Southern Ute Tribes & Southwest Colorado History
Learn about Ute Pottery, the Black Canyon and the heritage and history of unique Southwest Colorado.
"Pagosah" is a Ute Indian name given to the hot mineral springs renowned for their healing qualities. Pagosa Springs boasts relaxing hot mineral baths and swimming pool are open all year. San Juan National Forest and spectacular Weminuche and South San Juan Wilderness areas offer untold adventure opportunities. Visit the San Juan Historic Museum, Fred Hartman Art Museum, Rocky Mountain Wildlife Park, and the Chimney Rock Indian Ruins.
Rivers, mountains, valleys, orchards, vineyards and more. It's Delta County - an adventurous, undiscovered getaway offering golf, Gold Medal fishing, hiking and three Scenic Byways. Surrounded by national forests and wilderness areas. Visit our 4 museums, Ft. Uncompahgre History Museum, Pioneer Town, Delta Historical Museum and the new Hotchkiss Crawford Museum. Tour the Grand Mesa National Scenic Byway the West Elk Scenic Byway or a side trip on the Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Byway. Stop by an artist's studio, antique store, winery or farm dinner for a sampling of our culture.
Once a frontier mining town, established in 1881, Durango is set on the Animas River in the afternoon shadows of the San Juan Mountains. Here, at the edge of a great desert mesa, warm breezes meet the cool lush forests of the mountains that frame the community with spectacular scenery. In this mixture of fantastic landscapes, the fun begins. Go from sage and sandstone to the high alpine San Juan National Forest, where 13,000 foot peaks, pine carpeted hillsides and the pristine Animas River create a wilderness playground. In Durango, each season delivers its own kind of fun. There are events, festivals, theater, rodeo, chuckwagon dinners, and simple pleasures like strolling the sidewalks.
The Cortez, Dolores and Mancos area was once the heart of the ancestral Pueblo (Anasazi) civilization. Step back in time at archaeological sites in Mesa Verde National Park, Hovenweep, and Ute Mountain Tribal Park. Visit the Anasazi Heritage Center, tour a working archaeological site, and enjoy Indian dances and cultural programs. Enjoy the foods and arts of the southwest.
Montrose is home of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, offering unforgettable scenery and year-round opportunities to view wildlife. National Forest lands, scenic and historic byways are easily accessible. Museums include the Ute Indian Museum, dedicated entirely to the Ute culture, and the Montrose Historical Museum. Montrose features a great downtown historic walking tour to showcase the history as you shop and dine.
Remarkably, two-thirds of Ouray's original Victorian structures, both private and commercial, are still occupied, and have been lovingly restored in order to preserve their turn-of-the-century charm.
A hundred years ago, if you were looking out over Ouray, you would see a larger, bustling town and fewer trees. Then the population was about 2,200, now it’s half that. The need for wood for mine timbers, lumber and fire wood resulted in most trees being cut. With all the wood and coal fires, the air wasn’t as clean. Mines and mills discharged into the river, negatively impacting the river. With sounds of stamp mills, steam trains, burros, horses, blasting and even the occasional gun fight, Ouray was a noisy place. Ouray is one of the few areas whose ecology is better today than it was 100 years ago. The Smithsonian has called The Ouray Museum “the best little museum in the west.” You can also take a self-guided Historic Walking Tour of Ouray.
By historic standards, Telluride is a fairly modern town. The first white pioneers settled on the Valley Floor in 1876, west of the present town’s site. Once gold was discovered, the boom was on. In a short span of twenty years, the town grew from a hodgepodge of cabins and shacks to rows of elegant Victorians and stately brick buildings.
Main street businesses were soon decorated with elaborate facades, many of which remain today. Due to its important contributions to early mining, Telluride was designated as a National Historic Landmark District in 1964. Any new building or remodel plans must be reviewed and approved before construction begins. The buildings on this self guided tour have withstood the passage of time.