Bar D Chuckwagon is located just outside the beautiful city of Durango, Colorado. We love chuckwagon dinners and have visited the Bar J in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and the Cody Cattle Company in Cody, Wyoming.
If you don’t know what a chuckwagon show is, it includes cowboy grub and a night of music entertainment. The food is served on a metal plate and there are a few choices. You can order chicken, roast beef, or steak. Each comes served with the same sides: baked potato, applesauce, baked beans, biscuits, and spice cake. There is also lemonade, water, or coffee. The dinner may not sound like much, but it is really tasty and though it isn’t quite a buffet, we’ve been invited back for seconds every single time we’ve been to a chuckwagon, so we’ve never walked away hungry. Depending on your choice of meat, the meal and show runs around $25-$35 for an adult.
One thing we liked about the Bar D Chuckwagon is that it is set right up against the hills in Durango on a ranch. We even saw an Abert’s squirrel in the spruce trees. The property opens at 5pm, and they have trains and wagon rides, which have a separate charge from the meals. There is also a small cowboy town made up of little shops. The kids got to pan for gold and there is a great playground that is as nice as any park. The atmosphere is really cozy because the cowboys serve all the food and are very friendly if you meet them.
After dinner, the music starts. This is traditional cowboy music from the late nineteenth century, so you won’t be hearing anything from Garth Brooks or Tim McGraw. Instead we heard old cowboy classics like Cool Water and Drifting Along with the Tumbling Tumbleweeds. Cowboy harmonies are pretty amazing if you’ve never heard them before. All the music is done in four parts and the band generally includes an upright bass fiddle (as the cowboys call it), a rhythm guitar, a lead or flatpick guitar, and a fiddle. Our boys really like the fiddling tunes like The Devil Went Down to Georgia or Orange Blossom Special.
The shows are pretty funny, too. There is generally a heel in the group who is cracking wise about everything; at the Bar D Chuckwagon, the heel is the bassist. They sing funny songs and parodies. Our boys laughed for a week about Old Matt Palmer Had a Misfit Farm, which included verses about a snake with a lisp and a narcoleptic pig. The Bar D Chuckwagon is a little pricey, particularly if you’re going by the food, but we find it well worth the night of entertainment. We will gladly return to the chuckwagon on our next trip to Durango.