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The small Colorado town of Del Norte is surrounded on almost all sides by public land encompassing expansive forests, snaking rivers and soaring peaks. Hike along trails, ascend sport-climbing routes and admire views of canyons and river corridors from mountain summits.
During the 1850s and 1860s, Del Norte served as a common stage stop for traders passing along the Old Spanish Trail, which ran between Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Los Angeles, California. The town’s heyday came later in the 1870s, when prospectors uncovered gold and silver in the nearby San Juan Mountains and Del Norte transformed itself into a mining supplies base.
Outdoorsy travelers use Del Norte as a base from which to explore the surrounding region. Climb up the steep 1-mile (1.6-kilometer) trail to reach the summit of the 8,475-foot-tall (2,583-meter) Lookout Mountain in Lookout Mountain Park. From here, admire views down over the San Luis Valley and the rushing Rio Grande River. Rock climbers, meanwhile, can choose between the more than 300 sport-climbing routes in Penitente Canyon, an area which originally served as a sanctuary for the devout Spanish Catholic sect of Los Hermanos Penitentes.
Drive west from Del Norte to reach the Rio Grande National Forest, which features jagged mountains and deep river canyons. Enjoy outdoor fun, including fishing, mountain biking, hunting, hiking and horseback riding. During winter, head for the Wolf Creek Ski Area and hit the snow-covered slopes.
Back in town, learn about this region’s story at the Rio Grande County Museum and Cultural Center. Also worth visiting is the nearby Summitville Ghost Town. These eerie, haunting remains, accessible only by a dirt road, are the surviving remnants of a once-thriving settlement.
Del Norte is warm in summer and snowy in winter. To get here, drive 4 hours from Denver or fly into the San Luis Valley Regional Airport near Alamosa, and make the 40-minute drive from there.
It's recommended that you secure a room as soon as your itinerary is confirmed, because Expedia's Del Norte lodging guide currently doesn't have a big range of accommodations.
Situated in Del Norte, this hotel is 0.2 mi (0.3 km) from Rio Grande County Museum and Cultural Center and within 16 mi (25 km) of Monte Vista Golf Club and Transportation of the West Museum. Monte Vista Historical Society and Rio Grande Club are also within 20 mi (32 km).
Situated in a rural location, this vacation home is close to Rio Grande County Museum and Cultural Center.
Situated in a rural location, this property is in the same area as Rio Grande County Museum and Cultural Center. Regional attractions also include Monte Vista Golf Club and Transportation of the West Museum.
Situated in Pagosa Springs, this motel is close to San Juan Historical Museum, Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts, and Fred Harman Art Museum. Area attractions also include Pagosa Springs Golf Club and Rocky Mountain Wildlife Park.
Situated in South Fork, this motel is within 9 mi (15 km) of Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad, Rio Grande Club, and Coller State Wildlife Area. Rio Grande County Museum and Cultural Center and Wolf Creek Ski Area are also within 25 mi (40 km).
Situated in South Fork, this motel is 0.9 mi (1.5 km) from Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad and 2.4 mi (3.9 km) from Rio Grande Club. Coller State Wildlife Area is 6.1 mi (9.8 km) away.
Situated in Monte Vista, this motel is within a 10-minute walk of Transportation of the West Museum and Monte Vista Historical Society. Monte Vista Golf Club is 0.5 mi (0.9 km) away.