Building a History of Southwest Colorado!

Comprehensive look at Southwest Colorado!

Itinerary Summary: Travel Southwest Colorado and explore how stone by stone and brick by brick the region’s architecture reflects the history and culture of the area. From the Ancestral Puebloans, the first people to build on this landscape, to the miners, settlers, and ranchers who each left their unique style and footprint, Southwest Colorado’s architecture continues to reflect its rich cultural heritage.

Total Number of Days/Nights: 6

Destinations include:
Mesa Verde National Park 
Chimney Rock Archaeological Area
Durango National Historic District 
Ouray National Historic District
Silverton National Historic Landmark District 
Telluride National Historic Landmark District
Mancos, Colorado 
Pagosa Springs Hot Springs
Montrose Historic Walking Tour 
Museum of the Mountain West
Pioneer Town 

Day One: Mesa Verde National Park. Just east of Cortez, visit the spectacular cliff dwellings and mesa-top villages in world-renowned Mesa Verde National Park, a World Heritage Site. Ranger-guided, self-guided, and ½ day guided tours are available in the park. Marvel at the incredible cliff dwellings, built without modern tools, beasts of burden or the wheel.

Day Two:  Mancos, Chimney Rock, Pagosa Springs.
Travel from Mesa Verde to Mancos, founded in 1894, and enjoy the distinctive Victorian architecture of this small western town.  Then continue to Chimney Rock Archaeological area, where from mid-May to the end of September, you may take a trip back in time. This site, once home to the ancestors of the modern Pueblo Indians, is of great spiritual significance today.  Ponder whether the structures at the site were inspired by the “lunar standstill” phenomenon that occurs only every 18 years.  Travel on to Pagosa Springs and enjoy the hot springs for which Pagosa is famous.Strater Hotel

Day Three: Durango. Travel from Pagosa Springs to Durango, where many of the original buildings constructed by Durango's pioneers are still standing and in use today. Downtown Durango is a National Register Historic District and offers a true sense of the heart and soul of the Durango community.  Pick up a tour brochure at the historic Animas Museum (the 1904 Animas City School) and enjoy a self-guided tour of the Third Avenue Historic District and its many historic homes. 

Day Four: Silverton, Ouray. Explore Silverton’s National Historic Landmark District, including a stop at the San Juan County Historical Society Museum, and a walk along Historic Blair Street, where during the mining days, the “ladies of the evening” entertained the miners. Continue along the San Juan Skyway to Ouray, a real treasure for a Victorian architecture buff.  Stroll the Ouray National Register Historic District. Off Main Street discover beautifully restored homes of the Queen Anne, Edwardian, Italiante, and Dutch Colonial Revival styles, as well as several historic churches. 

Day Five: Telluride. The historic architectural significance of Telluride encompasses the boom and bust mining era of the late 1800s and early 1900s.  Beautifully restored Victorian and mining era buildings are preserved within the National Historic Landmark District. Both published walking tours and guided tours are available and interpretive plaques are in place to be utilized by visitors.

Day Six: Montrose, Delta County. Travel to Montrose and enjoy their Downtown Historic Walking Tour.  Twelve interpretive signs within a five-block area of downtown, tell the early history of the buildings and the Uncompahgre Valley.  Visit The Museum of the Mountain West and experience how life was circa 1840-1940.  For the final building block in our architectural tour of Southwest Colorado, visit  Pioneer Town in Cedaredge, centered around three 19th-century wooden silos.