockies.

Durango’s Public Golf Facility • Convenient in-town location 2300 Rim Drive (Next to Fort Lewis College)

• Practice facility • Rental Clubs Available

78 VALUE FOR $49


Any day after 1:00pm

Call the Hillcrest Pro Shop for tee time (970) 247-1499 & mention this coupon. Photo courtesy of

High altitude affects golf yardages When the best players in the world have trouble calculating yardages at altitude, you know it's not easy. The ball flies farther at high altitudes: The air is less dense, so there is less friction to slow it down.

Step 1: Determine the correct yardage from your ball to the green. You may buy a yardage book at some courses to assist you, or you may use the distance markers on the course. Walk off the distance between your ball and yardage marker location. For example, if you are 10 yards behind the 150 yard marker, you have 160 yards to the middle of the green.

Coupon must be presented at the time of play. Valid until September 1, 2016.


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Step 2: Subtract 10 percent to account for high altitude, says Golf Digest. Your 160-yard shot to the middle of the green will travel roughly 16 yards farther because of the thin air. Choose the club you would normally hit from 144 yards away.

Step 3: Consider the temperature and humidity, notes Langer. The ball won't travel as far in cool weather or humid weather. It will travel farther in warm weather and when the air is dry.

Step 4: Take into account your ball flight, says Fred Funk. If you hit shots with a high trajectory, they will fly farther in high altitudes. If you hit low shots, you won't get as much additional distance as those who hit the ball high. One such golfer, Kenny Perry, subtracts 20 percent to calculate his yardage in altitudes above 3,000 feet. If he has 200 yards to the pin, he selects a club he normally hits 160 yards.

Step 5: Prepare to be wrong and try not to get frustrated if your calculations don't work out well. Although the general rule is to deduct 10 percent to determine the "true" distance for shots to the green at high altitude, it's not a rule you can bank on.

Brown’s Shoe Fit

871 Main Avenue • 247- 5542 Mon - Sat 9-6 • Sun 11- 4:30 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide · 43


Road bike racers compete in the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic in late May.

Photo courtesy of Iron Horse Bicycle Classic

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.

Classic Durango Road Rides 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 550 back to town.

Wildcat Canyon Take Highway 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

Photo courtesy of Scott DW Smith/Purgatory Resort

44 ¡ 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

Mountain bikers ride along a trail at Purgatory Resort.

a terrific view of the La Plata Mountains. Be extremely cautious of cars, because the roads have little-to-no shoulder.

Rules of the Trail ✓✓ Ride open trails: Respect trail and road closures. Do not trespass on private land. ✓✓ Leave No Trace: Wet & muddy trails are more vulnerable to damage than dry ones. When the trail is soft, consider other riding options. This also means staying on existing trails. ✓✓ Control your bicycle: Obey all bicycle speed regulations and recommendations, and ride within your limits. ✓✓ Yield appropriately: Bicyclists traveling downhill should yield to ones headed uphill, unless the trail is clearly signed for one-way or downhill-only traffic. In general, strive to make each pass a safe and courteous one. ✓✓ Never scare animals: Give animals enough room and time to adjust to you. When passing horses, use special care and follow directions from the horseback riders (ask if uncertain). ✓✓ Plan ahead: Know your equipment, your ability and the area in which you are riding and prepare accordingly. Strive to be self-sufficient.

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.

Bicycle Motocross BMX racing has been around for a long time. It’s a fun, familyoriented 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, 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 pm 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.

2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide · 45

Get into the mountains safely with a mountain bike adventure customized to your skill level

Photo courtesy of Hermosa Tours

Durango Mountain Bike Tours

Monty’s Town Bike Rental

(970) 749-5328 Customize a ride for you that will match trails and terrain to your skill and excitement level. They offer rides for the entire family, from the beginner to the hardcore enthusiast.

(970) 247-0747 Whether you’re on a day visit, on vacation in Durango, or a local, Monty’s Town Bike Rentals has bikes for the whole family.

Hermosa Tours

800) 585-8243, Besides guiding visitors on the river, Mountain Waters also offers bike rentals for a nice cruise along the Animas Trail or a ride through downtown.

(877) 765-5682, Hermosa Tours specializes in self-guided mountain bike tours, allowing you to enjoy your own adventure. They also provide custom guided tours, as well as day tours in Durango and Sedona, Arizona.

Pedal the Peaks (970) 259-6880 Pedal the Peaks has rental bikes for a relaxing cruise on the Animas River Trail, for kids, or high-end, full-suspension bike for the more adventuresome and aggressive riders. 46 · 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

Mountain Waters Rafting

2nd Avenue Sports (970) 247-4511, They have a large collection of kids’ bikes, townies, full-suspension, road bikes & more.

Karla Sluis/Durango Herald

Classic Durango Mountain Bike Trails Easy


Old Railroad Grande Trail

Dry Fork Loop

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.

A great intermediate trail system accessible

Colorado Trail at Junction Creek

This is a wonderful 20+ mile ride from the

Colorado Trail at Junction Creek is one of the best trails in the Durango area, great for both hiking and biking. From the trailhead, you start out on a nice, flat trail that follows Junction Creek. When you reach the bridge, you will have gone about 2.5 miles. After this, the trail begins some steep switchbacks and eventually winds its way up to Gudy’s Rest, which has a sitting spot and nice view of Durango. If you are a beginner, the bridge is a good goal. After Gudy’s, you can turn left to head down Hofheins and loop back around from Dry Fork, back to the Colorado Trail. Or continue straight and make it to High Point and come on back down. Round trip to High Point on a bike is 4-5 hours.

Purgatory Mountain back to Hermosa. The

John Robinette rides the Horse Gulch Trail in Durango.

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

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 mid-summer 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.

Visit for information on the many trails for all skill levels throughout the Four Corners region.

Photo courtesy of Durango Mountain Bike Tours

2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide · 47

Fun for Kids

A young rider smiles during the Sprite Kids’ Race, an event of the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic weekend. Children ages 3-12 race around four closed blocks in downtown Durango. 48 ¡ 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide Photo courtesy of IHBC/ Scott DW Smith

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.

Boys and Girls Club of La Plata County 2750 Main Ave., Durango (970) 375-0010, 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 with 10 computers and an arts room.

Durango Community Recreation Center (970) 375-7300, 2400 Main Ave., Durango 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

hands-on workshops, classes and guided hikes, plus a summer day camp, middle school camp, and summer day programs, all just for kids.

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

Powerhouse Science Center (970) 259-9234, Located on the banks of the Animas River, The Powerhouse Science Center is a handson, interactive science center for all ages. Bring the whole family for innovation, imagination and play. The center is open year-round Wednesday to Monday 10 am to 4 pm They host a variety of special events in the summertime. For a listing of summer camps throughout June-August call or visit us online.

sports. Daycare available.

Durango Nature Studies (970) 769-1800, This 140-acre nature center located 12 miles south of Durango offers a wide variety of

2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide · 49

Arts & Culture

The mountains and fairy-tale white tents at Purgatory Resort are the backdrop for world-class music on summer evenings during Music In The Mountains.

Durango Arts Center (970) 259-2606, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown July 1-3, 14-16, 21-31 The Durango Arts Center, located downtown at 802 E. Second Ave., provides Durango and surrounding communities opportunities to create, to promote and to participate in diverse arts experiences. This summer, there will be exhibits of fine art photography, plein air painting workshops, and the musical

Community Concert Hall (970) 247-7657, 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 ticket office, located inside the Durango Welcome Center at 802 Main Ave., Durango

Bar-D Wranglers (970) 749-2572, This longtime production is a fun, unique Western-themed dinner theater show. They perform a famous stage show after supper with songs of cowboys and the old West. The group’s humor and lively instrumentals 50 · 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

Photo courtesy of MITM/Scott DW Smith

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 kids’ cowboy corner. 8080 County Road 250, Durango.

