Check out some of the awesome locations where Mild to Wild offers trips!
The town of Durango, located in Southwest Colorado, is an eclectic blend of year-round recreation. Outdoor activities abound among the river runners in kayaks and rafts, horseback riders, skiers, hikers, fishermen, hunters and your general enjoyment seeker. Boasting Durango Mountain Resort, home to winter sports and activities as well as the summer alpine slide, hiking and biking and the Colorado Trail, which spans 500 miles to Denver and crosses seven national forests, eight mountain ranges, six wilderness areas and five rivers.
Durango is also home to several golf courses including Dalton Ranch Golf Club and The Cliffs at Tamarron, which is a par 72 master levels’ course. Durango is bordered by the San Juan National Forest, a wilderness area that encompasses 14,000 foot peaks, geological and ecological history and is the home of the historic Narrow Gauge Railroad. This vintage railway was converted from a working railroad, which hauled precious metals in the 1880’s, to a one-of-a-kind opportunity to step into the past and ride through the stunning Animas Gorge. For a more enriched train experience, the price of the ticket includes admittance to the D&SNGRR Museum and the Silverton Freight Yard Museum.
Downtown Durango offers high-end shopping, historical buildings like the Strater Hotel, and for the kids, The Children’s Museum of Durango. The museum is an active learning center bursting with the energy of its seasonal displays that always include interactive and educational elements.
Population: 16,887 residents
Elevation: 6,512 feet
Durango is a town built upon the pursuit of mineral wealth in this naturally abundant area. The Old Spanish Trail was used until the end of the 19th century as a means of transportation through the area. The first Animas City was built in the Rockwood area around 1861, and later moved to just north of 32nd Street in the current Durango. Other early communities were also established on mining wealth including Rico, Ophir and Telluride. Durango was established in 1880 as a rail head for the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad. The New York Smelting Company was also established in early Durango to process the ore. The fire of 1889 destroyed most of the downtown buildings, which were later rebuilt in stone and brick. Areas around Durango began to support agricultural and livestock related endeavors including harvesting timber and raising cattle.
The San Juan National Forest was reserved in 1905, but around this time the activity had slowed, mostly becoming an area of ranching and farming. In the 1950’s Fort Lewis College moved from Hesperus to the mesa above the city and switched from a two-year agricultural school to a four-year institution of liberal arts. Purgatory Ski Resort opened in the 1960’s and with the addition of these two elements, Durango began to experience economics fostered by tourism and continued growth.
Things To Do
Telluride Colorado lies amidst the San Juan Mountain peaks in a box canyon surrounded by towering Mountains and cascading waterfalls. This classic high mountain town is home to a world-class ski resort in the winter and a wealth of outdoor activity and history in the warmer months. Beginning in town, the San Miguel River starts as a small stream heading through town and gains strength and volume by the time it reaches Placerville, 12 miles down stream, were it becomes a popular destination for kayaking and rafting.
The twelve block long historic district tours through timeless Victorian architecture, a testament to the wealth of the mining periods. Biking trails allow access into the back country surrounding Telluride, including the 206-mile mountain bike route which is punctuated with intermittent fully equipped huts: The San Juan Hut System and Deep Creek Trail. Hiking trails, rivers, as well as the open mountain resort make Telluride an area with a wide variety of activities. Ride the 11-minute gondola ride from Telluride to Mountain Village, which edges the ski area and allows access to the surrounding mountain areas. For the history buff, the trout fishermen, the biker or the skier, Telluride offers a well rounded distinctly Colorado experience.
Population: 2,221 residents
Elevation: 8,745 feet
The first people to settle at the head of the San Miguel River in the Telluride area arrived in 1875. The town of Telluride, originally called Columbia, wasn’t officially established until 1878. The railroad reached the city in 1890, just the beginning of a lessened isolation. Mining was the economic impetus for development, of this area. Its history is not one free of violence. The local Victorian architecture is a testament to the incredible wealth amassed by the management of the mining community, this wealth did not however extend to the workers of the mines who experienced premature death from mining accidents, avalanches, and pneumonia. Strikes and union activity were prevalent in the historical formation of the area. Telluride experiences most of its economic success based upon its appeal as a destination for outdoor activity.
Things To Do
Silverton, Colorado, on the other end of the Narrow Gauge Railroad from Durango, is a picturesque yet rough wilderness outpost surrounded by 14,000 foot peaks on all sides. A mining town, Silverton was founded in 1874 on the wave of an era marked with the wealth of natural resources. Blair Street alone once hosted forty saloons. Currently, Silverton is rarely isolated for more than a single day, but in the past residents were snowed in for as long as a month at a time.
The area itself is rich in history, both of mining and the pioneering spirit of settlers who traversed Stony Pass on foot, on mules and in wagons. The community has been forged through times of boom and bust, typical of the mining areas, with the last large mine closing in the early 1990’s. The current city, with a population of only 531, is what remains of this past and the current designation of the area as a National Historic Landmark, attracting visitors from all over the country. With stunning hiking trails and alpine lakes, this city is the perfect base for your high mountain adventures.
Population: 531 residents
Elevation: 9,300 feet
The district legally opened to mining in 1874 following the development of the Brunot Treaty with the Utes. About 2,000 men from all over the world came to test their luck in the wilderness with the hope of striking it rich. By 1875, about 100 people had made their homes in the Silverton settlement, working around the mining industry. A wagon road was opened over Stony Pass in 1879 and would be followed shortly after by the railroad, which would make the transportation of minerals easier, as well as bring more people to the newly accessible Silverton.
