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Durango, Colorado

City of Durango, Colorado
Home Rule Municipality
Downtown Durango, Colorado
Downtown Durango, Colorado
Motto: "Open Spaces and Familiar Faces"
Location in La Plata County and the State of Colorado
Location in La Plata County and the State of Colorado
City of Durango, Colorado is located in USA
City of Durango, Colorado
Location in the United States
Coordinates: [1]
Country  United States
State  Colorado
County La Plata County[2]
Incorporated April 27, 1881[3]
 • Type Home Rule Municipality[2]
 • Mayor Sweetie Marbury[4]
 • Mayor Pro Tempore Dean Brookie[4]
 • City Manager Ron LeBlanc[5]
 • City Council

Sweetie Marbury
Christina Rinderle
Dean Brookie
Kieth Brant

Dick White[4]
 • Total 6.8 sq mi (17.7 km2)
 • Land 6.8 sq mi (17.6 km2)
 • Water 0 sq mi (0.1 km2)
Elevation 6,512 ft (1,988 m)
Population ([6] 2013)
 • Total 17,557
 • Density 2,047.4/sq mi (786.6/km2)
 • Demonym


Durangotan (informal) Durangatang (informal)
Time zone MST (UTC-7)
 • Summer (DST) MDT (UTC-6)
ZIP codes[7] 81301-81303
Area code(s) 970
INCITS place code 0822035
GNIS feature ID 0202983
Website City of Durango

The City of Durango is the Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat and the most populous municipality of La Plata County, Colorado, United States.[8] The United States Census Bureau reported a population of 16,887 in the 2010 census.


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
    • Climate 2.1
  • Demography 3
  • Arts and Culture 4
    • Attractions 4.1
      • Animas River Valley 4.1.1
      • Durango Mountain Resort 4.1.2
      • Durango Ragtime & Early Jazz Festival 4.1.3
      • Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad 4.1.4
      • Mountain Bike World Championships 4.1.5
      • Snowdown Festival 4.1.6
      • Main Avenue 4.1.7
  • Media 5
  • Infrastructure 6
    • Transportation 6.1
    • Business 6.2
  • Colleges 7
  • Notable people 8
  • Sister cities 9
  • References in television and film 10
  • See also 11
  • References 12
  • External links 13


The town was organized in September 1881 by the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad (D&RG) to serve the San Juan mining district. The D&RG chose a site south of Animas City for its depot after Animas City refused to pay a dowry to the D&RG. The city is named after Durango, Mexico, which was named after Durango, Spain. The word Durango originates from the Basque word "urango" meaning "water town".

Area archaeological sites on the State and National historical registers include:


Durango is located at at an elevation of 6,512 ft (1,988 m). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.8 square miles (18 km2).


According to the Köppen climate classification system, Durango has a warm-summer, humid continental climate (Dfb). The average annual precipitation is 19.33 in (491 mm).[9] Its hardiness zone is 5b.[10]

Durango (1971-2000 normals)
Climate chart ()
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
Source: [9]


As of the 2000 census,[13] there were 13,922 people, 5,492 households, and 2,603 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,052.4 people per square mile (792.8/km²). There were 5,819 housing units at an average density of 857.8 per square mile (331.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 86.84% White, .5% African American, 5.51% Native American, 0.74% Asian, 0.11% Pacific Islander, 4.12% from other races, and 2.17% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.31% of the population.

There were 5,492 households out of which 22.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.2% were married couples living together, 9.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 52.6% were non-families. 31.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.83.

In the city, 16.6% of residents are under the age of 18, 26.1% from 18 to 24, 27.2% from 25 to 44, 19.4% from 45 to 64, and 10.7% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 29 years. For every 100 females there are 104.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 103.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $34,892, and the median income for a family is $50,814. Males have a median income of $31,812 versus $25,022 for females. The per capita income for the city is $19,352. 17.2% of the population and 7.3% of families live below the poverty line. 11.2% of those younger than 18 and 8.9% of those 65 and older live below the poverty line.

Arts and Culture


Animas River Valley

Durango is nestled in the Animas River Valley surrounded by the San Juan Mountains. The Animas RiverEl Río de las Animas (River of Souls)—runs through downtown and boasts gold medal fly fishing waters, and is popular for whitewater rafting, kayaking and canoeing. Durango is also popular for outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, road biking, backpacking, slacklining, rock climbing, hunting, off-roading, year-round fishing, and golfing.

