Durango, population approximately 17,000, is a favorite destination for a wide variety of outdoor enthusiasts, including cyclists, rock climbers, kayakers, white river rafters, skiers, horseback riders, zip-liners and just about anything else that can be enjoyed in scenic, mountainous terrain. Situated in the San Juan Mountains, the largest range in the Rockies, Durango is a genuine, old western town where a river, the Animas, truly runs through it.
Sizeable trout can be fished from the Animas, a tributary of the San Juan River, right from pedestrian footbridges in the heart of town. A short hour’s drive south from Durango is the San Juan River, a highly productive tailwater that attracts anglers from around the globe. A little farther west, about an hour ½ drive, is the challenging Delores River, and for those willing to drive a little over two hours, you can fish the alluring upper Rio Grande.
Ancestral home to early Native Americans, the surrounding area is filled with cliff dwelling archaeological sites, a perfect activity for anyone traveling with you not interested in fishing. Durango came to life in the late 1880’s with the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad expansion, built to move travelers, miners and tons of ore from nearby mines. Today the town is home to the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway Museum that offers a 9-hour railroad tour of the area and is a major tourist attraction.
Located near the San Juan National Forest, Durango is surrounded by high mountains and lush greenery. To the northeast is the Rio Grande National Forest while the Lizard Head, South San Juan and Weminuche Wilderness Areas are also close by. Add Mesa Verde National Park, Hovenweep National Monument and the Ute Tribal Park to the list of things to see and do and it’s easy to see why Durango is such a popular place to fish and explore.
There are many options for getting to Durango, including:
- Fly to Denver International Airport and drive for approximately 6 hours
- Fly to Grand Junction Regional Airport and drive for approximately 3 ½ hours
- Fly to Four Corners Regional Airport (Farmington, NM) and drive for 1 hour
- Fly to Albuquerque International Sunport (NM) and drive for about 4 hours