getting here and around Colorado
Travel Around Colorado ...Savor the JourneyWhen traveling around Colorado or just trying to get here. It can be an out-of-the-way experience, but in Colorado, the journey is often the best part of the trip. As Will Rogers said in the last century, “Durango is out of the way and glad of it.” Travel options have improved dramatically since then, and it’s never been easier to get to Durango by air or road. But if you have the luxury of time, plan extra days in your itinerary to enjoy the journey! You’ll find so much beauty you’ll want to stop to take it all in.
Getting Around Colorado by AirThe Durango-La Plata County Airport (DRO) is the premier airport in SW Colorado and the Four Corners region. Located just 14 miles from historic downtown Durango, DRO is the perfect starting point for a scenic trip on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, a visit to Mesa Verde National Park, or a holiday at the Purgatory Ski Area. Why spend your valuable time driving around Colorado for hours only to arrive exhausted? Skip the drive and fly Durango. Step off the plane and start your adventure! American Airlines offers daily nonstop service from both Dallas-Fort Worth and Phoenix. Each route is flown multiple times per day, and both destinations boast hundreds of connections worldwide. Seasonal nonstop service from Los Angeles begins on June 3rd and is operated each Saturday through August 19th. United Airlines offers daily nonstop service from Denver. This route is flown up to seven times daily during peak summer periods. Denver International Airport is the sixth busiest airport in the United States and offers bountiful connections to all corners of the world. DRO offers five rental car agencies, numerous ground transportation companies, courtesy hotel shuttles, restaurant/bar locations, and free Wi-Fi. Airline check-in lines are short, airport staff are personable and friendly, and the TSA line is always manageable. Flying Durango is the simple and smart choice when visiting SW Colorado.
Getting Around Colorado by Road
From Denver: Depending on time and interests, there are several routes you can take!
- The fastest route is 385 miles and takes you down I-25 to Walsenburg CO and then US Highway 160 west to Durango. There’s plenty to see along the way including Great Sand Dunes NP. You’ll go over 9,413’ La Veta Pass and cross the Continental Divide on 10,857’ Wolf Creek Pass.
- Stay off the interstate highway and enjoy 337 miles at a slower pace and see the towns and villages like South Park, Villa Grove, and Saguache that US Hwy 285 takes you through instead of around! The highway between Denver and Como follows the route of the old Denver, South Park & Pacific RR, dismantled by 1940. Drive over Poncha and Kenosha Passes and along the Arkansas River Valley before intersecting with US Highway 160 that takes you the rest of the way to Durango.
- Consider the 417-mile route and take I-70 west through canyons and tunnels to Grand Junction. From there you head south to Durango on US Highway 50/550 going through the picturesque towns of Ridgway, Ouray, and Silverton and over the famed 11,018’ Red Mountain Pass.
From Phoenix: Travel just under 500 road miles over much of the Colorado Plateau, through vibrant high deserts and forests and a wonderful mix of Western cultures that remain true to the culture and tradition of the West.
- The most direct route uses I-17 to get you to Flagstaff and then US Highway 89, which meets US Highway 160. Lands governed by the Navajo and Hopi tribes feature breathtaking geology. Consider taking a day to visit nearby Monument Valley, Canyon de Chelly, and the badlands of the Painted Desert. Stop at the Four Corners monument, where you can stand in four states at once and take time to visit the cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde NP!
- By taking a southern route, you’ll go east onto I-40 at Flagstaff and into New Mexico. On the way, be sure to visit The Petrified Forest NP in AZ. Old Route 66 parallels I-40, and you may want to travel it occasionally for a bit of nostalgia! From Gallup, NM, you’ll travel on rural highways that take you through tribal communities such as Yah-ta-hey, Tohatchi, and Shiprock.
From Albuquerque: Our closest large city neighbor is the multicultural city of Albuquerque, NM. Whether you drive the faster but more mileage route through Aztec, NM or the fewer miles but longer drive through Chama NM, it’s a ride you’ll be sure to remember.
- The Chama route is a 277-mile drive starting on I-25, and you’ll not want to miss stopping in the capital city of Santa Fe, rich in history and beauty. Indian Pueblos, hot springs, and Georgia O’Keefe’s Ghost Ranch are also found along the way. Train buffs will want to stop in Chama to see the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, part of the original Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad which linked to the D&SNGRR line until the late 1960s.
- If you want to go through Aztec, NM, you’ll find driving 315 miles over well-maintained two and 4-lane highways goes quickly as you journey over the Continental Divide and enjoy high mountain desert views.