Durango Mountain Resort

Durango is near five major ski areas, including Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort, located twenty-five minutes north of downtown. The city is located thirty-five miles west of Mesa Verde National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site best known for its Ancestral Puebloans cliff dwellings.

Durango Ragtime & Early Jazz Festival

The annual Durango Ragtime & Early Jazz Festival features noted musicians from around the country. It is held in the Strater Hotel, a historic Victorian hotel in Durango.

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

Durango is most known for the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, a heritage railway, which travels from Durango to the historic mining town of Silverton, Colorado on steam-powered trains with rolling stock dating back to the 1920s and before.

Mountain Bike World Championships

Durango hosted the first-ever Mountain Bike World Championships in 1990.

Snowdown Festival

Durango is home to the Snowdown Festival,[14] an event that has a new original theme each year, and includes a single firework to start off the ever popular light parade. The parade is the centerpiece and usually occurs the last Friday of January or the first Friday of February. Many local businesses hold competitions throughout the week, including a beard growing contest, joke off, hot wing eating contest, beer plunge, outhouse stuffing and many others.

Main Avenue

The Strater Hotel in 2010

Main Avenue cuts through Downtown Durango, home to clothing boutiques, restaurants, newsstands, tourist and gift shops, a mall, bars, lounges and other businesses. Many buildings downtown are several stories high and include apartments in the upper levels. Durango's two oldest hotels, The General Palmer and The Strater Hotel, are both at the South end of Main Avenue, one and two blocks away from the train station, respectively. It is also home to many restaurants. Durango actually has more restaurants per capita than Denver. Many serve specialty foods including Mexican, Italian, French, Thai and Japanese and others serve American favorites. Main Avenue is walked by thousands of tourists each week, making it the most popular shopping and relaxing tourist destination in Durango.


Durango has a number of media outlets, including The Durango Herald, 99x Durango, XRock 105.3, and many others.



DRGW steam locomotive on the Durango turntable, 1965.

Durango is served by U.S. Highway 160 (the Old Spanish Trail), running east-west and U.S. Highway 550, running to the north and south. Part of U.S. 550 offers high-speed access (primarily a 4-lane, divided highway) to Albuquerque, New Mexico. North of Durango, 550 is nicknamed the Million Dollar Highway, and is part of the scenic San Juan Skyway.

Durango is served by a major regional airport for southwestern Colorado — Durango-La Plata Regional Airport (actually located near Ignacio). Durango-La Plata County Airport (IATA code: DRO) is serviced seasonally by Frontier Airlines, and serviced year-round by regional carriers SkyWest Airlines (United Express), Republic Airways (United Express), Expressjet Airlines (United Express), SkyWest Airlines (US Airways Express), and American Eagle (Envoy Air).

As of 2014, regional connecting hubs to DRO include Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), and Denver International Airport (DEN).

Durango Transit provides several loop bus routes that serve the community, including Fort Lewis College. Normal hours of operation are M-F from 6:30 am to 6:30 pm. Ignacio Road Runner provides bus service to the nearby towns of Ignacio and Bayfield with four trips daily on weekdays and one on Saturdays. Both services share the new Durango Transit Center (opened August 2010) as a hub.

Greyhound Bus Lines formerly served Durango, but following budget cuts the service was discontinued. As of 15 July 2014, Road Runner Transit (a service of Southern Ute Community Action Programs) has restored daily bus service between Grand Junction and Durango.[15]

Durango is served by the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.


Durango has a regional shopping center (Durango Mall) as well as a Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Pier 1 Imports, Office Depot, Bed Bath & Beyond, TJ Maxx, Sports Authority and Big 5 Sporting Goods store.


Notable people

Sister cities

Durango has two sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International:

References in television and film

See also


  1. ^ "2014 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Places".  
  2. ^ a b "Active Colorado Municipalities".  
  3. ^ "Colorado Municipal Incorporations".  
  4. ^ a b c "Current City Council". City of Durango. 
  5. ^ "Current City Council". City of Durango. 
  6. ^ U.S. Census Bureau
  7. ^ "ZIP Code Lookup" ( 
  8. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  9. ^ a b Western Regional Climate Center: NCDC 1971-2000 Monthly Normals for Durango
  10. ^ PlantMaps: Durango hardiness zone
  11. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  13. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  14. ^ Snowdown
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Mrs. Romney and the Outlaws".  
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ (1991) - Filming locationsCity SlickersIMDB:
  21. ^ Durango KidsIMDB: , motion picture.
  22. ^

External links

  • City of Durango website
  • Durango Ragtime and Early Jazz Festival website
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