Get Off-The-Beaten-Path In Durango’s Animas River Valley

The Animas River Valley in Durango, Colo. Courtesy photo


DURANGO, Colo. — Visit Durango announces news from the Animas River Valley, as several local businesses share new offerings.

From reimagined farm-to-table dining and long-awaited spirits, to an extensive renovation of the historic Trimble Hot Springs and tiny-home vacation getaways, the Animas River Valley now offers more reasons to explore Durango off-the-beaten path.

Follow the picturesque San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway (Hwy 550) north toward Purgatory Ski Resort, 27-miles from downtown Durango. Along the way, abundant outdoor recreation and elevated views of the Twilight peaks, Engineer and Spud Mountains beckon travelers seeking out more remote, authentic destinations.

In addition to roadside attractions like Pinkerton Hot Springs, Baker’s Bridge and Cascade Canyon and Falls, North La Plata County now offers the following new and exciting attractions for 2020. 

Table-on-the-Farm Dining

The Animas River carves a lush, scenic valley into the towering San Juan Mountains, delivering water and nutrients for some of the richest soils in the region. Home to a plethora of fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, and other local food products, the north Animas River valley abundantly provides for Durango’s renowned culinary scene.

A pioneer of the sustainable agriculture movement, James Ranch’s long-awaited restaurant-on-the-farm concept has finally arrived. Overlooking the fields of the 400-acre ranch, James Ranch Grill serves up fresh, organic ingredients, including handcrafted burgers, gourmet cheese melts, steak sandwiches, salads, local craft beverages, and more. Located just 10 miles from downtown Durango, James Ranch raises livestock, pigs, and grows organic vegetables using strict sustainable growing practices for over 50-years.

Small Batch Honey Spirits

Due west of James Ranch, Honeyville is a third-generation beekeeping and honey-bottling family business first established in 1918. Honeyville’s Factory Store offers hand bottled specialty honeys and “everything made with honey” jams, sauces and mixers, which make great Colorado gifts. 

This summer Honey House Distillery, located at Honeyville, is bottling its first batch of Straight Bourbon Whiskey, aged in charred American Oak barrels for over four years. Straight Bourbon Whiskey is made from locally grown corn and pure Colorado water – rated as one of the highest quality water sources in the U.S. – and distilled in a custom copper still and joins Honeyville’s line of award-winning spirits made using honey.  

Durango Hot Springs & Spa

Just south of James Ranch and Honeyville is a relaxing oasis for travelers touring the North County corridor. The newly renamed Durango Hot Springs Resort & Spa will provide unparalleled amenities and services through the extensive renovation of the historic Trimble Hot Springs. Durango Hot Springs will expand from one hot pool and an Olympic swimming pool to a series of 12 ADA accessible mineral pools ranging in temperature with various soaking options and spa services. 

Phase I will be completed by mid-July with the new swimming pool, four hot springs soaking pools and a completely renovated spa. Six Japanese-style Ofuro tubs will be available on the property, filled to the individual user’s desired temperature and refilled after each use. A unique Aquagen system adds microscopic “nono-bubbles” of oxygen infused into some of the hot springs pools, creating a number of health and water quality benefits. 

Tiny-House Living on Vacation

After exploring the Animas River Valley, stay at the Nugget’s new bite-sized designer vacation rentals. Each cabin has its own private hot tub with incredible views of Engineer Mountain and the Needles, located walking distance (about 700 feet) from the Nugget Mountain Bar and 1/2 mile from Purgatory Resort. The Nugget is the place to be for après ski, hike and bike enthusiasts, featuring a full bar, gourmet food truck, incredible views and a cozy, family-friendly atmosphere. Enjoy live music every Friday and Saturday from the large patio, kick back on the lawn and relax by the gas fire pits.

Choose from the Kerouac Cabin or Hemingway’s Hideout for affordable mountain luxury and backcountry adventure at your doorstep. Inspired by the historic D-Log cabin that houses the Nugget Mountain Bar, the cabins are larger and more spacious than a traditional tiny home, custom built using sustainable building practices. Each cabin is equipped with a fully stocked, modern kitchen and amenities range from robes for the private hot tub and a vintage chair lift swing, to the latest tech and high-speed internet. Available now on Airbnb. 

Visit for travel itineraries and more inspiration. 

About Visit Durango

Nestled in southwestern Colorado’s Animas River Valley and surrounded by rugged peaks, Durango is home to some of the best outdoor, historic and cultural attractions in the state. Board the historic 1880’s D&SNG Railroad for breathtaking views and old-world atmosphere; or visit archeological wonders and ancient cave dwellings at several nearby UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Downtown Durango’s National Historic District overflows with historic hotels, award-winning restaurants, breweries, art galleries, museums, and boutiques. The rugged San Juan National Forest offers hundreds of miles of world-class mountain biking, hiking, rock climbing, and skiing, plus fishing and boating on the Gold Medal Waters of the Animas River. North of Durango, Purgatory Resort features 92 trails, five terrain parks, and 1,360 skiable acres.

Durango is easily accessible by US Hwy 550 from the north and south, US Hwy 160 from the east and west, and the Durango-La Plata County Airport. Visit to learn more and follow @visitdurango on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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