Music in the Mountains (970) 385-6820, Music in the Mountains celebrates its 30th season featuring orchestra, chamber and conservatory performances of classical and world music. A host of concerts and events are slated in venues set in the spectacular San Juan Mountains of Southwest Colorado July 8 through July 31. Deemed one of the longest-running classical music festivals in the Southwest, Artistic Director Gregory Hustis and Music Director and Conductor Guillermo Figueroa promise to take audiences on a musical adventure through the classics. Tickets may be purchased online at www.musicinthemountains. com, in person at the Festival Office, 1063 Main Avenue in Durango or by calling (970) 385-6820. The season will be from July 8-31. Visit the website for a complete listing of artists, venues, and program schedules.

Photo courtesy of Brent Bayless

Henry Strater Theatre (970) 375-7160, The world-renowned Henry Strater Theatre is one of the oldest and most prestigious continually running theaters in Colorado, offering nearly 50 years of quality performances. Formally known as the Diamond Circle Theatre, the theatre has been extensively renovated with top-of-the-line stage lighting and surround sound. This intimate and prestigious venue operates year-round as a theatre and community space. For schedule information, call HAL or visit us online. LOTT/Herald photos

2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide 路 51

Art Galleries

An interior view of the Diane West Jewelry & Art gives a small peek into the art and custom jewelry available for sale at the gallery.

Courtesy Diane West Jewelry & Art

Diane West Jewelry & Art

Toh-Atin Gallery

820 Main Ave., Durango (970) 385-4444, Featuring contemporary hand made jewelry and fine art from local and nationally-known artists this gallery specializes in the unique and unusual.

145 W. 9th Street (970) 247-8277, Fine Indian and Southwest arts and crafts have been featured here since 1957, including jewelry, Navajo woven rugs and more.

Karyn Gabaldon Fine Arts

735 Main Avenue in Durango (970) 382-8355, This gallery specializes in fine art photography, frequently featuring the famous and should-be-famous.

680 Main Ave., Suite C, Durango. (970) 247-9018, This gallery shows the contemporary landscapes of owner Kayrn Gabaldon, along with glass, pottery, sculpture and jewelry of many other artists.

Durango Arts Center 802 East 2nd Ave., Durango (970) 259-2606, The Durango Arts Center hosts new exhibits monthly, featuring acclaimed traveling shows, juried exhibits and works by regional and local artists. 52 路 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

The Open Shutter Gallery

Sorrel Sky Gallery 828 Main Ave. (970) 247-3555, With a fresh approach to Western art, the gallery features contemporary and traditional paintings, sculptures, furniture, jewelry and pottery in bronze, ink, oils, watercolors, gold, silver and precious stones. Sorrel Sky Gallery represents bronze artist Star Liana

York, painter Billy Schenck, and former U.S. Senator Ben Nighthorse, among others.

A Shared Blanket (970) 247-9210, This museum-quality Native American gallery features 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. 104 E. 5th St., adjacent to train or take a Google tour of the gallery online.

“ Award Winning “


Home Furnishings & Decor

Museum Quality Native American Art

(970) 247-9210

Adjacent to Train • 104 E. 5th Street GOOGLE VIRTUAL TOUR

700 e 2nd ave durango co

970 259-5755

w w w. a r t e s a n o s d e s i g n . c o m In addition to COMPREHENSIVE CARE FOR THE ENTIRE FAMILY, we treat minor acute injuries including burns, lacerations, eye injuries, sprains, uncomplicated fractures, sports injuries and other musculoskeletal problems. We also treat vomiting, nausea, earaches, fever, sore throats, coughs, colds, flu, eye problems, upper respiratory, asthma, allergies, tummy aches and nose bleeds.

WALK-INS WELCOME Open Evenings & Saturdays Call 970 259 3110 for an appointment.

Your appointment WILL ALWAYS BE WITH A BOARD CERTIFIED FAMILY PHYSICIAN! Hours: Mon-Thurs 8am-7pm | Fri 8am-5pm | Sat 9am-5pm

316 Sawyer Drive in BODO PARK 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide · 53

Antiques Black Swan Antiques & Collectibles

Toh-Atin Gallery

270 East Pagosa St., Pagosa Springs.

145 W. 9th St., Durango

(970) 264-6200,

(970) 247-8277, Along with new examples of Native American art, the gallery has selections of vintage Indian and Southwest arts and crafts including jewelry, Navajo woven rugs and more.

Packed full of fine furniture and accessories, this store is full of an eclectic mix of unique American and European antiques

Durango Silver Co. (970) 375-2401, Antiques from the American West; frontier,

Up the Creek Antiques and Gifts

cowboy, Indian, furniture, rocks and unusual

gemstones. Four miles west on Hwy 160.

410 N. Beech St., Mancos, (970) 533-7961. A quaint gem in Mancos features unique household furnishings, vintage dishes, Native American pottery and jewelry, Western items and more.

Durango Antique Market

Village Junction Antiques

780 Main Ave., Durango, (970) 247-4555.

39793 Hwy. 160, Bayfield, (970) 884-2445 Browse 3,000 square feet of treasures at this premier antique store in Southwest Colorado. This store has a great stock of antique furniture, paintings and d茅cor, as well as Western memorabilia, old tools and signage, vintage kitchen gadgets and more.

items of great interest. Specializes in silver jewelry, old Indian pawn, and jewelry with rare old turquoise and colored

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. 54 路 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

Relax and enjoy rooftop dining in the heart of Durango.



Locally Grown, Mountain Inspired 919 Main Ave, Durango • 970-259-2898 Reservations suggested for evening dining

locally grown

locally owned

55 + strains • HasH & HasH concentrate • edibles • seeds • clones • pipes • Vape pens smoking accessories • apparel • mj literature & consulting • atm on site medical and recreational 7 days a week

The Alternative Resource durango: 72 suttle street unit F • 970.259.dorg | corteZ: 1104 e main street • 970.565.6500

2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide · 55


The Cortez Cultural Center is well-known for their beautifully, painted mural and outdoor amphitheater which showcases Native American dances all summer long.

Animas Museum

Cortez CulturalCenter

(970) 259-2402,

(970) 565-1151, The Cortez Cultural Center is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide an interactive forum for the community’s artistic, cultural, educational, historic and natural environment interests. Visitors can enjoy authentic Native American dances outside the center, as well as an art gallery, Native American pottery, jewlery, and more. Take part in one of the many educational or art classes, as well as the many events run by the center each year. The center hours are

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. Two permanent exhibits include a 1908 restored classroom and the Joy Cabin, the oldest intact structure left in Durango. Summer hours (May-October) are Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm Admission is $4 for adults, $3 for seniors 65+ and $2 for children 7-12. Children 6 and under are free.

Center of Southwest Studies (970) 247-7456, 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. Exhibition Gallery exhibits rotate annually. Gallery hours are 1 pm to 4 pm ,Wednesday through Friday, Thursdays until 7 pm. 56 · 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

Monday-Saturday 10 am to 5 pm.

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum The D&SNGRR 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

Rachel Segura/Durango Herald

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, where the railroads informational and educational films are featured. Admission is free. Hours are 7 am to 7 pm daily.

Aztec Museum & Pioneer Village (505) 334-9829, The Aztec Museum & Pioneer Village Summer hours are June through September from 9 am to 4 pm. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children K-12. Children 6 and under are free.

Explore! Showcasing local artists & producers

A unique collection of expertly curated offerings for the gourmet to the gardener and everyone in between! You’ll find quality & originality at the heart of each item and around every corner. Explore Monday-Saturday | 9am to 6pm Sunday 10am to 5pm U.S. 160, Durango, CO 81301 • (970) 259-5811 (across the highway from Home Depot)

2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide · 57


A flight of craft brews awaits a taster at Carver Brewing Company in Durango.

