Interesting Facts About Durango

Durango, Colorado, may not be known for its dining, but the city contains more restaurants per capita than San Francisco, California. Southwestern cuisine is common in the city, but visitors can also find options for seafood, French cuisine and more.

The city's name is derived from the Basque word, "Urango," which means, "water town." This is quite appropriate because the Animas River flows through the city. The river is noted for its excellent fishing and recreational opportunities.

Durango would not have come into existence without the advent of the railroad. The city was founded in 1880 by the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad Company, which later built an important line through the area.

Interestingly, the tracks laid by the workers from the railroad company are much narrower around Durango than they are elsewhere. These so-called narrow gauge tracks are just 36 inches apart while normal rails are set 56 inches apart.

The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad was once responsible for hauling valuable mined metals from the region. These days, the railroad is used for transporting tourists throughout the area. Each year, approximately 200,000 tourists enjoy a trip on this historic train route.

Durango is home to one of the most notable bicycling events in the country. The Iron Horse Bicycle Classic was first established in 1972, and it has been held every year since then. This event is unique because it pits cyclists against a train in a race that travels from Durango to Silverton.

Durango is far from Hollywood, but that has not prevented a number of movies from being filmed in and around the city. Some of the more notable titles filmed in the region include "City Slickers," "National Lampoon's Vacation," "How the West Was Won," and "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid."

In 1889, a terrible fire damaged several blocks of buildings along Durango's Main Avenue. As a result of this tragedy, an ordinance was enacted ensuring that buildings in the city's historic downtown district were constructed using stone and brick.

Former heavyweight boxing champion Jack Dempsey participated in a bout against Andy Malloy at the city's Jarvis Suites Hotel in 1915. The fight drew a significant crowd because Dempsey was a native of the region.

The city of Durango receives an annual snowfall of approximately 71 inches, on average. However, the mountain regions surrounding the city can receive more than three times that amount. This makes the region attractive for winter sports enthusiasts.