This place we call home... Durango,
La Plata County, Colorado USA on Planet Earth

A BLOG about what's happening around Durango (and a little about real estate) by your LOCAL GUIDE, Jim Wotkyns, Broker at The Wells Group.

D&SNG Railroad is rolling from Durango to Silverton!

May 10th, 2019

The first Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad train engine of 2019 rolled into a snowy Silverton last weekend.



Durango area GOLF COURSES tee up for the summer

May 7th, 2019

Rocky Mountain golfing in the high country around Durango, Colorado:


Hillcrest Golf Club (public course) – right in Durango adjacent to Fort Lewis College campus – open for 2019 season


Dalton Ranch Golf Club (semi-private open to public) – open for 2019 season


Glacier Club’s Valley Course (members only) opens May 10th (weather pending)


Glacier Club’s Mountain Course (members only) opens May 17th (weather pending)


At Glacier Club, try the Member-for-a-Day Package – The Glacier Club invites guests interested in experiencing the Alpine membership offerings to explore the private club and community as a “member for a day”.  Guests will receive access to community amenities including the Valley Golf Course, Valley Clubhouse, tennis courts, fitness center and swimming pools.


Want to Stay and Play?  Purchase the Discovery Package at Glacier Club: includes 2 or 3 nights in a Glacier townhome or condominium and your choice of daily activities starting at $299.00 per person per day. Glacier’s Discovery Packages invites guests interested in real estate and membership offerings to the ultimate escape to the mountains. Guests receive members-only access to our club and community, including golf, restaurants, pool, spa and fitness center. We’ll also help you book area excursions to really see what life adventured is all about.   Additional details here >>




Newer homes and furniture burn faster

April 29th, 2019

Newer homes and furniture burn faster, giving you less time to escape a fire.


Research shows that 30 years ago, you had about 17 minutes to escape a house fire. Today it’s down to less than 3 minutes (mobile homes only 90 seconds). The reason: newer homes and the furniture inside them actually burn faster. A lot faster!


We think advancements have been made in fire-retardant materials, but in fact our “disposable” lifestyle of plastics, synthetic fibers, and glue-pressed particle board make fires burn HOT and FAST. Also, modern open floor plans provide oxygen and don’t provide wall barriers to keep the fire from spreading quickly. Natural wood building materials and furnishings used decades ago have been replaced by inexpensive materials that burn quickly.




  • Install interconnected smoke detectors in every sleeping room, outside each sleeping area and on every level of your home.
  • Closing doors while you sleep can provide you a couple extra critical seconds to escape.
  • Keep at least 2 exits clear in each room.
  • Make sure your address numbers are visible from the street at night for emergency crews to find you.
  • Practice your evacuation plan with your family, so every member knows your meeting place in case of an emergency.


Durango is positioned for a great summer tourist season!

April 24th, 2019

With the HEAT INDEX rising in some of our “feeder markets”, Durango is positioned for a strong summer tourist season from residents escaping the heat in nearby states.  Durango Area Tourism Office is also expecting a strong travel season based on bookings thus far.









Although AAA Colorado predicts prices for gasoline in Colorado will top-off above $3.00/gallon by Memorial Day weekend, gas prices in Colorado are still below the average of the western states.  With the 416Fire putting a damper on tourists travel plans last summer, they are primed to make up for lost time and visit our beautiful region of the state.



Consider a 1031 Exchange to invest in real estate

April 22nd, 2019






The term 1031 Exchange is defined under section 1031 of the IRS Code. This strategy allows an investor to “defer” paying capital gains taxes on an investment property when it is sold, as long another “like-kind property” is purchased with the profit gained by the sale of the first property and the funds are temporarily held by a Qualified Exchange Intermediary .


To receive the full benefit of a 1031 exchange, your replacement property should be of equal or greater value. You must identify a replacement property for the assets sold within 45 days and then conclude the exchange within 180 days.  Property that you hold primarily for personal use CANNOT be utilized in a 1031 exchange.


Please call me for details and a list of 1031X Qualified Intermediaries in our area. I can help you search for suitable investment properties, too.



FREE – D&SNGRR Train Ride for Active Duty Military, Veterans, and Military-affiliated Gold and Blue Star (parents, spouses, family members, friends)

April 19th, 2019

Please help The Wells Group of Durango fill the FREE seats for military on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad from Durango to Silverton for the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic Veterans Celebration – Saturday, May 25, 2019.


Presented by The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, BP, and organized by the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic, this day of fun, celebration, and comradery is FREE to Active Duty Military, Veterans, and Military-affiliated Gold and Blue Star parents / spouses / family members / friends.


Ride on the train that races the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic’s Citizens Bicycle Race from Durango to Silverton. Enjoy lunch at the race finish, and be our special guest at a Memorial Day themed Ceremony in Silverton’s Memorial Park.


Registration: Seating is limited – We will do our best to accommodate additional guest requests but cannot guarantee every request. Register at

Lake Nighthorse – READY for Summer

April 9th, 2019

Lake Nighthorse, only 3.5 miles from downtown Durango, was stocked with 150,000 fingerling Kokanee Salmon last week. It is now open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through the month of April. Beginning May 1st, the lake will be open 7 days a week.


Lake Nighthorse is a fee area. Season and 5-punch passes are now available for purchase at the Durango Community Recreation Center, located at 2700 Main Avenue. Season, 5-punch and day use passes will be available at the Lake Nighthorse entrance station as well.


Click FISHING FACTS online for fishing regulations:

How many town’s Parks & Recreation have their own ski resort?

March 8th, 2019

Our little mountain town is so lucky to have a ski area right in the heart of our community.










Due to the amazing support from the community and great snow conditions, Chapman Hill plans to extend the ski season through March 24 with amended times and prices.


With the plentiful natural snow and the thick layer of man-made snow, Chapman Hill Ski Area will be able to extend the ski season past the original expected closing date of March 10. Starting on March 12, the extended hours of operation are 3:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 11:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Lift tickets will be adjusted for the new spring hours and all kids up to 5 years old are free and anyone 6 and over is only $8.00.  The new amended schedule and prices could be further extended if the snow conditions remain favorable.


Also enjoy sledding, ice skating, drop-in hockey (skate rentals available), and refreshments.


For more information please call Chapman Hill at (970) 375-7395 and online at

Durango Fire&Rescue needs your help with the snow…

February 19th, 2019













Source:  Durango Fire & Rescue Facebook page

High Altitude Baking TIP

February 19th, 2019



Even those who’ve lived in the Rocky Mountains for years need a reminder how to adjust a baking recipe for HIGH ALTITUDE.


Adjustment for 5,000 feet and above:


  • Reduce baking powder: for each teaspoon, decrease 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon.
  • Reduce sugar: for each cup, decrease 0 to 2 tablespoons.
  • Increase liquid: for each cup, add 2 to 4 tablespoons.
  • Increase oven temperature by 25 degrees F.




Check out all the Durango Lifestyle Blog posts!