The San Juan River winds through New Mexico's high desert country surrounded by cool, dry air in the summer and warm sunshine in the winter, providing year-round fishing opportunities for Mark Nesbit and his Blue Sky Fly Fishing Co. crew. They take everyone from beginners to advanced anglers out on wade, float, and reservoir trips, teaching the skills necessary to catch hard-fighting trout after determining where the fish have been congregating and which flies have been producing. While leading anglers into waist-deep water or overseeing them on drift boats, the guides also share advice on lure selection, which they have acquired over several decades of fishing in the San Juan River, Navajo Reservoir, and aquariums.
Housed in a historic coal-fired power plant on the banks of the Animas River, the Durango Discovery Museum sparks scientific curiosity with a cavalcade of interactive and educational exhibits. A family day pass activates the inner Einsteins of groups including toddlers, cousins, grandparents, or imaginary uncles. Visitors examine the intricacies of Durango Discovery Museum’s heliostat-fueled solar mirrors, craft movie magic at the Animation Station, or introduce wee ones to scientific principles in the Discovery Kids Zone. With new exhibits such as the Mensch Spark Shop coming soon and a rotating roster of journeymen scientists showcasing robotics, photosynthesis, and in-depth examinations of brain freeze, Durango Discovery Museum blends childlike wonderment with grown-up learning better than bedtime stories about the periodic table.
Tall vegetation and boulders span the banks of the San Juan River and Navajo Lake, and the adept anglers at Rainbow Lodge & Resolution Guide Service are experts at reading the lay of the land to determine fishing spots with the greatest bounty. Visitors to the lodge obtain access to the river and six miles of uninterrupted fly fishing waterways. After practicing fishing techniques during guided fishing trips and posing for prom pictures with trophy-size brown and rainbow trout, guests can retreat to the lodge's two-bedroom suites equipped with private baths, living rooms, and satellite television. Professional chef Amber Michelle serves guests in the lodge's dining room, with her specialized ribeye steaks and other land-caught delicacies.
D'Vine Wine strives to make the winemaking process approachable. Rather than creating highbrow vintages in a vineyard far from civilization, they import wine-quality grapes to their local wine shops and craft their wines in full view of customers. There, visitors can sip a creation in-house, buy a bottle, or join the wine club for a bounty of discounts, new releases, and photo ops with famous varietals. But D'Vine Wine doesn't stop there. The wine experts also let customers in on the process, leading them through the steps of blending, fermenting, and bottling their own wines, whether they prefer reds such as Rojo Grande, a dry Spanish table wine with notes of cloves and pepper, or crisp white pinot grigio. Custom wine labels put a finishing touch on the personalized process, resulting in a unique creation that's ideal for gift giving or enjoying at home.
Full Blast Adventure Center's outdoor arena provides hours of fun on the ground and up high in the air. On a zipline canopy tour, participants fly past ponderosa pines on a series of cables aligned to reveal breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. An outdoor paintball park holds supervised and refereed combat games with packages that include three hours of playing time and a full line of rental equipment. The center also is outfitted with 26 slacklines—narrow, flexible pieces of webbing situated low to the ground and anchored between two trees—where visitors can master walking across or attempt difficult tricks such as jumps, front flips, or falling off.
The curators of the Telluride Jazz Festival use a very particular word to define their annual event—“celebration.” That joyful spirit permeates the three-day happening, which lauds the American art form by welcoming some of the jazz world’s brightest luminaries for performances in a stunning setting. Blue notes ring through a verdant field surrounded by the San Juan Mountains, providing a picturesque backdrop for audiences lounging in chairs or atop nature’s chair: grass. Sunshine gilds lively tunes throughout the day, while at night, visitors can explore additional sets at intimate venues throughout the town. A yearly parade brings the weekend to its jubilant peak as bands wind down Colorado Avenue toward the Town Park Stage.