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Durango, Colorado

Two-wheeled heaven in Durango     Photo: courtesy, Colorado Tourism

Durango, Colorado
You probably associate the Southwest with tawny canyons, not rushing rivers and college towns. But as more and more relocated California and New York creatives are finding out, Durango is a whitewater–blessed center for all–American fun. Roll in on Labor Day and this town of 16,000 is still celebrating like it's July 4. Main Street is packed with visitors browsing photo exhibits; head down to Santa Rita Park, on the Animas River, and you'll find a circus of kayakers, fly–fishermen, and college students on inner tubes sipping beers from one of the four local breweries. But the real synergy here is in the two–wheeled community—the town, sitting in the shadow of fourteeners, offers more than 300 miles of mountain–bike trails, including a 22–mile loop that starts on Main Street (rentals, $40; hasslefreesports.com). Post–ride, feast on prime rib at the Cosmopolitan, a year–old extension of chef Chad Scothorn's farm–fresh Telluride operation (cosmodurango.com). Then crash nearby at the Strater Hotel, where Louis L'Amour wrote an entire series of novels in room 222 (doubles, $175; strater.com).

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