Southwest, Colorado Attractions
The Southwest Colorado Travel Region includes the counties of Montezuma, La Plata, Archuleta, Hinsdale, San Juan, Dolores, San Miguel, Ouray, Gunnison, Delta and Montrose. Highlights of the region include Mesa Verde National Park and Black Canyon National Monument.
San Juan County
San Juan County is one of eleven counties in the Southwest Colorado travel region, with elevations ranging from 8,500 to 14,000 feet. The population of the county has been declining since 1910, particularly after the closing of the Sunnyside Mine in 1991. San Juan County now depends almost entirely on the tourism generated by the San Juan Mountains.
Address: Box 466, Silverton, CO 81433-0466, United States
The historic mining town of Silverton is located at the north end of the narrow gauge railroad that begins in Durango. Silverton is the only municipality in San Juan County. Each year in June, the town holds an arts and crafts festival on Blair Street; in July there is a Jubilee Folk Music Festival.
Mayflower Gold Mill Tour
The Mayflower Mill was in operation for 61 years and managed by Charles A. Chase, a metallurgist. The local mine employed most of the town for over 100 years. The mill's original equipment is used in demonstrations by former employees.
One Hundred Gold Mine
The One Hundred Gold Mine in Silverton includes traveling underground on the electric mine train, mining demonstrations and the opportunity to pan for silver, gold and semi-precious gemstones.
San Juan County Museum
The San Juan County Museum in Silverton is housed in the old San Juan County Jail, built in 1902. Displays include mining and railroading artifacts.
Montezuma County is located in the southwest corner of Colorado, near the Four Corners where Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Arizona meet. One of 11 counties in the Southwest Colorado travel region, Montezuma County began as a mining center, but now thrives largely on tourism.
Address: 109 West Main Street, Cortez, CO 81321-3128, United States
Mesa Verde National Park contains impressive Indian cliff dwellings and various other types of habitations.
Cortez is the largest town in Montezuma County, in the heart of southwest Colorado. As the gateway to Mesa Verde National Park, there are vast outdoor recreation opportunities. Cortez also serves as a base for exploring the Four Corners area.The Cortez Chamber of Commerce offers information on local events and area attractions, and also contains a collection of Ancestral Puebloan artifacts.
Crow Canyon Archaeological Center
Crow Canyon's Day Tour is a perfect complement to excursions at nearby archaeological attractions, including Mesa Verde National Park, the Anasazi Heritage Center, Lowry Pueblo, Hovenweep, and Aztec Ruins. This one-day archaeology adventure provides a basic understanding of ancestral Pueblo history, making visits to local museums and archaeological sites more enjoyable and rewarding, and it provides a rare opportunity to visit an ongoing archaeological investigation. Crow Canyon also offers a variety of week-long archaeology programs for teens and adults, and domestic and international travel programs focused on archaeology, art, and culture.
Address: 23390 County Road K, Cortez, CO 81321-9909, United States
Useful tips: The tour runs from May through September on Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Lunch is included. Please call for reservations.
Guides: Courses available.
Facilities: Gift shop, Restaurant or food service
Yucca House National Monument
Cortez Cultural Center
The Cortez Center is a museum and information facility about the archaeological and Native American features of the surrounding area.
Lowry Pueblo Ruins
The Lowry Pueblo Ruins are a National Historic Landmark in the northwest corner of Montezuma County. Lowry Pueblo was built around 1060 AD on top of abandoned pit houses from an earlier period, and was abandoned around 1150 AD. The ruins were excavated between 1930 and 1936 and restored in the 1960's. The pueblo consists of 40 rooms and 8 kivas.
Four Corners Monument
Four Corners Monument is a granite marker, southwest of Cortez, which marks the spot where Arizona, Utah, New Mexico and Colorado meet. The first marker was placed in 1912 and then replaced in 1992. It is the only place in the United States where four states intersect at the same point.
Dolores is located on the Dolores River near the McPhee Reservoir. As the second-largest town in Montezuma County, Dolores offers many outdoor recreational opportunities such as hiking, fishing, hunting and boating.
Anasazi Heritage Center
At Dolores, in the southwestern corner of Colorado, is the Anasazi Heritage Center, with a collection of material on the Anasazi farming culture of the 1st-13th centuries and other cultures of the Four Corners region.There is a half-mile nature trail leading to the Anasazi ruins of Dominguez and Escalante, and a view of the Four Corners area. Permanent exhibits highlight archeology, local history, and Native American cultures.
