Visiting Durango

Top 10 Fall Activities

Our top ten activities to enjoy in Durango this fall.

The fall is a beautiful time to visit Durango. The weather is crisp in the morning and warms up throughout the day offering lots of opportunity to soak up the day with glorious mountain sunshine. In late fall the leaves begin to turn offering a golden backdrop that even an amateur photographer will enjoy capturing. Here is our top 10 list of activities that you can enjoy in Durango this fall.

  1. Take a drive- The San Juan Skyline drive is spectacular at this time of year and is a not to be missed activity. This is southwest Colorado's most famous 236 mile loop featuring some of the most picturesque portions of our state.  When you travel the entire loop you will pass through 5 mountain towns along the skyway: Silverton, Ridgeway, Ouray, Telluride, and Durango.  It traverses four mountain passes above 10,000 feet with beautiful scenic overlooks, waterfalls, and mountain vistas. The section between Silverton & Ouray is called the "Million Dollar Highway." The road winds up the side of the mountain, with hairpin curves and steep drop offs. Always check the weather and road conditions before you go. You can choose to do the entire loop or just a small portion.  The total trip is 4 ½ hours without any stops. Click here to download a map. For more complete directions and a map, stop at the Durango Welcome Center.




  2. Get out on the trails- Durango is filled with many amazing trails. Whether you are a mountain biker, hiker or go by horse there are many trails to explore. In the fall the trails offer the changing colors of the season and a little bit cooler temperature. Favorite trails for this season include: The Colorado Trail, Hermosa Creek Trail, Animas Mountain Trail and Spud Lake. Check out for a full listing of all the trails available in Durango. Before you head out to the trail, check out our outdoor stores for all the equipment you might need.




  3. Explore the mountains with a Jeep Tour-Durango has several outdoor companies that offer jeep tours into the San Juan Mountains. This is a great way to get into the back country and explore the beautiful wilderness and possibly see some wildlife. Check out our list of businesses who offer Jeep rentals.




  4. Take a stroll on the Animas River Trail- The Animas River Trail offers over 8 miles of paved trail along the beautiful Animas River. Along the way you can stop by The Durango Fish Hatchery and Wildlife Museum, Powerhouse Science Center, Santa Rita Park and several other small parks along the way. Bring a picnic lunch or take a wade in the Animas River to cool off. This is a perfect way to spend a fall day. Download a map here or pick one up at the Durango Welcome Center. 




  5. Pack a picnic and enjoy some music in the park- Community Concert Hall at the park, will hold free concerts at Buckley Park on Thursday evenings starting at 5:30pm. The concerts are free! Concerts continue through September 16th. Click here for more information.




  6. Enjoy some family friendly fall events!  Durango offers a full calendar of events but some of our favorites come late in the fall season. We kick off the fall season with the Autumn Arts Festival, September 18-19. This two-day festival features artists and craft makers from around the country.  The festival takes place on the quaint Second Avenue in Historic Downtown Durango and offers something for everyone. A not to miss event is the Durango Cowboy poetry gathering, September 30- October 3. This event offers a little something for everyone from musical performances to poetry and a downtown parade. In October we have the Animas Balloon Rally, October 15-17. The event starts Historic Downtown Durango with the Downtown Balloon Glow on Friday evening. Get up close to see multiple balloons, candle sticks (baskets with just a flame) and meet the pilots. The events continue on Saturday and Sunday in the Animas Valley.   Early bird Spectators will enjoy watching the balloons take flight for a mass ascension each morning. All events are free! On Halloween,  little ghosts and goblins fill the streets of Downtown Durango to collect candy at our local merchants. This annual event called Children's Halloween is a great safe option for little ones to trick or treat. Learn more about these events and a few more  here.




  7. Visit Historic Downtown Durango- Downtown is filled with unique shops, galleries, boutiques, restaurants, coffee shops and more. Fall is an exceptional time to visit, with the beautiful changing colors and excellent weather. While downtown stop for some coffee at one of our many coffee shops or grab a bite to eat at one of our fantastic restaurants. And while your downtown, you can enjoy some of the history with a self-guided walking tour, find a digital version here or stop by the Durango Welcome Center for a paper guide. See our shopping directory here. 




  8. Explore our local lakes and rivers- Water lovers alike will enjoy all the rivers and lakes that Durango has to offer. From Fishing to paddle boarding, there are many activities you can enjoy on our local waters. Some of our favorites close to Durango include: Lake Nighthorse, the Animas River, Haviland Lake, and Pastorius Reservoir.  Check out our local outdoor companies for equipment rentals and supplies.   Anglers stop by our local fly shops downtown for expert advice and equipment.  Duranglers Flies & Supplies and The San Juan Angler. Stop by the Durango Welcome Center for a map and directions. 




  9. Take a ride on the Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad- Fall is one of the best times to ride the train. Offering beautiful views of the mountains and the changing aspen leaves. The train offers different excursions that include a shorter ride to cascade or take a full ride all the way to Silverton. Both offer spectacular views. Don’t forget to bring your camera! And speaking of that if you are an avid photographer consider going on the Photography train that is offered in the fall at peak color season. Learn more about the train here.




  10. Find some adventure at Purgatory Mountain Resort! Offering seven activities for the whole family including the Inferno Mountain coaster, alpine slide, mountain bike park, scenic chairlift, treasure panning, kids off-road track and more.  In the fall the activities are only offered on the weekends, so check their website for full details.