Approximately 23 miles from Blue Spruce RV Park & Cabins, is a community with a Victorian downtown filled with shops, galleries, restaurants and local breweries. Several whitewater rafting companies are headquartered here. The Henry Strater Theatre is located in the Strater Hotel where you can attend a melodrama or vaudeville show. Pamper yourself at the Trimble Hot Springs.
The Durango Mountain Ski Resort is located 25 miles north of town. Durango is the southern terminal of the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. The train is a coal-fired steam locomotive that makes a daily roundtrip between Durango and Silverton.
Durango hosts a number of music festivals. For those interested in classical music, please visit Music in the Mountains. The Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College offers year round events.
The northern terminal of the Durango-Silverton Railroad. Silverton was once a booming mining town. Today, Silverton is loaded with great places to shop, eat, hike, sight see and just enjoy being in the mountains. Located at over 9,000 feet elevation, Silverton was one of the mining hubs of the late 1800’s and many old mining structures still can be seen right in town and via four-wheel drive trips.
Located approximately 60 miles west of Durango, this National Park encompasses 80 square miles. It contains some of the world’s larger and best-preserved cliff dwellings. Cliff Palace is the largest and most famous of the Cliff dwellings. Experience the world of those early inhabitants of Mesa Verde. Ponder why people came here, and how they flourished within this challenging, high desert environment. Learn how social and religious structures developed into the ways still followed by contemporary Puebloan peoples across the Southwest. Compliment your understanding of today’s cultures with valuable insights about the past. Be sure to leave time to visit the Far View Visitor Center, which is open during the summer (early June through Labor Day Weekend) or the Chapin Mesa Museum which is open 8 am-6:30 pm during the summer and 8am-5pm during the rest of the year.
You can view the rich cultural heritage of the Southern Ute Indians. Visit the Sky-Ute Casino for a little gambling, bingo and goood food.
McPhee Reservoir, the second largest lake in Colorado offers fishing, camping and boating. The Anasazi Heritage Center is located here. It was built as a place to preserve and display the extensive collection from the archaeological sites identified during the reservoir excavation. The Dolores River is known as one of the top rivers in the nation for excellent fly-fishing!
Approximately 40 miles west of Cortez. The monument contains the remains of many-roomed pueblos, small cliff dwellings and towers. Stop at the Ranger station for directions before attempting to explore this Monument. Visit Hovenweep National Monument to learn more.
Located approximately 50 miles east of Bayfield. This community is the home of the largest natural hot springs in the United States. The water is claimed to have healing powers and comes out of the earth at 153 degrees. Visit The Springs Resort to learn more.
Come experience a region rich with the history and culture of the Wild West. Long before the French and Spanish explorers arrived, the area’s first inhabitants occupied the region in rock shelters and pithouses. For more than 1,000 years before the ancestral Pueblo and Hopi clans began chiseling stones for their cliff houses at Mesa Verde the Ancient Puebloans (300 B.C. to 800 A. D.) inhabited the Animas Valley and its environs hunting, fishing and farming corn and squash.
The descendants of the area’s first inhabitants continue to live in the southwestern corner of what is now Colorado. Once a tribe of seven loosely aligned bands, Colorado’s Ute Indians now consist of two tribes, the Southern Utes (a blend of Capote and Mouache bands) and the Ute Mountain Utes, known as the Weenuche.
In the 1990’s, having survived a century of struggle and loss of their lands and culture through treaties and broken promises, the Southern Ute’s gained control over production and extraction of the natural resources deposited under the reservation land the Tribe had been forced onto . . . and so began their success story. The Southern Ute Indian Tribe is
one of the largest energy producing entities in the Southwest and the largest employer (Indians and non-Indians) in La Plata County. The revenues from the energy production are being diversified to ensure that the Southern Ute people are provided for in perpetuity. Learn more about the Southern Ute Indian Tribe.
The Ute Mountain Ute Tribe’s economic recovery and development is based on their casino and tourism at the Ute Mountain Tribal Park. Learn more about the Learn more about the Ute Mountain Ute Indian Tribe.
Before the settlers in this country caught “gold fever”, the Spanish and French were sent over by their leaders in Europe to search for mineral treasure. They are known to have come very near to and perhaps into Vallecito in their search for precious minerals and food. The Spanish are known to have roamed much of the West in their search for treasure. The French are known to have come only as far as the Continental Divide, above Pagosa Springs and Vallecito.
A new chapter in the region began in 1860 when explorer Charles Baker found flecks of gold sparkling in a stream above what is now known as Silverton. It was the promise of gold that lured so many eager miners to the mountainous country around Vallecito. When early settlers became disillusioned after struggling in their search to find gold year after year, they decided to settle for other occupations, such as farming, ranching or perhaps working for or starting a business venture.
The Good ‘Ol Days A Ute Indian by the name of Jim Weaselskin found a source of gold somewhere up the Vallecito River and would pay for food and favors with gold nuggets. However, the first actual discovery of precious minerals near Vallecito was at Cave Basin in August of 1913. Cave Basin is located on Middle Mountain, which lies between Vallecito and the Pine River. The main mining area at Cave Basin was called Tuckerville. A five-foot vein of good copper and galena (lead ore) was found. As hard as the miners tried to keep this exciting news under cover, the secret was soon out and hordes of eager men soon followed.
What about the gold? Well, the stories of Weaselskin’s hidden stash have some substance. Many have searched for the treasure over the years. As far as we know, no one has found it – yet!