Address: 27501 Highway 184, Dolores, CO 81323-9217, United States
Opening hours: Mar 1 to Oct 31: 9am-5pm
Nov 1 to Feb 28: 10am-4pm
Nov 1 to Feb 28: 10am-4pm
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), Thanksgiving - USA (4th Thursday, Nov), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25)
Entrance fee in USD: Adult $3.00, Child 17 & under FREE
Useful tips: Admission charged from March to October.
Disability Access: Partial facilities for persons with disabilities.
Guides: Audio-visual presentations available.
Facilities: Gift shop
McPhee Reservoir is an artificial lake near Dolores. Recreational opportunities as well as a home for fish and wildlife are part of the reservoir offerings. However the primary purpose is to provide irrigation water, flood control, and hydroelectric power.
Durango Mountain Resort
North of Durango on U.S. 550 is the Purgatory Ski Area, with a base elevation of 8,793 feet, 85 trails and annual snowfall of 260 inches. Skiing, snowboarding and snow shoeing can be enjoyed while marveling at the Colorado Rocky Mountain scenery.
Mancos is an agricultural community in Montezuma County, located at the base of Mesa Verde National Park. Mancos was once home to the Weatherill family, who discovered the ruins of Mesa Verde National Park.
Mancos State Park
Mancos State Park located in southwestern Colorado is a haven for the outdoor enthusiast and traveler with year-round trout fishing and beautiful views of the San Juan Mountains. Jackson Gulch Reservoir provides opportunity for canoeing, kayaking and power boating. Ice fishing, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are popular winter activities in Mancos.
Mancos Valley Visitor Center and Pioneer Museum
The Mancos Valley Visitor Center and Pioneer Museum has exhibits on local history such as the Wetherill Family Louie L'Amour, and geography of the Mancos Valley area.
Archuleta County is one of eleven counties in the Southwest Colorado travel region. Most of the population is concentrated within the town of Pagosa Springs and its surroundings.
Address: Box 1507, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147-1507, United States
Pagosa Springs grew around Fort Lewis, established to protect against Indian attacks. It is the county seat of Archuleta County, as well as its only incorporated town. Pagosa Springs was named for the hot springs that have been famous for their healing qualities since the days of the Indians. Considered to be the world's hottest mineral springs, they are available to the public at two of the hotels.
Fred Harman Art Museum
The Fred Harman Art Museum in Pagosa Springs showcases the work of the Fred Harman, the sculptor and illustrator. He created the Red Ryder and Little Beaver comic strips.
Upper San Juan Historical Museum
The Upper San Juan Historical Museum in Pagosa Springs has a display on the early history of the town and surrounding area.
Navajo State Park
Navajo State Park in Colorado is located on the shores of Navajo Lake, a 15,000-acre reservoir that extends into New Mexico. The park is a popular boating and camping destination. The visitor center has exhibits about the lake, as well as Anasazi Indian artifacts.
Dolores County is one of eleven counties in the Southwest Colorado travel region. There are less than 2,000 people living in the county, which occupies 1,064 square miles of high mesas, narrow valleys and mountains.
Address: 409 Main Avenue, Box 608, Dove Creek, CO 81324-0608, United States
The town of Rico is the seat of Dolores County, located below Telescope Mountain at an elevation of 8,827 feet. Rico was once a busy mining town, but went into decline once the mines were closed in the 1970's.
Dove Creek is the seat of Dolores County, near the Utah border on Highway 666. An agricultural community, Dove Creek is known for its pinto beans.
Most of Hinsdale County is National Forest land, with the exception of Lake City and its surroundings. Hinsdale County is one of eleven counties in the Southwest Colorado travel region.
Address: 800 North Gunnison Avenue, Box 430, Lake City, CO 81235-0430, United States
The ghost town of Carson is a well-preserved frontier town located in the mountains near Lake City. Its claim to fame is that President McKinley was on his way there when he was shot by Leon Czolgosz on September 6, 1901.
Lake City is the only municipality in Hinsdale County, and infamous as the mountain town where Alfred Packer was tried for cannibalism in 1874. The town is located on San Cristobal Lake, the second-largest natural lake in Colorado.
Hinsdale County Museum
The Hinsdale County Museum is housed in a building that dates from 1877. It is owned by the Hinsdale County Historical Society. The historical society offers walking tours, cemetery tours and ghost tours from June through early September.
La Plata County
With over 40,000 residents, La Plata County has one of the largest populations of the eleven counties in the Southwest Colorado travel region. The main attractions are the Purgatory Ski Area and the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.