For adults, one of the rewards of 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 many microbreweries quenching locals’ thirsts.

Animas Brewing Co. 1560 East 2nd Ave. (near the River Trail) (970) 403-8850, Durango’s newest brewery opened in January 2015. It offers a variety of flavorful craft beer and complements them with a spin on comfort food. All in a relaxed family friendly atmosphere.

Avalanche Brewing Co. 1067 Blair St., Silverton (970) 387-5282, Located in the heart of Silverton’s red light district, Avalanche Brewing is a local favorite for delicious fare. They added in four of their very own hand-crafted brews five years ago.

Brew Pub & Kitchen 117 West College Dr. (970) 259-5959, Durango restaurant handcrafts spectacular 58 · 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

Photo courtesy of Carver Brewing Company

beers and features artisan beers from other Colorado breweries as well as wines and select spirits.

Golden Block Brewery

Carver Brewing Co.

Artisan wood-fired pizza, friendly service,

1022 Main Ave., Durango (970) 259-2545, The brews always on tap at this restaurant and bar include Old Oak Amber Ale; Colorado Nut Brown Ale; and, Iron Horse Oatmeal Stout.

great atmosphere and delicious craft beers

Dolores River Brewery

This popular spot in downtown Cortez has

100 S. 4th St., Dolores (970) 882-4677, Their ales, lagers, and stouts are all “live,” that is, they have never been filtered or pasteurized.

12 of their own brews that alternate on tap

Durango Brewing Company

550 W. Railroad Ave., Mancos

3000 Main Ave., Durango,

(970) 533-9761

(970) 247-3396, Re-opening summer 2016 after a remodel, Durango Brewing Company is the third oldest microbrewery in Colorado. Brewing since 1990, our heritage dates to 1886 when Durango Beer and Ice Company became

Durango Brewing Company.

range of beer styles.

1227 Greene St., Silverton (970) 387-5962,

put this up-and-coming brewery at the top of the list.

Main Street Brewery 21 E. Main St., Cortez, (970) 564-9112

as well as seasonals. Their Mesa Cervezas are also available for purchase in-house as 23-oz. bombers or 64-oz. growlers.

Mancos Brewing Company

Mancos Brewing Company provides great beer and food in a relaxed setting. This small brewery also offers outdoors live entertainment every weekend. They craft their beers in one-barrel batches and cover a broad

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

Riff Raff Brewing 274 Pagosa Street, Pagosa Springs 970-264-(4677), Something for everyone to enjoy. From an array of craft beer made in an 1896 Victorian house to eclectic and unique interpretations on classic burgers and nachos, you will enjoy your experience when you hang out with Riff Raff.

Ska Brewing Co. 225 Girard St. Durango (970) 247-5792, A tasting room plus The Container Restaurant is located in Bodo Industrial Park. Local restaurants and pubs help market their products, including their popular Pinstripe Red Ale, Buster Nut Brown (seasonal), a True Blonde Ale and other specialty brews

Steamworks Brewing Co. 801 East Second Ave., Durango (970) 259-9200, This popular local restaurant and brewery features a wide variety of beers and ales, and it all goes down well with a great food menu.

ALWAYS FRESH, HANDMADE & WOOD FIRED Gluten Free Option • Full Bar • Daily Specials • Family Friendly • Dine In/Take Out

Summer Hours: 11am – 10pm • Enjoy Our Patio 741 Main Ave, Durango, CO • 970-247-0264

2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide · 59


The Strater Hotel glows on a summer evening. Downtown Durango bustles with live music, theatre, galleries and an eclectic bar scene.

Photo courtesy of Strater Hotel /Scott DW Smith

45th Annual Iron Horse Bicycle Classic

and fun to benefit Durango’s own Women’s Resource Center.

May 28-30, 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 busy weekend. Come to ride or cheer on your favorite.

Four Corners Pet Expo

True West Rodeo

June 17-19, 10 am to 4 pm La Plata County Fairgrounds Interactive events, demonstrations, and vendors with the latest products, toys and food for your pet.

June 1-July 20 Check out broncs, bulls and Wild West entertainment at this pro rodeo series held on Wednesday nights at the La Plata County Fairgrounds. This year will consist of nine rodeos with over 4,000 spectators.

Durango Motor Expo

Animas River Days

Fourth of July Fireworks

June 4, Featuring various races on the river, live music, a beer garden and more. Visit us online for a complete schedule of events

July 4 just after sunset Enjoy various events throughout the day and a downtown parade in the evening. Call (970) 375-5000 for weather or fire warnings.

and times.

Men Who Grill

63rd Annual Four Corners Gem and Mineral Show

June 11 Summertime means grilling time at this 13th annual event, held from 11 am-2 pm in Buckley Park. This event is a day of feasting

July 8-10, 10 am to 6 pm , La Plata County Fairgrounds, Kids’ activities, silent auction, mineral displays, raffle and at least 40 vendors.

60 · 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide


June 18, Presented by the Durango Old Car Club, the Motor Expo is family fun for all. There is a silent auction, various events and an awards show on Main Avenue from 9 am to 3 pm.

HAL LOTT/Herald Karla Sluis/Durango Herald

2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide 路 61

Art on the Animas July 8-9, (970) 247-2117 Event held at Santa Rita Park 8 am to 5 pm along the River Walk.

Fiesta Days July 23-31, (970) 749-4960 The 80th celebration of Durango’s Spanish history and cowboy heritage will include several activities all week long starting with the Special Olympics Rodeo on July 23rd. Through Sunday, there will be a pie auction, street dance, team roping events, barbecue, a Saturday morning parade in downtown Durango, special events and concerts.

La Plata County Fair Aug. 10-14, (970) 382-6468 Old-fashioned county fair featuring agriculture, animals, pies, quilts, food, gamea and many more fun events for the family. Contact the fairgrounds for more info.

San Juan Brewfest Aug. 27, (970) 375-5068 Annual event held at Buckley Park, featuring over 50 different breweries in downtown Durango from 1 to 5 pm.

22nd Annual Durango Autumn Arts Festival September 17-18, 2016, 10 am- 5 pm, East 2nd Avenue between College & 9th Street, Downtown Durango The annual Durango Autumn Arts Festival, a benefit event presented by the Durango Arts Center, is a well-loved celebration of the arts taking place outdoors in downtown Durango. Enjoy beautiful September weather while strolling up to 100 booths filled with an inspiring selection of art and fine crafts made by artists and craftspeople selected from around the country. Find high-quality, handmade, one-of-a-kind items for yourself, your home and gifts for others. Participate in interactive art activities for all ages and watch artists demonstrate their craft. Listen to live, local music while partaking in local artisanal food and drink. 62 · 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

Recreational Marijuana Dispensary


A True Durango Experience High Quality • Knowledgeable and Friendly Staff Unique Experience • Daily Specials

Open daily 9am to 8pm 965 1/2 Main Avenue | Durango, Colorado (above Jewelry Works) | 970-259-1647 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide · 63

Karla Sluis/Durango Herald

Green Chile & Bean Festival Sept. 10, 11 am to 3 pm, Buckley Park Restaurants and individuals will create appetizers, entrees, desserts or drinks with green chile peppers or beans. Dishes will be judged. Live music, beer and wine.

Four Corners Motorcycle Rally Sept. 1-5 The 23rd Annual Four Corners Motorcycle Rally in Ignacio will feature motorcycle giveaways, demo rides, various competitions, live music and other adult events, as well as neighboring activities at the Sky Ute Casino, Durango Harley Davidson and in Downtown Durango. Visit for more information and to purchase camping passes and tickets.

