Welcome to La Plata County, where you will find that your friends, neighbors and co-workers are like extended family. There are more non-profits per capita than most metro areas because we are caring and we look after each other. If you love playing in the outdoors, look no further! La Plata County is a mecca for outdoor living. La Plata County has a very generous leave for our employees with 12 paid holidays and 8 hours annual leave accrued every two weeks which allows us to time to spend out and about in the area, or away.
Education - We are home to Fort Lewis College, recognized by Forbes magazine as among the best and is frequently mentioned in other top colleges lists for affordability, diversity, small class size, hands-on or experimental learning, and high quality of faculty. We also have a branch of Pueblo Community College that calls Durango home. We have three school districts in La Plata County and several private and charter schools. Public School Review listed La Plata County as having one of the highest concentrations of top-ranked public schools in Colorado.
Trails - there are 300 miles of trails for mountain biking and hiking and an average of 300 days of sunshine to enjoy the trails. Downtown Durango has a trail along the Animas river that is used year-round by residents.
Fishing and watersports - La Plata County is known as a premier fly fishing destination with over 3.5 miles of gold medal trout fishing and numerous lakes with outstanding sport fishing. The Durango State Fish Hatchery was built in 1893 and raises over 1 million fish to release into waters throughout Southwest Colorado. Residents love floating and paddleboarding on the Animas River in the summer and kids love the City of Durango's Wibit water park on Lake Nighthorse.
Cycling - we love our bikes here and Durango is ranked as one of the nation's 10 best cycling towns. La Plata County hosted the 1990 World Mountain Bike Championships and frequently hosts a leg of Ride the Rockies. Kids from La Plata County have grown up to ride in Tour de France and the Olympics. Fort Lewis College has an outstanding cycling team; in fact, they have the best collegiate cycling program in the country with 20+ USA Cycling National Championships.
Durango was rated 3rd in the nation for raising an "outdoor kid." We love spending time outdoors, leading to happy and healthy lives. In fact, we boast that we have more national, world champions and Olympians than any area in the country!
World Heritage Sites - we have three of our nation's most prized archeological and historic treasures in close proximity to La Plata County: Mesa Verde National Park, Chaco Culture Natural Historic Park and Taos Pueblo. In addition, Ignacio in La Plata County is the seat of the Sovereign Southern Ute Tribe.
Skiing - Purgatory is in northern La Plata County and Wolf Creek Ski Area is the next county over. Shaun White built a famous half pipe near Silverton (just north of La Plata County) to prep for his 2014 Olympic win. Heliskiing is a thing in Silverton as is night skiing after work in Hesperus and our area has with more backcountry skiing opportunities than you can imagine.
La Plata County is within four hours drive of seven National Parks and six national monuments:
- Mesa Verde National Park
- Arches National Park
- Canyonlands National Park
- Petrified Forest National Park
- Grand Canyon National Park
- Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
- Chaco Canyon National Historical Park
- Chimney Rock National Monument
- Canyons of the Ancients National Monument
- Natural Bridges National Monument
- Bears Ears National Monument
- El Malpais National Monument
- Canyon de Chelly National Monument
- Mesa Verde National Park
Entertainment - We love our restaurants, breweries and bars and one can find live music somewhere nearly every night of the week. Fort Lewis College's Community Concert Hall supports artists who reflect the tastes of the region while educating college and regional audiences about cultures and performance traditions from around the world.