Every now and then, you visit a place that seems to have it all: Jaw-droppingly gorgeous surroundings, charming city streets, a fun vibe, and uniquely entertaining activities.
Durango, Colorado is just that kind of town. At a population of only about 17,000, it’s not a large city, but it IS big in so many other ways. Take the San Juan Mountains. The rugged peaks rise all around, making for stunning views in virtually every direction.
And the downtown, which lies at the base of the mountains, is bursting with history. Countless old buildings have been preserved and re-purposed as cool bars, restaurants and shops.
Then there’s the “river runs through it” thing. The lovely Animas River really is the heart of Durango. The rush of its chilly blue-green waters can be heard and seen from patios, trails, and city sidewalks all over town.
And who could forget the feature that is perhaps Durango’s main claim to fame – the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad? With its multiple daily trips to the mountain town of Silverton, the train is ubiquitous in Durango. Its whistle and smoky-steam plume are true symbols of the region.
But more on the train later (See related blog).
On my recent trip to southwestern Colorado, I also had another objective: To see Durango from river level. So, for the introductory blog on my “A Hike and a Bite” series, I give you the Animas River Trail.
What can I say? I love trails. It doesn’t matter if they’re rough single-track passages through the mountains or wide pathways in the prairie, I can’t seem to resist a scenic recreational route.
And Durango makes it easy. The Animas River Trail is about nine miles of mostly concrete path that hugs the winding route of river. It’s never hard to find, and because the route is mostly flat, it makes for a leisurely walk.