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Continue Your Trip Through Colorado Turn of the Century Historic Towns

From Pagosa Springs, continue west on Hwy 160 for about 60 miles skirting the San Juan National Forest while Chimney Rock looms in the distance.  Durango sits in the La Plata Valley.   Click here for map

Gold lured prospectors to the San Juan Mountains and the upper Animas River from before the Civil War, but the Brunot Agreement made with the Ute Tribe in 1874 brought homesteaders, productive mining, and the railroad without which Colorado would not have grown.

Durango was built by the railroad which came in the early 1880s to service the mining industry and completed its extension to Silverton in 1882.  Revisit this time in history today by taking a ride on the Narrow Guage train to Silverton and back.

Today Durango boasts a downtown gallery walk, many shops and restaurants, as well as the beautifully renovated historic Strater Hotel.

Other activities include rafting the Animas River, fishing in Lake Vallecito, a short drive from Durango, or taking a tour of one of the nearby gold mines.

Archeological adventures await less than an hour's drive away at Chimney Rock, the world famous Mesa Verde, or the Anasazi Heritage Center north of Cortez.

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Glenwood Springs is a 225 mile drive from Durango.  Take 550 north of Durango to the old mining town of Silverton, over the scenic million dollar highway to Ouray and then on the Delta.  From Delta go west on 92 and then 133 through Carbondale to Glenwood Springs.

The lure of this area was the soothing hot springs over which the Utes, Cheyenne, and Commanches battled for years.  In 1860, the explorer, Captain Sopris became ill and was brought to these springs by the Utes to recover.  Later after the discovery of silver in Leadville, miners were brought down to these waters to bathe.

But in 1885, a wealthy miner from Aspen, Walter Devereaux, began his dream of a world class resort for the wealthy.  He completed the Hotel Colorado in 1893, inspired by 16th century Italian Architecture.  Called the "Marvel of the Age", the hotel hosted the rich and famous.  A destination for presidents, it was termed the "Little White House of the West" during Teddy Roosevelt's term.

In the 1920s, it became the playground for Chicago gangsters such as Al Capone and Diamond Jack Alterie.

Now it is the world’s largest hot springs pool heated from the healing waters called by the Utes "Yampah" (big medicine) which continue to draw tourists to this town.  But there are many other attractions as well such as tours of the Glenwood Caverns reached by riding the Mountain Tramway which takes you also to the thrill rides in Adventure Park at the top of the mountain.  Raft the Colorado River or rent bikes to ride the 16 mile trail through spectacular Glenwood Canyon.  Nearby hiking trails take you to Doc Holliday's grave or up to the falls of Hanging Lake.

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From Glenwood Springs travel west on Interstate 70 through the famous red rock cliffs of Glenwood Canyon, on over Vail Pass and by the town of Vail at the base.  Still on I70, climb to the Eisenhower Tunnel which will take you to the other side of the continental divide and Georgetown.   It is about a 120 mile trip.

The old mining town of Georgetown sits surrounded by majestic peaks and skirted by a sparkling clear lake where you can spend the day fishing.  

In 1859, silver was discovered and the town site claimed the next year.  The nearby Belmont Lode was the first important silver discovery in Colorado. A boom followed leading the Georgetown's heyday.

Rediscover the history with a ride on the Georgetown Loop Railroad and a tour of the Lebanon Silver Mine.  You will see some of the mose spectacular scenery in the state.

Stroll along the old streets to find shops and restaurants.   If you visit in winter, Keystone ski area is less than half an hour away.

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Great Hotels
Recommendations for a memorable stay in the American West

Durango
Historic Strater Hotel more about this hotel

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699 Main Ave
Durango, CO

Glenwood Springs
Historic Hotel Colorado more about this hotel

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526 Pine Street
Glenwood Springs, CO

Georgetown
Georgetown Mountain Inn more about this hotel

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1100 Rose Street
Georgetown, CO

Keystone
Skyrun Condos River Run
more about this hotel

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150 Dercum Square
Keystone, CO

 
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