I have lived in Colorado since 1998 and hate to admit that I had never visited Durango, Colorado until my children were on fall break a couple months ago. Durango is a small city in southwestern Colorado, near the New Mexico border. Our fall break was full of firsts…it was the first time any of us had stayed at a KOA. I had seen the bright yellow signs before, but never knew what they were all about.
Durango is a six-hour drive from our home and a KOA campground was the perfect retreat after a long day on the road. The Durango KOA is located at an elevation of 7,000 feet atop a mesa with a panoramic view of the jagged San Juan Mountains.
Depending on the season the KOA in Durango offers pancakes and waffles every morning and a dessert bar with sundaes, root beer floats, and fresh baked pies. They also offer nightly movies, weekly duck races, mini golf, and a heated pool and kids’ activities. KOAs are like a summer camp for the entire family! Seriously, why haven’t we stayed in one before?
We stayed in a deluxe cabin, which accommodates up to six people and fit the four of us very comfortably. Our cabin had a kitchen, which was perfect for the apple-cinnamon oatmeal I packed for breakfast. If you stay at the KOA in Durango please say hi to Carol for me! We look forward to visiting over the summer and picking fresh herbs and veggies from her garden.
There is so much to see and do in Durango, but we only had a couple of days there and decided to visit the National Park and go horseback riding.
We visited Mesa Verde National Park and hiked a 2-plus mile trail and went on a ranger-guided tour to learn about Long House, which was one of the cliff dwellings of the Ancestral Pueblo people. It was so incredible to learn how and where they lived over 800 years ago.
Long House, the largest cliff dwellings at Wetherill Mesa, had about 150 rooms, 21 kivas, and a large plaze or great kiva.
Did you know that Mesa Verde is the only manmade national park?
We also went on a beautiful and scenic 2-hour horseback ride with Rimrock Outfitters. The guided horseback rides are near Mancos, between Durango and Mesa Verde National Park. It was an authentic cowboy experience as we rode horses and enjoyed the magnificent autumn scenery of southern Colorado’s La Plata Mountains.
Our drive back home was long but quite picturesque. I was feeling dizzy driving through so many winding mountain passes on our scenic drive from Durango to Telluride and then home. If you want to see the Rockies all in one day this Colorado road trip via US-285 is pretty darn spectacular, if you don’t mind a road flanked by flowing streams, sheer cliffs, and towering mountains. Thankfully we had beautiful weather, because I’d never attempt that road trip in the winter.
The next time you are planning a road trip, consider reserving a KOA cabin. They are located near the highways and byways of North America and deliver convenience to travelers and campers – just be sure to pack linens and sleeping bags.
Special thanks to KOA and Toyota/Lexus for the RX350 loan.