Southwest Colorado: Places to Explore


  • Cortez

    The northern escarpment of Mesa Verde to the south and the volcanic blisters of La Plata Mountains to the west dominate the views around sprawling Cortez. With its Days Inns, Dairy Queens, and Best Westerns... Read more

  • Creede

    Creede, a flash-in-the-pan silver town, was known in its heyday as Colorado’s rowdiest mining camp. When silver was discovered here in 1889, hotels, saloons, banks, and brothels opened virtually overnight... Read more

  • Crested Butte

    Like Aspen, the town of Crested Butte was once a small mining village (albeit for coal, not silver). The Victorian gingerbread-trim houses remain, many of them now painted in whimsical shades of hot pink... Read more

  • Delta County

    Colorful murals painted by local artists line the streets of Delta. The town is a good jumping-off point for visiting Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and the nearby farming and ranching communities... Read more

  • Dolores

    On the bank of the Dolores River, just downstream from the McPhee Reservoir, the tiny town of Dolores is midway between Durango and Telluride on State Highway 145. It attracts visitors with its spectacular... Read more

  • Durango

    Wisecracking Will Rogers had this to say about Durango: "It's out of the way and glad of it." His statement is a bit unfair, considering that as a railroad town Durango has always been a cultural crossroads... Read more

  • Gunnison

    At the confluence of the Gunnison River and Tomichi Creek, Gunnison is an old mining and ranching community and college town. It's been adopted by nature lovers because of the excellent outdoor activities... Read more

  • Lake City

    Lake City—with its collection of lacy gingerbread-trim houses and other Victorian buildings—has one of the largest National Historic Districts in Colorado. Lake City is a quaint little town and a point... Read more

  • Montrose

    The self-described "Home of the Black Canyon" sits amid glorious surroundings, but it’s otherwise a sleepy little town with a small historic center and a collection of truck stops, strip malls, and big-box... Read more

  • Ouray

    The town of Ouray (pronounced you-ray) is nestled in a narrow, steep-walled canyon in the shadow of the San Juan Mountains. It was named for the great Southern Ute chief Ouray, labeled a visionary by the... Read more

  • Ridgway

    The 19th-century railroad town of Ridgway has been the setting for some classic Westerns, including True Grit (the original John Wayne version) and How the West Was Won. Though you’d never know it from... Read more

  • Silverton

    Glorious peaks surround Silverton, an old mining community. The town reputedly got its name when a miner exclaimed, "We ain’t got much gold but we got silver by the ton!" Silverton is the county seat... Read more

  • Telluride

    Tucked away between the azure sky and the gunmetal mountains is Telluride, the colorful mining town–turned–ski resort famous for its celebrity visitors (Oprah Winfrey, Tom Cruise, and Oliver Stone spend... Read more