Karla Sluis/Durango Herald

The Whole Expo Sept. 10-11, Individual businesses and services that promote healthy and holistic living will be featured at the La Plata County Fairgrounds main exhibit hall from 10 am to 7 pm Saturday, and 10 am to 5 pm Sunday. Outside entertainment and demonstrations will take place throughout the day.

Durango’s wide variety of summer events includes river runs for spectators during the Animas River Days (above), and plenty of arts & crafts shows to peruse downtown.

Karla Sluis/Durango Herald

64 · 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

Karla Sluis/Durango Herald

2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide 路 65

Bayfield Bayfield is a town of 2,300 residents situated on the Pine River in eastern La Plata County. The first residents were the Ute Indians, whose current reservation lies south of town. Farmers and ranchers arrived in the late 1800s, and many of their descendants still live in the area today. Bayfield prides itself on its small-town hospitality and strong sports tradition at Bayfield High School. In 2015, the town celebrated its second 2A state football championship.

Bayberry Jam

More information on town activities is on the Bayfield Chamber of Commerce website at or the Pine River Times at

Lions Club pancake breakfast at 7 am. 5K fun

Bayfield, noon to 7 pm. Live bands, food,

beer tent and more in Joe Stephenson Park. Fireworks at dusk, location to be announced. For more information, contact Bayfield Parks and Recreation.

beer and games. More information and the

Steam Fair

music schedule is on the Bayberry Jam

July 30, (970) 884-2222 Art and science festival at the Pine River Public Library

June 25 Local music in Eagle Park in downtown

Facebook page.

Bayfield 4th of July Celebration July 4, (970) 884-9034 run at 8 am, pet parade at 9:45, the biggest little parade in Southwest Colorado at 10 am, followed by games, activities, Rotary Club

Off The Beaten Path August 20 Artistic explosion, car show, poker stroll, music, food in Gem Village, just west of Bayfield on U.S. Highway 160. Facebook. com/offthebeatenpathgemvillage.

Zucchini Festival Sept. 11, (970) 884-2222 Pine River Public Library. Squash art, food, and live music. Pine River Public Library,

Bar D Wranglers Performance Sept. 23 Kickoff for Bayfield Heritage Days. See the Pine River Times for time and ticket info.

Bayfield Heritage Day and Sheep Trailing Sept. 24, Running of the sheep at 9 am or so on County Road 521, followed by a parade on Mill Street and events and games in Joe Stephenson Park.

66 路 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

The 2014 Hardly Angels Motorcycle Drill Team prepares to perform during the Four Corners Motorcycle Rally.

Ignacio Ignacio is home to the Southern Ute Indian

on local events, visit the Ignacio Chamber

Theory Of A Deadman

Tribe and a unique blend of Anglo, Hispanic

of Commerce website at www.ignacio-

and Native cultures. The nearby Sky Ute or

July 9, Live rock from Canada..

Casino provides live concerts and enter-

Southern Ute Bear Dance

San Ignacio Fiesta

May 27-30,

July 30-31 Celebrating the culture and history of Ignacio. The Fiesta parade is at 10 am Saturday, followed by food, games, duck race and picnics in Shoshone Park in downtown Ignacio. The Fiesta Mass, lunch and bingo are on Sunday. Fiesta is sponsored by St. Ignatius Catholic Church.

tainment year-round to area residents. The Southern Ute Fairgrounds host events throughout the spring, summer and fall, including horse clinics and competitions. The Pine River Valley fills with the sound of iron horses every Labor Day weekend for the Four Corners Motorcycle Rally, headquar-

The Bear Dance signals the arrival of spring and was a traditional time of courtship for members of the Ute tribes. The modern event includes a powwow, vendors and traditional Native foods.

tered at the fairgrounds. Ignacio High School

Memorial Day

and SunUte Community Center are home

May 30

to local basketball, including several high

Honoring all who served. 10 am at Southern

school teams that have placed in the 2A

Ute Veterans Memorial Park in Ignacio,

state tournaments. For more information

followed by Walk of the Warriors.

The San Ignacio Fiesta is a colorful reminder of the region’s past.

Four Corners Motorcycle Rally Sept. 1–5 Sky Ute Fairgrounds with rides in Durango, Vallecito and surrounding areas. Poker runs, midget wrestling, biker bull riding on live bulls, Hardly Angels exhibitions, Indian and Harley-Davidson motorcycle giveaways, live music and more.

Southern Ute Tribal Fair Sept. 9-11, Parade, powwow, events and contests all weekend.

2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide · 67



Courtesy of Vallecito Chamber of Commerce

68 路 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

At 8,000 feet above sea level, Vallecito Lake is located just 18 scenic miles from downtown Durango and completely surrounded by the San Juan National Forest. The lake itself is impressive in its size, opportunities for recreation, and breathtaking vistas. The largest body of water in Colorado at its elevation or higher, Vallecito Lake is surrounded by majestic views into the Weminuche Wilderness. With numerous 12,000 and 13,000 ft. peaks, there simply isn’t another lake experience like it in Colorado. Outdoor recreation opportunities abound such as hiking, fishing, horseback riding, boating, camping, paddleboarding, kayaking, bird watching, and more.

Tour Of Carvings After the Missionary Ridge fire of 2002, a local artisan sculpted 15 Carvings out of trees. Located around the Lake, many tourists make the drive to Vallecito Lake simply to explore the area and see the Carvings. This project is the community’s effort to bounce back from the fire and dedicate honor to those firefighters who served relentlessly to save Vallecito Lake.

Restaurants & Amenities Vallecito boasts four restaurants open all summer. Pura Vida features a “margaritaville” atmosphere and menu. The Lake House is your local steak house and regularly accommodates large groups. The Vallecito Lake Country Market has the largest menu and has a distinct southwestern influence. The Hideaway Bar & Grill offers up a more traditional sportsbar menu and experience. Vallecito also boasts two general stores and liquor stores as well so you don’t have to go all the way to town to resupply.

23 miles northeast of Durango Heated indoor pool • Playground Game room • Fire pits • Hiking • Horses Marinas • Hunting nearby • All season fun Spring/Fall discounts

Vallecito Marina This full service marina is open May 1 into October. With a variety of boat rentals, buoys, slips, and fuel service available, Vallecito Marina is ready to accommodate your boating needs. Open 7am – 7pm seven days a week, (970) 884-7000 or

Public Lake Access Easy access to Vallecito Lake, by shore or by boat, provides anglers with the opportunity to catch rainbow, lake, and brown trout along with smallmouth bass, kokanee salmon, walleye, and northern pike. If you park at a roadside pullout or away from the lake shore, you will not need a permit. However, if you park along the lake, a $3 permit for day use is required (or $30 for an annual permit). Many local businesses and the Pine River Irrigation District (970) 884-2558 sell these permits. The funds are used to maintain the public restroom facilities and shore access around the lake. Fishing licenses are required for any angler over the age of 16 and are available at a few businesses around the lake, as well as online at Fishing.aspx.

Special Events

Please visit for all live music, food specials, and other events May 21 – Spaghetti Dinner Event Center Fundraiser, 5:30pm May 28 – Grand Opening for Vallecito Marina, all day May 28-29 – Vallecito Service League Plant Sale June 4 – Summer Fishing Tournament, all day June 4-5 – Free Fishing Weekend (no license required) June 12 – Chili Cookoff & Fireworks Fundraiser, 5pm July 3 – Fireworks at the North End at dusk July 2-3 – Arts & Crafts Fair below the Dam, all day July 23 – Hideaway Hot Rod Rally Aug 26-Sept 5 – Vallecito Lake Motorcycle Rally

Five Branches

Camper Park & Cabins 22 Years o Friends &f Family Fu n

On Vallecito Lake & Pine River

Cabins, Tents & RV’s

1800’ Lake/River Frontage RV and Tent Sites Cabins • Camp Store Licenses • Horseshoes Swings • Volleyball Laundry • Hot Showers

Open May 20th thru Sept. 5th 2016 See website for

4677 CR 501A Bayfield, CO 81122

(970) 884-2582

August Specials

2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide · 69

High above the Heat Away from the Crowds Just 18 miles from Durango

Four Restaurants Tour of Carvings Full Service Marina w/ Boat Rentals Live Music & Events All Summer


Vallecito Lake

CR 240


CR 501


Tour of Carvings:



Bayfield 550 • (970) 247-1573 70 · 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

Chimney Rock

One of America’s newest National Monuments, Chimney Rock is a place of mystery, a sacred place, a celestial observatory and seasonal calendar for the Ancestral Puebloans over 1,000 years ago.

