Durango encompasses all that is the “Wild West.” Its mining and railroad history is still written everywhere in and around town. It’s therefore not surprising that Hollywood continues to film in the amazing San Juan Mountains. Durango is one of Colorado’s most popular adventure destinations, offering easy access to an abundance of outdoor activities such as hiking, swimming, mountain biking, kayaking, horseback riding or rock climbing. Downtown Durango is a Nationally Registered Historic District and here Old West meets Southwest. During free time, discover the city’s award-winning restaurants, laid-back pubs, amazing museums, art galleries and shops, or consider signing up for a zip line adrenaline rush in the San Juan Mountains. Tonight, meet fellow travelers at our welcome orientation. Then get ready for some real Wild West fun at the welcome BBQ dinner at Bar D Chuckwagon Ranch. Enjoy delicious barbecue on the grill and the famous western stage show with songs of cowboys and tales of the old west.
- Welcome orientation
- Welcome BBQ dinner and western stage show
- Optional activity:
- Zip lining in the San Juan Mountains
The Navajo Nation invites you to visit The Four Corners unique landmark. This is the only place in the United States where four states intersect at one point: Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado. Afterwards we make our way to Mesa Verde National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site offering a spectacular look into the lives of the Ancestral Pueblo people who made it their home for over 700 years, from A.D. 600 to 1300. The park protects nearly 5,000 known archaeological sites, including 600 cliff dwellings, some of the most notable and best preserved in the United States. See the 1200-year-old ancient ruins of the vanished “Anasazi” Native American culture and ancient sites revealing the fascinating culture of the Ancestral Puebloan people. Explore the park on this ranger-led expedition, and then sit in the shade of a sandstone alcove marveling at what life must have been like here so long ago.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch
- Excursion to Mesa Verde National Park, UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Four corners of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah
- Nature lunch
Board the Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge coal-fired steam train this morning for a scenic journey among 14,000-ft. snow-capped peaks along the Animas River into Silverton. Trains once carried $300 million in gold and silver, and tracks wind through some of the West’s most dramatic scenery with trestle bridges spanning red-rock canyons and climbing over the rugged Molas Pass. This route is accessible only by rail and is simply breathtaking. Enjoy free time for lunch in Silverton and explore the saloon-lined main street. Our journey continues on the Million Dollar Highway, one of Colorado’s best road trips, to Ouray. This historic town is named after Tabeguache Ute, the Indian chief who championed peace and friendship with white settlers in the mid-1800s. One of Ouray’s unique attractions is the Alchemist Museum. Join us for a visit and tour before opting for a soak in the local hot springs or taking a leisurely hike to some of the beautiful waterfalls.
- Scenic train ride on the Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge coal-fired steam train
- Town of Silverton visit
- Ouray Alchemist Museum
The Wild West journey continues on the San Juan Skyway. Stop near the Dallas Divide for a fun mountain picnic lunch before descending into the fabulous ski and resort area of Telluride. This afternoon, bikes will be available to explore the amazing trails. An easy ride takes you along the San Miguel River Trail and Idarado Legacy Trail to the breathtaking Bridal Veil Falls, then connect to the Boomerang Trail and cruise into Mountain Village. Later on, we take the Telluride/Mountain Village gondola on an 8-mile, 13-minute ride with incredible 365-degree views of the San Juan Mountains. Enjoy a cocktail at Allred’s Restaurant before returning to Telluride with time to explore the town’s nightlife.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, cocktail
- Scenic drive along San Juan Skyway from Ouray to Telluride
- Dallas Divide
- San Juan Mountains
- Telluride Valley
- Bike ride along San Miguel River Trail and Idarado Legacy Trail
- Bridal Veil Falls
- Mountain picnic lunch
- Telluride-Mountain Village gondola ride
Enjoy a free morning in Telluride to explore this mountain village’s quaint and vibrant atmosphere. Sip on a latte at one of the coffee bars or visit shops and restaurants lining the cobblestone streets or consider an optional a ride in a hot air balloon. In the late afternoon enjoy the views of the magnificent San Juan Mountains on a sunset 4-WD tour, including a Ghost Town visit and a ride down Last Dollar Road. Catch the spectacular light of sunset and listen to our guide sharing fascinating highlights of the areas mining history.
- 4WD sunset tour and ghost town visit
Continue to Grand Junction; a town built over centuries-old trading routes and one of Colorado’s most bountiful agricultural areas. The great Colorado River flows from the Rocky Mountains down through the city and into Utah. Consider a mild to wild river raft ride, with several areas on the river offering class-IV rapids. Experienced hikers may visit nearby Rattlesnake Canyon to see spectacular red-sandstone arches. This afternoon we explore one of Colorado’s finest craft distilleries. Take a peek behind the curtain —learn about the process and see how grain from the fields is turned into gin in a glass. Tour the facility, then enjoy a progressive tasting in the farmhouse. Afterwards you are invited to dinner at Taco Party, whose chefs take on contemporary Colorado cuisine in a truly unexpected way. Enjoy!
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
- Scenic drive to Grand Junction
- Distillery tour and tasting
- Southwestern Taco Party
- Optional activity:
- 1/2 day Colorado whitewater rafting trip
Today starts off with a 1-hour ride on horseback through red rock landscape and arches of the the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area with high desert views and wildlife. Afterward relax on a 1.5 hour float down the majestic Colorado River. The afternoon may find you exploring Grand Junction’s art galleries, boutiques, antique shops and a selection of restaurants. Main Street features one of the nation's largest outdoor-sculpture collections, with more than 100 pieces of art lining the sidewalks. A local brewery pub will be the venue for our farewell dinner tonight. Take selfies with your new best friends, share contact information and plan the next young alumni adventure.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
- Horseback ride
- Colorado River float
- Brewery pub farewell dinner
Pack up your souvenirs of crafts, woven goods, cowboy boots and turquoise. Your land tour ends with breakfast this morning. Fly back home with exciting memories of your Wild West Adventure.