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Ultimate Day for the Old Wild West Lover

The best way to spend a day enjoying Durango's Wild West historic roots.

Durango Itinerary for the Wild West Lover

Tour Guide Al Harper

Durango has a colorful mining history, from cowboys and gold to shootouts and speakeasies. We spoke with notable locals, like Al Harper of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, to find out how an Old Wild West lover could spend their perfect day in the Colorado city. If you’re not afraid of a little kitsch, or a boozey history lesson, this is the perfect dawn-to-dusk guide for you.

Breakfast at Durango Diner

Recommended by: Tom Knopick

Tom Knopick of Duranglers recommends kicking off the day with an old-school miner’s breakfast at the Durango Diner downtown. “I love to go to the Durango Diner, have a great breakfast. Maybe order some blueberry pancakes and a side of sausage, have some coffee, and read the paper.”

Walk & Shop on Main Avenue

Recommended by: Jenna Black, Kirk Komick, Elizabeth Kinahan, Alissa Wolf, Jim Carver, Marcos Wisner

Durango’s main downtown area has maintained much of its original architecture, due to insistence from locals. Jenna Black of The Bookcase & Barber recommends walking the streets to take in the historic district against the backdrop of the San Juan Mountains. “I'd just enjoy walking Main Avenue and checking out the eclectic shops and restaurants. I think something that's special here: There's always something new coming up, and something new opens up on Main Avenue every year or so.”

Old West Stage Coach

Recommended by: Al Harper

Particularly if you have kids (or just enjoy nostalgia), Al Harper recommends a downtown stagecoach ride once you’re done with breakfast and shopping. “You can even get in an Old West carriage and stagecoach and ride around town. And that's right here on Main Avenue. So the Old West is alive and well in Durango, Colorado.”

Durango Ghost Towns

Recommended by: Al Harper

After your stagecoach ride, Harper suggests going a little out of your way to see some of the many nearby ghost towns, each one with a unique flavor reminiscent of Durango’s old mining days. “Everybody likes to see the old ghost towns,” he says. “You can take a great Jeep tour up into the mountains and visit the ghost towns, where there’s still the old buildings standing and the old mines. That’s very fascinating.”

Lunch at The Palace Restaurant

Recommended by: Alex Mickel

For Alex Mickel of Mild to Wild Rafting, there’s no better atmosphere for a meal in Durango than the historic Palace Restaurant. He says, “I’d have lunch next to the train depot at The Palace. It’s a fantastic local restaurant and an iconic Durango place because it sits right next to the train. It really has an idyllic, old western feel. You’d think you were sitting there in 1895.”

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Museum

Recommended by: Al Harper, Bill Carver, Rod Barker

Bill Carver of Carver Brewing Company recommends an afternoon soaking up Colorado’s transportation and railroad history at the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Museum, across the street from the train depot: “The railroad has an incredible free museum and historic station downtown. It’s a great way to get you out of the sun and spend a fun afternoon.”

Old Hundred Gold Mine

Recommended by: Al Harper

Nowhere near Durango offers a more authentic Old West experience than the Old Hundred Gold Mine, says Harper. “You've got to go to the Old Hundred Gold Mine, and go a quarter of a mile under a mountain, and see what mining was all about. That's what what brought us all to this region. That history.”

True West Rodeo

Recommended by: Al Harper

What would an Old West experience be without a rodeo--and some cowboys? Harper recommends the True West Rodeo after your day of exploring and shopping. “Every Wednesday night, you can go to the rodeo. And what's really cool is that it's a local rodeo, with lots of local talent from the ranches all around the area. And that's just the epitome of the Old West.”

El Moro Tavern

Recommended by:Sage Anderson, Kami Swingle, Kris Oyler, Jenna Black, Marcos Wisner, Katie Burford, Sean Clark

For dinner, the El Moro Tavern offers a quintessential Durango experience, with a  retrofuturistic steampunk aesthetic against the backdrop of an old saloon. Sage Anderson shares, “El Moro is one of my favorite spots in Durango for dinner.”

Diamond Belle Saloon

Recommended by: Dave Thibodeau

Post-dinner drinks in true Old West style? Thibodeau says there’s nothing better than the Diamond Belle Saloon. “At the Diamond Belle Saloon in the Strater Hotel, which is one of the hotels on the Historic Register, they have Honky Tonk all summer long. So they've got a honky-tonk piano player in an Old West style. Nothing has changed in a hundred years in that place. You'd be remiss if you didn't actually make it into the Diamond Belle Saloon.”

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