Courtesy of Howard Rowe/Chimney Rock Interpretive Association

Come experience a unique part of America’s heritage in the shadows of Chimney Rock’s awe-inspiring twin spires. Visit this Ancestral 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. 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., or call (970) 883-5359 from 9 am to 4:30 pm daily through Sept. 30.

Night Sky Archaeoastronomy Programs June 3, July 1 & 29, Sept. 2 & 30 Chimney Rock’s entertaining yet educational Night-Sky Archaeoastronomy Program includes a one-hour astronomy demonstration at the Visitor Cabin. Guests will learn about naked-eye astronomy of the Ancestral Puebloans, the solar system and universe. Then participants will drive to the upper mesa for approximately 1.5 hours of nightsky viewing through telescopes.

Summer Solstice Sunrise Program June 21 Watch the sun rise over the San Juans this first day of summer and discuss how the

ancients may have lived and why they celebrated the solstice. This unique 2-3 hour event begins at the Sun Tower.

Moon Viewing Plus Programs June 10, July 15, Aug. 12, Sept. 9 View the partially-illuminated moon at Chimney Rock through telescopes. This program includes an interactive discussion at the Visitor’s Cabin.

Life at Chimney Rock Festival July 23-24 Interactive demonstrations of crafts and skills of Ancestral Puebloan culture and regional Native American cultures. Free demonstrations from 10 am to 4 pm 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. Shop the Indian market. The festival is free to the public and will be held at the Visitor Cabin parking area.

Puebloan Pottery Workshop July 29-31 Noted Potter Gregory Wood (website at www. leads participants 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 pottery

Herald file

The Moon Viewing program at Chimney Rock is a unique free event, with interactive discussions, telescopes and occasional live music.

as the Ancestral Puebloans did. For reservation information contact the instructor at

Autumnal Equinox Sunrise Program Sept. 23 Watch the sun rise over the San Juans this first day of autumn, and discuss how the ancients may have lived, and why they celebrated the equinoxes. This 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 excellent viewing locations. Herald file

2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide · 71


When you drive into Cortez, you have

Chuckwagon BBQ

George Geer Memorial Car Show

reached the “Heart of Southwest Colorado.”

June 8,

It is also the gateway to Mesa Verde National

The Ute Mountain Roundup Rodeo Chuck-

Park, one of the more popular places to

wagon BBQ will be at the indoor arena of the

Aug. 13, 10 am, Centennial Park An annual event for local car clubs to show off their antique rides.

visit in the region. The area surrounding

Montezuma County Fairgrounds at

Cortez boasts gorgeous views of the La Plata

6 pm with live music and traditional

18th Annual Harvest Beer Festival

Mountains, Sleeping Ute Mountain and

chuckwagon food. Tickets are limited.

Mesa Verde. 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 dramati-

Ute Mountain Roundup Rodeo June 9-13 The 86th anniversary at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds will feature mutton busting, carnival food and rides, and a rodeo dance. The annual rodeo parade will be held in downtown Cortez on Saturday.

cally at the end of the 19th century, when a

Montezuma County Fair

mining rush brought European settlers to

July 30-Aug. 6, (970) 565-1000

the area. The miners were soon followed

by loggers, farmers and ranchers. For more

Eating contests, Battle of the Bands, shotgun

information about the region, call the Cortez

shootouts, chili contest, dog show, livestock

Chamber of Commerce at (970) 565-3414,

shows, demolition derby, ranch rodeo & more

or visit

Indian Arts & Culture Festival

Cortez Rendezvous Hot Air Balloon Rally

Saturday, May 28, 9 am to 6 pm

Aug. 5-7, (970) 565-8227

Sunday, May 29, 10 am to 4 pm

This annual event takes place in Parque de

(970) 565-1151

Vida. Ascension times take place at 6:30 am

Cortez Cultural Center Plaza, 25 N. Market St.

each day.

72 · 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

Sept. 10, 5 to 9 pm , (970) 565-8227 Regional breweries pour their best craft beers in Parque de Vida. Live music, food vendors and a silent auction.

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2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide · 73

Lost Canyon Ranch


uct d e %R

1,200 Acre Ranch directly abutted to the San Juan Nat’l Forest near Summit Reservoir. Property is forested with tall pines and Lost Canyon Creek runs through the property. Ranch has been used as private hunt retreat and includes several hunt cabins, chuckhouse with commercial kitchen, haybarn, corrals and stables. Over 2 miles of direct public land abuttment. Conveniently located between Dolores and Mancos with year-round access and lots of wildlife.





edu ce R


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Dolores River Front Steal!

River front home priced below value, 4 acres, pond, barn, RV slips, Nat. Forest frontage. $649,000 MLS#705523

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10 acres, 1st floor master, huge rec room, tons of windows/ views, big garage. Call Vernon $499,000 MLS#705281

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Contact One of Our Knowledgable Brokers Today Tim and Pete Singleton................ 970-739-6774 Scott and Sharon Wallace............ 970-749-7992 Terry Woodrow............................ 970-560-1318 John Stramel ................................ 970-749-1858 Vernon Hoffman.......................... 970-749-2151

Cortez Office 970-565-1211

74 · 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

Dolores Office 970-882-1211

Home of Ute Mountain and Mesa Verde Pottery At Ute Mountain Indian Trading Company we produce and sell various designs of Native American pottery. We also carry an exquisite collection of Native American jewelry, art and crafts. Explore our museum featuring Ute history and watch our artists work in the pottery studio on site. 27601 HIGHWAY 160, CORTEZ, COLORADO


The finest Native American art and pottery of the Southwest. 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide 路 75


You will be charmed by this little mountain town, located in the spectacular Dolores River Valley, and minutes away from McPhee Reservoir. Spend the day in Dolores fly-fishing in the Dolores River, eat at one of the many delicious restaurants, try one of the locally brewed craft beers at the Dolores River Brewery, then stop at a few of the shops and pick up one-of-a-kind items to take home. Don’t forget to stop in at the Galloping Goose Historical Society of Dolores and step inside the #5 railway car.

Special Events Dolores Farmers Market Starting Wednesday, June 4 Every Wednesday, 4 -7 pm at Flander’s Park!

Dolores River Festival June 11, Featuring vendors, live music, food, costumed river parade and more in Joe Rowell Park from 10 am to dusk. Visit online for cost and event schedule.

Escalante Days Aug. 12-14, (970) 882-4018. At Flander’s Park in Dolores; includes a pancake breakfast, parade, dancing, various competitions and a softball tournament.

76 · 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

Photo courtesy of Suzanne Duke

Mancos The Mancos Valley continues a 140-year tradition 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. Visit the Mancos Valley Chamber online at; e-mail or call (970) 533-7434.

Mancos Farmers Market June to September, Thursday afternoons

Mancos Days July 29-31 - Annual festival and fundraisers with games, prizes, vendors, a softball tournament, live

2nd Annual Mancos Valley Summer Brewfest Aug. 13 - Benefit for local organizations located at Cottonwood Park. Features local food, brews and music.

