Durango is a world away from Denver, a place where guys wearing cowboy hats may very well be cowboys. There is a rugged, self-reliant vibe in Durango, a trait that is reflected in its active community. Mountain biking, skiing, backcountry camping, summit hiking, road biking, and paddling are all readily available from Durango. There are many trails that start right in town for those looking to get a local fix for their trail run or cycling adventure.
But to get to the real good stuff, drive up into the mountains -- or take a ride on the famous Durango - Silverton narrow gauge railroad. The old train still runs and is a classic way to reach the backcountry setting for three of Colorado's most difficult 14,000 ft. peaks. There are also over a dozen 13,000 ft. mountains waiting to be climbed near Durango. Durango's Purgatory Ski Area blends in seamlessly to the remote wilderness in this corner of the state.
And perhaps most glorious of all are the backpacking and camping options. Not far from town, the high San Juan Peaks tower high over bright, turquoise lakes and immaculate alpine meadows. Wildflowers explode at the end of spring, painting the mountains from dusty brown to brilliantly green,white, red, and blue. Durango is one of the few places left in Colorado that still have an aura of the wild west lingering in town -- and in the surrounding wilderness.