5 Southwest Colorado Destinations That Are Worth the Drive
From the northern border to the southern border of Colorado is about an 8-hour drive and the drive is no more than 12 hours from corner to corner of our state.
Lucky for me I grew up in a super cool part of Southwest Colorado, specifically the 4 Corners area. This area borders New Mexico. The people, landscape, and air are different here.
Here I share a few of the Southwest Colorado destinations I think are well worth your drive. If you want to visit all 5 I have listed, plan a long weekend as they are very close to each other.
The 4 Corners Monument
The shape of our state is cool. The Southwest part of Colorado joins corners with Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico to create the only 4 corners to touch in the United States. So in a way similar to playing Twister you can literally be in 4 states at once.
Mesa Verde National Park
Driving for a little over 7 hours will take you back in time. Mesa Verde is a National Park where for over 700 years there were thriving communities built among the cliffs and mesas by the Ancestral Pueblo people. The heritage of 26 tribes is found here. As a kid, we would take school field trips to Mesa Verde. The area holds a very special place in my respect for the people here before us. There is just nothing like this place to give you perspective. Side note, if you're into critters. There are over 1000 species that live at Mesa Verde including several that can't be found anywhere else on earth.
Navajo State Park/Lake Navajo
This water is different. It feels earthier. I spent endless summer days at this lake. When I think of swimming, it's here that I dream of. My friends and I used to drive our parents crazy playing Alanis Morissette on the boat while we were sunning. Camping at the many coves of this lake is the backdrop for lots and lots of memories. This lake is only partially in Colorado, most of it lies in New Mexico.
When you're 16 and bored, you "drag" the main street. My friends and I used to pack into my 1967 VW Bug, turn up the bass, and cruise main street in Downtown Durango. Before I left for college I spent a fabulous summer putting old smelly clothes on tourists at the Old West Photo place, one of my favorite jobs. Durango was founded in 1880, so there is a lot of amazing history around the railroad and the river that run through it. The Historic Strater Hotel is a must-see with what they title themselves a living history museum.
Sky Ute Casino Resort
A lot of Coloradans don't realize that the Southern Ute Indian Reservation is in our state. My childhood was deeply intertwined in the town of Ignacio, Colorado. I consider this area a true cultural gem. The Sky Ute Casino Resort opened when I was a teenager. It allowed out-of-town friends a family a different type of lodging than the tent we could offer them. There's a rich Native American history in the area. They have RV camping, gaming, dining, entertainment, boxing, bowling, and more.