Mancos Valley Balloon & Art Festival Sept. 23-25, or The 12th annual Mancos Balloon Festival features mass ascensions beginning at 7 am in Boyle Park, night glows (weather permitting), art vendors, live music and much more in historic downtown Mancos.

entertainment and more at Boyle/Wayside Park. All-day event.

A balloon rises in the early morning during the Mancos Valley Balloon & Art Festival.

Photo courtesy Feva Fotos

2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide · 77

Mesa Verde

Set aside a full day to explore Mesa Verde’s collection of ancient cliff dwellings. 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, or call (970) 529-4465.

78 · 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

Cliff Palace is a stunning sight tucked into the rock face.

Wetherill Mesa It will open on May 1, with an extended time of opening through Oct. 31 (weather permitting). This section of the park will allow cyclists to bike the trails, since the tram will not be running. It is also open for hikers.

Traditional Hopi Dances July 2-3, 11:00 am, 12:00 pm, 2:00 pm, and 4:00 pm, Visitor and Research Center Flora Lomayestewa has been bringing her Hopi dance group from Shungopavi village on Second Mesa to Mesa Verde for the last 25 years. The Lomayestewa family invites you to view traditional Hopi dances at the Mesa Verde Visitor and Research Center near the entrance to the park at 11 am, noon, 2 and 4 pm. Times are the same for both days.

Pueblo Pottery Demonstrations Sept. 10, 10:30 am Visitor and Research Center 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 Mesa Verde Visitor and Research Center

near the museum at 10:30 am for a demonstration, firing and sale of black and redware pottery.

Four Corners Lecture Series Landscapes for the People: George Alexander Grant, First Chief Photographer of the National Park ServiceJune 3, Friday, 7:00 pm, Chapin Museum Ren and Helen Davis Like Father, Like Son: Seventy-six Years in the National Park Service June 17, Friday, 7:00 pm, Chapin Museum Fred Fagergren That’s How It Was in the Cs: The Work and Legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps at Mesa Verde & Beyond July 22, Friday, 7:00 pm, Chapin Museum Brian Forist Happy Birthday, National Park Service. One Hundred Years of Birth and Growth of America’s Best Idea Aug 19, Friday, 7:00 pm, Chapin Museum

Artist-in-Residence Public Demonstrations During the early summer and fall, Mesa Verde National Park hosts a variety of live-in, talented artists who seek to find inspiration within the Park nooks and crannies. For two weeks, artists live in Mesa Verde practicing their craft. Each artist is allowed a public demonstration. At the end of the program, a piece of artwork created by each artist is left for Mesa Verde. May 2 to May 15 Susan Madden, landscape quilter May 16 to May 29 Gregory Spaid, photographer September 5 to September 18 Bronwyn Mauldin, environmental writer September 19 to October 2 Kit Frost, landscape photographer October 3 to October 16 Joyce Heuman, painter

Larry Gore

2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide · 79

Pagosa Springs

Lobo Overlook, just past the Wolf Creek Pass summit, is worth a stop for beautiful views of a valley near Pagosa Springs.

Pagosa Springs is a growing community located within the San Juan National Forest amid the majestic San Juan Mountains. Pagosa Springs offers visitors a rich geological and cultural history to explore. Known for its world-famous hot springs, “Pagosah” is the Southwestern Ute word for “healing waters.” The soaring cliffs, rugged peaks, magical alpine pools, undisturbed wilderness, cascading rivers, and soothing hot springs reveal a dramatic geological history that invites voyagers, young and old, to venture into the backcountry.

Photo courtesy of Visit Pagosa Springs

Rafters enjoy whitewater on the West Fork of the San Juan River.

Photo courtesy of Visit Pagosa Springs

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Affordable Lodging Options —

Public Course & Practice Range 27 Championship Holes Public Golf Course The Pines Restaurant & Snack Bar - Happy Hour Daily Full Practice Range, Large Practice Putting Green, & Chipping Green Friday Night Couples Nine Holes & Buffet Dinner (June thru September) Rates Are Seasonal Mid-April to Mid-November, 18 hole, 9 hole and Junior rates available call or go on-line for complete rate schedule.

Rooms • Suites • Kitchenettes Deluxe Park-Model Cabins Seasonal RV Spaces Plus, Our Guests Enjoy Complimentary Access to our —

Hot Springs Swimming Pool Soaking Tub & Indoor Hot Baths

Located at the base of Reservoir Hill Recreation Area, just steps away from the San Juan River, & walking distance to just about everything fun!

Hiking • Biking • Fishing River Rafting • Tubing Historic Downtown Dining, Shopping & Movie Theater

And for Added Relaxation or Recovery from the Great Outdoors —

On-Site Massage Services

#1 Pines Club Place, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147 970-731-4755 •

Call or go online to make your reservation!

800-832-5523 317 Hot Springs Blvd., Downtown Pagosa Springs

Photos by: Pagosa Photography

Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce 2016 Events

The Pagosa Springs Car Show June 10th and 11th

Park 2 Park Craft Fair July 1st–4th, 9am-4pm

Party in The Park June 10th, 5-8pm

Colorfest in Pagosa September 16th-18th

The Show and Shine on Lewis Street June 11th, 9am-3pm

Passport to Pagosa Wine and Food Festival September 16th

Breakfast with Balloons September 17th in Centennial Park 7:30am Mass Balloon Ascensions September 17th & 18th, 8am Annual 5K Colorfest Color Run September 17th at Town Park, 8am The Pagosa Springs Music & Micro-Brew Festival September 17th, 4-8pm

Please visit for more information and details on these exciting events! 105 Hot Springs Blvd. Pagosa Springs, CO 81147 • 970.264.2360 • 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide · 81

Hot air balloons rise over The Springs Resort & Spa in Pagosa Springs during ColorFest.

Live Theatre at Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts June - September, (970) 731-7469 Enjoy Broadway productions in the mountains this summer, with professional theatre productions of Little Mermaid, A

Photo courtesy of Visit Pagosa Springs

Red Ryder Roundup Rodeo

Four Corners Folk Festival

July 2-4 Annual Red Ryder Roundup Rodeo featuring cowboys and cowgirls from various states competing in this sanctioned rodeo series. Mutton Bustin’, specialty acts and other fun events will perform daily.

Sept. 2-4, Onsite camping and three days of music at Reservoir Hill in Pagosa Springs. Beer and food vendors on site. Visit online for tickets.

Colorfest Weekend

Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Forum,

Cruise a Thong

Cabaret, and Always, Patsy Cline.

July 16th The Cruise-a-Thong is a triathlon designed for the not-quite-hardcore athlete in all of us. It’s guaranteed to be the most fun you’ll have all summer!

Sept. 16-17 A weekend of beer, wine, music, hot air balloons, food and more. Enjoy a Wine & Food Festival in Town Park with live music, mass balloon ascensions, a 5k Color Run, live music and a balloon glow.

Archuleta County Fair

Music and Micro Brew Festival Sept. 19 Annual event featuring local brews from Colorado and Northern New Mexico. Cash bar, food court, live music.

June 10-11

Aug. 4-7 The annual county fair features a carnival, live music, horseshow tournament, dance, livestock auction, contests, chuckwagon dinner, and many more activities.

Welcome the participants while listening

Cowboy Fast Draw

to live music, enjoying a cash bar and food on Friday. The Show and Shine on Lewis

July 26-31 Watch sharpshooters compete head-to-head in old west fashion during the Colorado State

Street will be Saturday from 9 am to 3 pm.

& US National Championships.

11th Annual Pagosa Folk n’ Bluegrass Festival June 3-5, Held at Reservoir Hill Park, featuring three days of bluegrass, folk music workshops, kids’ bluegrass camp, and vendors. Visit us online for info on tickets and musical acts.

Car Show in Pagosa

vendors. 5-8 pm in Town Park Athletic Field

82 · 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

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Children play fetch wtih a happy water dog at Williams Lake in Pagosa Springs.