Mining began to decline after 1912, as did the population after its initial peak. After amassing millions of dollars of wealth, the town would experience bust cycles, fostered by natural disasters like the flooding of the Sunnyside Mine in 1978. Silverton is currently a must-see stop for history and outdoor enthusiasts.
Things To Do
Camp, hike, road bike, drive the passes to Ouray or Durango, enjoy a ride on the Narrow Gauge Railroad, tour historic mining areas, Jeep Trail Tours up to Animas Forks (Colorado’s most well-preserved ghost town) or to Stony Pass, ski, snowboard and backpack.
Moab Utah, the nation’s first green power community is also the ideal base for the incredible recreation available in the surrounding area including Arches and Canyonlands National Parks and Dead Horse State Park. A funky and unique community located in the deserts of Utah, it is the home of the annual Jeep Safari as well as a summer playground of the finest quality. The city is literally surrounded by public lands reserved entirely for recreation, enjoyment and preservation.
Situated in close relation to the Colorado River, this area makes for an original mix of water and desert activities including mountain biking, hiking, backpacking, boating, whitewater rafting, and skydiving. As well as an incredible wealth of trails, be sure to explore the Moab Film Museum celebrating the best in western film making.
During this early period the valley was mostly left alone, the home of the few and the resourceful, but by the 1880’s the area became of interest to ranchers and other settlers who named the town Moab, which is a biblical name referring to an arid mountainous area east of the Dead Sea and southeast of Jerusalem. Another theory is that the word Moab comes from a Paiute word which means “mosquito water”. Historically, mining was the first major economic activity. By 1920 this Utah area had produced up to 2.4 million dollars in uranium and this was the first in a bust-boom cycle so typical of mining towns. By the 1960’s the mills closed and the mining companies would continue to cut back into the eighties.The valley where Moab can currently be found served as a gathering place for the Navajo and Ute Indians. Even before formal settling and the establishment of the actual city, the Sabguana Utes had long occupied the valley and used the nearby crossing of the Colorado River. Under the orders of Brigham Young and the leaders of the Church of Latter Day Saints, or more commonly known as the Mormon Church, 12 men set out to establish a control point on the Old Spanish Trail in southern Utah. The next year 41 more men were called to go and construct an outpost in Spanish Valley, The Elk Mountain Mission was created.
Beginning in the 1970s and continuing today, Moab is predominantly a tourist destination. With the completion of Interstate 70, the establishment of major national monuments and the river running craze reaching the west, Moab found its economic stability mostly through tourism. Visitors to Moab annually include biking enthusiasts, rafters, kayakers and general sightseers.
Things To Do
Jeep Tours, Canyonlands, Arches, Dead Horse State Park, Biking the established slick rock trails, rock-climbing, hiking, rafting, kayaking, canoeing, wildlife watching, bird watching, backpacking, skydiving.
Canyonlands & Arches National Parks
Located about thirty miles southeast of Moab, Utah, the largest national park in the state of Utah, Canyonlands National Park is open year round to the public. It is geographically and aesthetically split into three distinct sections including: The Island in the Sky, which acts as a natural observation area, located high above allowing vistas, which may extend out nearly one hundred miles in any direction; and The Needles, which encompasses tightly concentrated arches, spindly rock spires and prehistoric ruins. Lastly, the most remote part of the park is mostly made up of The Maze, an incredibly large natural maze of sandstone, perfect for the serious backpackers and campers interested in accessing the inaccessible. The entrance, located near Moab, directly accesses the Island in the Sky district. Two different visitor centers are available throughout the park, offering information on the rich natural history and ecology of this fragile and otherworldly high desert area. This area offers four-wheel driving adventure, mountain biking, hiking, camping and boating opportunities.
Arches National Park is home to the world’s highest concentration of natural stone arches, over 2,000, set against the crimson, desert background. Encircling this area is 40 miles of paved road, allowing the auto-touring visitor to experience this phenomenon in conjunction with a variety of other rock formations, including the world famous Delicate Arch. The entrance to this park is found five miles north of the town of Moab and the drive itself hosts a cross section of dramatic scenery, which has made this area a destination worldwide. Activities available include any outdoor recreation from biking, hiking, world-class rock climbing, backpacking, camping in designated areas, and horseback riding.
Things to do
Rafting: Colorado River
Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde National Park offers an entirely unique experience both naturally and historically. The park is a cross section of over 700 years of history. The archaeological sites found in this area are some of the most well preserved and striking in the country. The park spans about 52,073 acres of Federal land and was established to preserve artifacts left by the “Pre-Columbian Indians.” These artifacts and sites include the infamous cliff dwellings, which are built directly into canyon depressions, but also encompass a variety of different dwellings from different periods.
There are over 4,000 known archeological sites in Mesa Verde; excavation on most of these sites is still currently in progress. Available activities include bird watching, camping, hiking, guided tours of the park, nature walks, stargazing and wildlife viewing in addition to exploring the ruins. The entrance to the park is nine miles east of Cortez and 35 miles west of Durango in Southwestern Colorado on US Highway 160.
Things to Do
Combine a half day tour of Mesa Verde, a half day rafting trip, a half day jeep trial tour and a one-way ride on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad for the best of the Southwest!