A great way to see the Animas Valley as well as some ideal fishing, is from a steam-operated train, which takes nine hours to wind back and forth through the canyons and wilderness of the San Juan National Forest (you have about a two-hour layover in Silverton). Choose from standard class, which is basic coach seating or open-air gondola cars, or the upscale classes that garner refreshments and nicer accommodations during the trip. Looking for more of an adventure? Hikers, fishermen and other backcountry enthusiasts also use the train as a jumping-off point for treks on the Colorado Trail and into the Chicago Basin. See website for details. Rates are $79-$179, depending on seat and season (479 Main Ave., 970-247-2733, durangotrain.com.).
Stay: The Strater Hotel brings together the Old West and the New with antiques-filled spaces and an inviting old honky-tonk saloon. Rates start at $179 (699 Main Ave., 800-247-4431, strater.com.). Dine: Ariano's Northern Italian Restaurant is a locals' favorite that makes some of its pastas daily and some wonderful sauces, as well (the house-made pumpkin ravioli in brown butter is to die for). The vibe is warm, and the wines are inexpensive. (150 E. College Drive, 970-247-8146).
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