Photo courtesy of Ohea Graham

Fourth of July in Pagosa Carnival June 28-July 4 , daily until 10 pm in Town Park. Rides, food & carnival games.

Park to Park Arts & Crafts Festival July 1-4 Come out to the 37th Annual “Park to Park” Arts & Crafts Festival downtown along the River Walk. With over 80 booths to view and shop, you will always be able to find a great gift for an upcoming event, holiday or yourself. Vendors will consist of woodworking, jewelry, stained glass, photography, fibers, metal work, clay and more.

Red Ryder Roundup Rodeo July 2-4 Annual Red Ryder Roundup Rodeo featuring cowboys and cowgirls from various states competing in this sanctioned rodeo series. Mutton Bustin’, specialty acts and other fun events will perform daily.

Celebrate the Fourth July 4 Kick off the Fourth with a pancake breakfast from 7:30 to 9:30 am at the Parish Hall, 445 Lewis St. $5 per person, children 5 and under free. Head over to annual parade at 10 am. Check out the Red Ryder Roundup Rodeo or the carnival before fireworks.. Photo courtesy of Visit Pagosa Springs

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Passengers are treated to beautiful scenery along the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad tracks on the route to Silverton.

Silverton is a quiet, high-altitude town with an open-hearted spirit surrounded

Hot Pick: Grand Imperial Hotel - Step Back In Time

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. 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 86 · 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

The Grand Imperial Hotel at 1219 Greene St. in Silverton is now a part of a historictravel tour with D&SNG Railroad. Beginning in June, visitors can take the Durango train through the majestic San Juan Mountains to Silverton, where a night or two at the elegant and refurbished 1883 Grand Imperial will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. To book passage for this overnight package, please make your reservations over the phone only by calling 888-872-4607. For more details, visit

Hot Pick: Silverton Fourth of July Celebration

One of Southwest Colorado’s biggest Fourth of July celebrations is an event you won’t want to miss. The day-long activities are put forth by the Silverton Volunteer Fire Department. Various local businesses also take part in the affair by offering specials and live music at their establishments. Events start at 8 am and continue throughout the day until the fireworks commence that evening. ✓✓ Blue Ribbon Run 2K, 5K, and 10K Runners will start and finish the race at Memorial Park. ✓✓ Parade starts on Greene and Blair Street. Immediately following the parade is the annual Fireman Water Fight on Greene Street. After the water fight head to The American Legion for the Old-Fashioned Picnic. ✓✓ Enjoy the brass band in Memorial Park. ✓✓ Also in Memorial Park is the Rhubarb Festival and Ice Cream Social. ✓✓ Duck Derby held at Cement Creek in Memorial Park. ✓✓ Well-known and popular Silverton fireworks show begins near the Shrine. The display is put on by the Silverton Volunteer Fire Department.

2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide · 87

Greene Street is “downtown” in rural Silverton, set at an altitude of 9,305 feet. It’s filled with charming Victorian-era buildings that house restaurants, coffee houses, gift shops and more.

4th Annual Antique Truck and Car Show June 25 Event held on Blair Street with a morning parade and display until late afternoon.

The Taste of Silverton June 25 Sample food and beverages from Silverton’s local restaurants, featuring live music on Blair Street from 5 to 8 pm

Silverton Barbershop Musical Festival Aug. 6, 7 pm, Silverton School Gym Singers from all over the Rocky Mountain District come to perform and celebrate harmony at the Silverton School gym.

Inaugural Railrocker Festival Aug. 18-21 Join us as we join the age-old Hardrocker’s competition and Railfest’s railroading to

88 · 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

become the inaugural Railrocker Festival. Celebrating Silverton and Durangos heritage with mining competitions, and railroad themed events including Railroading special events include a Champagne Brunch Train, Murder Mystery Train, Evening Cocktail Train, Presidential Train and more.

Great Western Rocky Mountain Brass Band Festival Aug. 19, 7 pm, Silverton School Gym Authentic arrangements are played by musicians from all over the country beginning at 7 pm all weekend long. Held at Silverton School gym.

Step Back in Time Sept. 16-17, (970) 387-5609 Immerse yourself in a weekend of filled with period activities including the Miner’s Ball, a Murder Mystery dinner, a cemetery tour, and so much more.

Step Back In Time

September 16th and 17th Established in 1874, Silverton, Colorado is the little “town that time forgot.” Many of the buildings from the era are still in use today, making Silverton a perfect venue for a Victorian weekend. Learn about life in a mining camp of the Old West as you explore the streets, museum, mines, and a 141 year old cemetery during this special event. Wear your Victorian finery and travel back to the 1800’s when gold and silver mining reigned supreme in Colorado. Immerse yourself in an entire weekend filled with period activities including; the Miner’s Ball, a dinner “Murder Mystery”, talks, a box lunch & an ice cream social. All proceeds will benefit the San Juan County Historical Society. Visit for a complete schedule of events or call (970) 387-5609.

By Land or By River, Ouray has your Adventure! Switzerland of America, Inc.

4x4 Scenic Group Tours Private Jeep Tours ~ 2016 Jeep Rentals Horseback Rides and More!


“We couldn’t have chosen a better adventure for our family. Your tour took us through ghost towns, by waterfalls, deer, marmots and the most beautiful mountains we have ever seen. This is a must-do for anyone who loves nature!” – Kate, Wisconsin “Thank you so much for taking us over Black Bear and Imogene Pass. Your company made sure we felt comfortable and safe. This is one of the most exciting things we’ve ever done and we learned so much along the way!”– Amy, Texas “We rented a Jeep in June, and were very impressed by your team’s excitement over Jeeping. It was contagious! The staff was patient and informative when it came to reviewing maps, what points of interest to look for, and what to expect with the trails. We can’t wait to rent another Jeep with Switzerland of America.” – Steve, Florida

Ouray’s Hometown Tradition for Exciting Jeep Adventures Since 1962!

226 7th Avenue 970-325-4484

2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide · 89


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Historic mining structures can be found in abundance along jeep roads near Ouray in the summer.

Established in the 1800s, Ouray is a quaint,

Old-Fashioned Fourth of July

romantic town with Victorian charm.

July 4 - A 10k race, parade, kids activities, water fights, concerts and more round out the July 4th fun in Ouray. A Jeep glow at dusk and fireworks that evening complete the day.

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

Mt. Sneffels Marathon & Half-Marathon Aug. 13,

the hot springs is the perfect way to end the

Ouray County Fork Fest

day. Immerse yourself in the local history

farming and ranching, railroad and Native

August 19-20 Ridgway Farmer’s Market chef demonstrations and restaurant crawl in Ouray. Sample desserts, entrees and drinks. Cooking classes, farm-to-table events in Ridgway on Saturday. Tickets available for event. (970) 318-0150

American history. Located in Southwest

Ouray County Railroad Days

Colorado, Ouray is on the Million Dollar

September 15, 9 am. to 5 pm Ridgway Railroad Museum, A weekend of history, guided tours, talks and a symposium.

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,

Highway and the San Juan Skyway, two of the most scenic drives in the country. For more info on any of the attractions or events listed below, visit

Hot Pick: Ouray Hot Springs

In operation since 1927, the Ouray Hot Springs is a 1,000,000-gallon, sulfur-free mineral pool open year round. The Ouray Hot Springs Pool is an affordable option for families looking to have fun without spending an arm and a leg. (Daily rates are $12 for adults.) Open 10 am - 10 pm daily. Visit or call (970) 325-7073.

Mountain Air Music Series June 2-30, (970) 325-4746 Live performances and art events at Fellen Park near the hot springs pools every Thursday in June.

