Durango, Colorado

Durango, Colorado
City of Durango
Location in La Plata County and the State of Colorado
Coordinates: 37°16′31″N 107°52′48″W / 37.27528°N 107.88°W / 37.27528; -107.88Coordinates: 37°16′31″N 107°52′48″W / 37.27528°N 107.88°W / 37.27528; -107.88
Country  United States
State  State of Colorado
County La Plata County[1]
Incorporated April 27, 1881[2]
 - Type Home Rule Municipality[1]
 - Mayor Michael Rendon[3]
 - Mayor Pro Tempore Christina Rinderle[3]
 - City Manager Ron LeBlanc[4]
 - City Council Michael Rendon

Christina Thompson
Doug Lyon
Paul Broderick

Joe Colgan[3]
 - 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 (2010)
 - Total 16,887
 - Density 2,047.4/sq mi (786.6/km2)
 - Demonym Durangoan
Time zone MST (UTC-7)
 - Summer (DST) MDT (UTC-6)
ZIP codes[5] 81301-81303
Area code(s) 970
FIPS code 08-22035
GNIS feature ID 0202983
Website City of Durango
Downtown Durango, Colorado

The City of Durango is a Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat and the most populous city of La Plata County, Colorado, United States.[6] The United States Census Bureau said that the city population was 16,887 in 2010 census.



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".


Durango is located at 37°16′N 107°52′W / 37.267°N 107.867°W / 37.267; -107.867 at an elevation of 1988 metres (6512 feet). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.8 square miles (18 km2).


Durango is nestled in the Animas River Valley surrounded by the San Juan Mountains. The Animas River—El Río de las Animas—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, rock climbing, hunting, off-roading, year-round fishing, kayaking and golfing.

Durango is near five major ski areas, including Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort, located twenty-five minutes north of downtown. Located thirty-five miles west of Durango is Mesa Verde National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its Ancestral Puebloan Cliff Dwellings.

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.

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

Durango is also home to the Snowdown Festival,[7] an event which includes fireworks and a parade. The parade is the centerpiece and usually occurs the last Friday of January or the first Friday of February. Along with the nearby town of Pagosa Springs, Durango also hosts the annual Music in the Mountains summer music festival, which features performances by many of the world's finest classical musicians.

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. 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.

Transportation and business

Durango is served by U.S. Highway 160 (the Old Spanish Trail) and U.S. Highway 550. 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.

Durango has a regional shopping center which is smaller than the Wal-mart and is served by a major regional airport for southwestern Colorado—La Plata Regional Airport (actually located near Ignacio). Durango-La Plata County Airport is serviced by Lynx Aviation (Frontier Airlines), United Express/SkyWest (United Airlines), US Airways Express/Mesa Air (US Airways), and in the summer by American Eagle (American Airlines).

Durango Transit provides several bus routes that serve the community, including Fort Lewis College. 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.


  • Fort Lewis College is situated on a 500 ft mesa (bluff) overlooking downtown Durango, and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
  • Southwest Colorado Community College, a branch of Pueblo Community College, is located in the Central Business District, on Camino del Rio.
  • San Juan Basin Technical College, located outside of Cortez, Colorado, 45 miles away, offers EMT certification in Durango.


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1880 2,000
1890 2,726 36.3%
1900 3,317 21.7%
1910 4,686 41.3%
1920 4,116 −12.2%
1930 5,400 31.2%
1940 5,887 9.0%
1950 7,459 26.7%
1960 10,530 41.2%
1970 10,333 −1.9%
1980 11,649 12.7%
1990 12,430 6.7%
2000 12,922 4.0%
2010 16,887 30.7%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census[8] of 2000, 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.

Notable residents or natives

Sister cities

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

References in fiction

See also


External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

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