Address: 1060 East Second Avenue, Durango, CO 81301-5157, United States
Southern Ute Indian Reservation
The Southern Ute Indian Reservation is located in southwestern Colorado near the New Mexico border. There are traditional dances throughout the year, including the Bear Dance in late spring and the Sun Dance in the middle of the summer.
Address: 2 Highway 172, Ignacio, CO 81137, United States
Ignacio was incorporated in 1913 and today is the supply center for the Southern Ute Indian Reservation and surrounding ranches. The town, Ignacio, was named for a Ute chief.
Uncompahgre National Forest
San Miguel County
San Miguel County is one of eleven counties in the Southwest Colorado travel region. Its major attraction is the ski resort of Telluride.
Address: 295-A Girard Street, Durango, CO 81301-7938, United States
In the mountains of southwestern Colorado is Telluride (alt. 8,745ft/2,665m; pop. 1,400), where gold and silver were found in the 19th century. The town then acquired a luxury hotel, the Sheridan, and even an opera house. In 1889 the notorious bank robber Butch Cassidy made a haul of 30,000 dollars here. Telluride is now a popular winter sports center. Outside the town are the beautiful Bridal Veil and Bear Creek Falls.There are numerous events throughout the year, including film festivals in May and September, a chamber music festival in August, a bluegrass festival in June, a Wild West festival in July, and a blues festival in September.
Telluride Ski Resort
The Telluride Ski Resort has a base elevation of 9,082 feet, a summit elevation of 12,247 feet and 12 lifts. Telluride receives an annual snowfall of 300 inches.
Telluride Historical Museum
Telluride Historical Museum is housed within the old Miner's Hospital building, constructed in 1893. Artifacts and personal accounts of Telluride's past are presented as a means of discovering the cultural heritage of the town.
Address: 201 West Gregory Avenue, Box 1597, Telluride, CO 81435-1597, United States
Opening hours: May 28 to Sep 6: 11am-5pm; Sun: 1pm-5pm; Thu: 11am-7pm; Closed: Mon
Sep 7 to May 27: 11am-5pm; Thu: 11am-7pm; Closed: Sun, Mon
Sep 7 to May 27: 11am-5pm; Thu: 11am-7pm; Closed: Sun, Mon
Entrance fee in USD: Adult $5.00, Child 17 & under $3.00, Senior $3.00, Child 5 & under FREE
Useful tips: Closed for off-season: April 4 - May 27.
Facilities: Gift shop
Ute Mountain Indian Reservation
The Ute Mountain Indian Reservation is located south of Mesa Verde National Park in Montezuma County. It is administered from the town of Towaoc.
Address: Box 248, Towaoc, CO 81334-0248, United States
Ute Mountain Tribal Park
The Ute Mountain Tribal Park preserves ruins of the Anasazi culture on the Mancos River south of Cortez. The park is part of the Ute Mountain Ute Indian Reservation with geological land formations, as well as petroglyphs, artifacts and dwellings.
Towaoc is the headquarters of the Ute Mountain Indian Reservation is southwestern Colorado.
Montrose County is one of eleven counties in the Southwest Colorado travel region.
Address: 1519 East Main Street, Montrose, CO 81401-3807, United States
This dramatic gorge and surrounding scenery can be appreciated from the North or South Rim Drive, or any of several hiking trails.
Montrose is the gateway to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Monument, surrounded by thousands of acres of fruit orchards. Winter activities include snowmobiling, ice fishing, snow shoeing, and cross country skiing. Hiking, river rafting, horseback riding, camping, fishing, boating and golf are some of the summer opportunities.
Ute Indian Museum
The Ute Indian Museum in Montrose is located in the last home of the Ute Chief Ouray and his wife Chipeta, who is buried on the grounds. A collection featuring artifacts from the Ute tribe is on display. The grounds include the Chief Ouray Memorial Park, Chipeta's Crypt, and a native plant garden.
Address: 17253 Chipeta Road, Box 1736, Montrose, CO 81402-1736, United States
Opening hours: 9am-4pm; Closed: Sun, Mon
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25)
Entrance fee in USD: Adult $4.50, Senior over 65 $4.00, Child 16 & under $2.00, Child 5 & under FREE
Fort Eagle Tail Trading Post and Museum
The Fort Eagle Tail Trading Post and Museum is located five miles east of Montrose on U.S. 50, near the entrance to Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Monument. This is a re-creation of an 1830's fur trading post.
Montrose County Historical Museum
The Montrose County Historical Museum is housed in the old Denver and Rio Grande Train Depot. Exhibits include the settlement and history of the area, old newspapers, a tool collection and an extensive collection of farm machinery.