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Durango Adventures: Rafting, Rails & Ruins With Your Grandchild

Get a real taste of the Old West with your grandchild as you discover the mountains, canyons and rivers of Southwest Colorado by steam-powered locomotive, Jeep and river raft. Yee-haw!
Rating (5)
Program No. 22413RJ
6 days
Starts at

Durango Adventures: Rafting, Rails & Ruins With Your Grandchild

Get a real taste of the Old West with your grandchild as you discover the mountains, canyons and rivers of Southwest Colorado by steam-powered locomotive, Jeep and river raft. Yee-haw!
6 days
Starts at
Program No. 22413 RJ
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At a Glance

Explore the rugged playground that is the Wild West with your grandchild as you follow in the footsteps of cowboys and Native Americans. Climb into ancient cliff dwellings to see how the Puebloans lived and ride the rails back in time to find about Durango’s railroad heyday. Discover the San Juan Mountains, La Plata Canyon, the Animas River and more by locomotive, 4x4 Jeep and raft as your grandparent and grandchild bond grows stronger with each adventure.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Raft the crystal clear and scenic Animas River, then ride a Jeep above it all in the LaPlata Mountains.
  • Spend a day exploring the cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde National Park and World Heritage Site as you learn about the ancient Puebloans.
  • On a steam-powered locomotive adventure, ride the same tracks along the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad that miners, cowboys and settlers did over a century ago.

General Notes

This is an intergenerational program for participants and grandchildren ages 9 - 12. Due to the nature of this program, listening devices are not available.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Colorado Scenic Byways Road Atlas & Travel Guide
by Jim Steinberg, Susan Tweit
This book is a guide to the open road, to the opportunities that beckon just around the bend, over the next hill, beyond the far horizon. But not just any open road: this Road Atlas & Travel Guide details the sights and stories of Colorado's 25 scenic and historic Byways, reveals the heart and soul of each route in spectacular photography and insightful essays. These diverse byways shows off the state's extraordinary variety in landscapes and history, from ruler-straight roads traversing the wide-open expanses of the far eastern plains where bison once flowed in herds like dark rivers, to winding routes through rumpled foothills dissected by river canyons and dotted with aspen groves and historic lodges; from bumpy jeep tracks to ascending nose-bleed heights over alpine ridges splashed with summer wildflowers and acid-bright mine tailings; from the surprise of two lanes traversing mountain parks to gravel roads winding between massive walls of red sandstone that hide centuries-old cliff dwellings in the canyon country of the far western edge of the state. This rich network of scenic and Historic Byways shows off Colorado's captivating spaces and lives, both wild and human. Colorado Scenic Byways Road Atlas & Travel Guide is for travelers who prefer winding roads to straight, choose to explore a new route rather than get there fast, are curious enough to stop and read a roadside sign, and marvel at a waterfall, wildflowers or a flock of sandhill cranes high overhead. It is for those who think they know Colorado, as well as those who are new to the state's enchantments. Open these pages, pick a byway at random, and set off on a journey.
Ancient Peoples of the American Southwest
by Steve Plog
The American Southwest is home to some of the most remarkable monuments of America's prehistoric past, such as Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde. Stephen Plog, who has spent decades working in the region, provides the most readable and up-to-date account of the predecessors of the modern Hopi and Pueblo Indian cultures in this well-received account. Chaco Canyon became the center of a thriving Anasazi cultural tradition. It was the hub of a trading network extending over hundreds of miles, whose arteries were a series of extraordinary roads that are still being discovered and mapped. Interweaving the latest archaeological evidence with early first-person accounts, Professor Plog explains the rise and mysterious fall of Southwestern cultures. 224pp
Messages in Stone: Colorado's Colorful Geology
by Vince Mathews and the Colorado Geological Survey
Introduction to the rocks, structures and geologic history of Colorado. Includes discussion of landforms and geologic hazards. Lavishly illustrated with photographs of Colorado sites and maps. Appropriate for geologists and non-geologists.
Colorado's Colorful Characters
by Gladys R. Bueler
Outstanding illustrated narrative history of the men and women that shaped Colorado. Starting with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, interwoven are the stories of the explorers, mountain men, Native Americans, settlers, miners, railroad builders and industrialists. Included are the two major railroad builders we discuss, General William Jackson Palmer (Denver & Rio Grande) and Otto Mears (tollroads and four small narrow gauge).
Mountains of Silver: Life in Colorado’s Red Mountain Mining District
by David Smith
A little over a century ago, the Red Mountain Mining District in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado was the scene of a "silver rush" with an output of precious metals second in Colorado only to that of Leadville. In a period of less than twenty-five years, more than thirty million dollars in silver, lead, zinc, copper, and gold were taken from the rich deposits in the mines along Red Mountain Divide -- an amount roughly equivalent to a quarter billion of today's dollars. The histories of the communities that sprang into being with these mines, the railroads constructed to service them, and the men and women who lived, worked and died in them, are the threads deftly woven into the richly textured story of Mountains of Silver. It is a colorful and varied tapestry that depicts the lives of prospectors who made the first rich strikes; the land promoters, speculators, and road-and-railroad builders who capitalized on the frenzied rush to the area; and the motley collection of miners, lawyers, merchants, prostitutes, saloonkeepers, and freighters who attempted to profit from the boom.

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