2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide · 91


Photo courtesy of Farmington Convention & Visitor’s Bureau

Farmington is located just across the border

Known by some as the heart of America’s

Summer Terrace Series

of Southwest Colorado in New Mexico’s San

Southwest, the Farmington region is a place

June 4-Aug. 27

Juan County, an area covering 5,560 square

where outdoor lovers and active families

(505) 632-0879,

miles, distinguished by fertile river valleys,

thrive. From off-roading adventures in the

Hosted by the Farmington Museum,

high desert, rolling plateaus, mesas and

Glade Run Recreation Area and the Dunes

featuring various outdoor concerts

mountain ranges. The Animas, La Plata and

Recreation Area to enjoying the trail systems of the Riverwalk along the Animas River,

on Saturday nights.

San Juan rivers flow through Farmington. Farmington is an excellent destination for recreation, dining and enjoying entertainment produced by a vibrant artistic and cultural community. Visitors can explore the area’s past and present at Farmington-area museums or view prehistoric sites in the surrounding areas of Bloomfield and Aztec. Also explore and photograph the geological formations found in the Bisti Badlands.

there is an outdoor activity for all nature

Car Show & Craft Fair


June 11, (505) 566-2480

Riverfest May 27,-29 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm Activities include the annual Wiener Dog

June 30–July 4, (505) 326-7602

Races, a 10K and 5K run/walk, river raft rides,

the RiverFest Fine Art Show, Disc Golf tourna-

Fireworks, brass band concert, night time

ment, Roverfest, Veterans Memorial Gourd

parade and party.

Dance, geocaching, a petting zoo and more.

Attend a variety of concerts and stage plays

Annual Flea Market

the many art galleries to purchase or peruse unique, one-of-a-kind pieces. Farmington is also home to two casinos, Northern Edge Navajo Casino and Sunray Park & Casino. Both host an array of gaming, but visitors can also experience horse racing and other sports events such as motocross in the casino sports arena. 92 · 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

food, live music, contests & amazing vehicles.

29th Annual Freedom Days Celebration

Berg Park and Animas Park

Farmington is also abundant in the arts. at arts centers and theaters or step into one of

At Sycamore Park Community Center with

Land of Enchantment Rod Run July 16, (505) 599-1401

June 4, 8 am to 2 pm

See hundreds of cars on display at the Rod

Peruse over 100 vendors at the Bonnie Dallas

Run block party. Celebrate hot rods, muscle

Senior Center. Live entertainment.

cars and street rods with a festival of sweet


cars, cool music and great food.

June 4, 10 am to 4 pm, McGee Park

Connie Mack World Series

(505) 564-3299, A free one-day event, 10 am to 4 pm, held at McGee Park.

July 29-August. 5, Baseball fans unite as the best in amateur baseball compete at Ricketts Park.

Hot Pick: Weiner Dog Races

This popular annual event is part of Farmington’s three-day RiverFest. When the gates to the boxes open, the dogs burst out – only to be distracted from the race by doggie greetings. The dogs sometimes run the wrong way, but owners coax them to the finish line. The action will begin at 11 am at River Reach Terrace, northwest fence near Washington Federal Bank. Watch the fun, or enter your “Hot Dog” for the races. Register: Saturday 9:30 am to 10:45 am in front of race gates. $6 per dog. New Mexico Dachshund Rescue will also be on hand in case people want to adopt a dog for next year’s race.

SJC Outdoor Equipment Rental Center has:

• Backpacks/Packs • Mountain bikes • Paddleboards • Camping equipment • Canoes & Kayaks • Disc golf sets • Climbing gear • Volleyball sets • And More!

Call us or visit our website for a full list of affordable equipment rentals.

SAN JUAN COLLEGE | 505-566-3221 San Juan County Fair Aug. 8-13, At McGee Park will feature livestock shows, parade, vendors and live music.

Wine and Shine Classic Car Show August 20, (505) 632-0879 Wines of the San Juan will host an evening of live music, delicious food and classic cars.

Totah Festival Indian Market and Pow Wow Sept. 3-4, (505) 599-1174 Annual festival featuring Native American artisans from across the Four Corners at the Farmington Civic Center. Includes rug auction and pow wow contest.

Animas River Green Chile Festival Sept. 17-18, (505) 334-3578 Celebrate the green chile with live music, food, and fun for kids at Sutherland Farms.

2016 Summer

COLLECTION > Make a splash with crisp white hues accented with earthy tones.

> Perfect for any summer occasion from casual cocktails to lounging in the sun.

Wines of the San Juan Harvest Wine Festival Sept. 26-27, (505) 632-0879 Celebrate the harvest season with live music, juried art show, specialty foods, and the Great Grape Stomp from noon-6 pm at Wines of the San Juan.

5920 E. Main St. Suite A Farmington, NM

505.325.7800 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide · 93


The Aztec Ruins National Monument preserves Ancestral Puebloan structures in northwestern New Mexico, close to Aztec and northeast of Farmington, near the Animas River.

Rachel Segura/Durango Herald

Locals and visitors alike boast about Aztec’s intimate, river-runs-through-it community where the buzz is about fabulous events, top-shelf recreation, enviable climate, rich history and eclectic, small-town pleasures. Aztec fulfills the recreationalist, entices the cultured, beckons the explorer, and makes peaceful the nomadic. The lower San Juan River, flowing from Navajo Lake is ranked among America’s top-ten trout fishing waters. A 4.5-mile, nutrient-rich section below Navajo Dam is so spectacular for fishing that it has earned “Quality Waters” designation. Aztec boasts over 30 miles of mountain bike trails, including the Alien Run, ranked among the more technically-challenging and scenic single tracks in the Four Corners. A visit to Aztec wouldn’t be complete without witnessing the archaeological treasure that is Aztec Ruins National Monument. Tour the three-story, 450-room West Ruin. Explore

94 · 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

the Great Kiva and marvel at 900-year-old

Fiesta Days

roof timbers that shelter intact plaster rooms.

June 16-19, (505) 334-7646 Annual event hosted by Aztec Chamber of Commerce at Riverside Park, 500 S. Light Plant Rd. (end of South Light Plant Road).

Witness exquisite masonry before passing through mysterious T-shaped doorways. Mistakenly coined “Aztec” by others, the ancient Pueblo people lived and flourished at this very sacred and spiritual place.

Music in the Courtyard at Wines of the San Juan May 29 - Sept. 18, Sundays, 4 to 7pm Relax in the shade of our cottonwood trees, enjoying music from local musicians and a glass of internationally-awarded wine.

Gun & Knife Show June 11-12 Takes place at the Aztec Community Center, 101 South Park Ave., from 9 am to 5 pm Saturday, and 9 am to 3 pm Sunday. Reservations Call: Al Hadley (505) 334-6688 or John Austin (505) 334-6955.

11th Annual Animas River Blues & Brews Fest July 16, Riverside Park, noon to 10 pm or Featuring five national blues bands. Admission is $22; free for kids 12 and under.

Ute Country

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. Non-Indians 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 Mountain Casino Fireworks July 3, (800) 258-8007 Independence Day celebration featuring a live concert, True Willie: Willie Nelson Tribute Band, fireworks, food, and more.

16th Annual Pow-Wow & Hand Game Tournament Aug. 19-21, (800) 258-8007 Three days of traditional dance, drum and hand game competitions with prizes, food vendors and more.

Ute Mountain Tribal Park June - September For reservations: (970) 565-9653, Come see a unique section of Ute Country that includes cliff dwelling, rock art, and surface sites. Half-day or full-day guided tours into the Tribal Park can be booked by making reservations with the park. There are no self-guided tours.

Sky Ute Casino Resort In Ignacio, visit the 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.

Ute Mountain Casino (970) 565-8800 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. 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide · 95



Owned & operated by the Southern Ute Indian Tribe


96 · 2016 Southwest Colorado Summer Guide

2016 Summer Guide-Southwest Colorado  
2016 Summer Guide-Southwest Colorado