Things To Do in Durango CO - Summer & Fall

things to do in Durango Colorado

Dreams of the Old West become reality as you enter Durango. Nestled on the banks of the winding Animas River, Durango is perfectly placed beneath the grandeur of the majestic San Juan mountains at the pinnacle of the Four Corners in southwest Colorado where Utah, New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado meet.

Durango is best known as a year-round outdoor mecca and a popular base for exploring the scenic San Juans, however before venturing outdoors take a little time to explore our beautiful town. Tree-lined streets of sleepy bungalows, Victorian-era saloons and the bustling historic downtown, a Nationally Registered Historic District, home to historic boutique hotels, galleries, museums and quaint shops. Pick your dining experience at one of many excellent restaurants and cafes, taste the best local beers at a brewpub, or discover regional wines and craft spirits at local vineyards and tasting rooms. A stroll along Main Avenue and the Historic District will bring to light a rich art scene in the many galleries, during the monthly gallery walks and at summer art festivals in parks and street fairs.

Step into Summer

whitewater rafting in durango

Imagine a small, scenic rocky mountain town surrounded by towering peaks, high desert plateaus, lush forests, peaceful wilderness and serene scenery. A river runs through the heart of this scenic town, the Animas River (The River of Souls), named in commemoration of a regiment of Spanish soldiers that mysteriously disappeared along with a box of gold coins! Legend says their cries can still be heard from the quiet waters! Conquer the rushing waters of the Lower Animas River on a kayaking tour or head to the upper Animas for the thrill of Class V rapids through the San Juan backcountry.

Fish the Gold Medal Waters

We could write an entire story on fishing in Durango! From remote high country lakes to the tail waters of the San Juan and the wild Gold Medal waters of the Animas, our pristine waters offer some of the best river fishing in the USA. Whether you are wading the waters of the San Juan, floating the Animas or baiting up for a record-breaking Trout at Vallecito Lake, Durango offers the ultimate fishing adventure year-round.

Wander into the Wilderness

From the rushing waters to the unique landscape that surrounds you, restore your soul as you wander into the wilderness of the San Juan and Rio Grande National Forests and the Weminuche Wilderness Area. A diverse and dramatic landscape of jagged mountain peaks and lush forests lend themselves to every type of outdoor adventure, the grandest of outdoor playgrounds. Hike to the summit of Smelter Mountain for spectacular views over Durango, discover the wildlife along the Colorado Trail or climb above the Hermosa Cliffs on the Goulding Creek Trail. The Animas River Trail runs through the heart of the city and is a great way to connect the dots when exploring Durango. World-class road and mountain biking is found right here in Durango with over 2000 miles of mountain bike trails including the Horse Gulch trail system right in town, and the Southern trailhead of the Colorado Trail, the states premier long-distance trail, stretching almost 500 miles through scenic wilderness on its route to Denver. Road cycling enthusiasts will find many challenging and scenic routes from the ever-popular Valley Loop to Bakers Bridge in the Animas Valley to the mountainous highway heading north to Purgatory and Silverton. Go to to see routes options and trail conditions. Slip back into the Old West as you play cowboy with a horseback adventure at a Dude Ranch with local outfitter guides, get adventurous rock climbing the cliffs of the Animas River Valley or zipline through forests with ever changing views of the valley below. Retrace the footsteps of the ancient Ancestral Pueblo people at the Mesa Verde National Park (link to Mesa Verde) or climb aboard the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad (link to Durango Train page) for a unique journey through scenic canyons. The wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit and it is found right here in Durango, Colorado.

Color Your Vacation with Wildflowers and Golden Fall Foliage

fall in durango

As the vibrant summer wildflowers of the Rocky Mountains paint a pretty picture in the valleys and forests and fade away, new brilliant hues appear as glistening golden leaves dancing in the crisp Autumn breeze in some of the largest aspen groves in Colorado. A lavish display of fall colors draws visitors in search of the perfect autumn escape. With cooler temperatures, fall is the perfect time of year for hiking, biking, ziplining through the vibrant Aspen Alley, taking a scenic ride on the train and exploring the colorful landscapes surrounding Durango. What a beautiful time of year for a scenic drive along The San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway and the Tracks Across the Borders Scenic Byway, or a detour along Rim Drive at Fort Lewis College for beautiful views of the Animas River Valley.

Gone Hunting

As the snow begins to fall, big game hunters head to Durango, arguably the countrys most favorable elk hunting land, for the fall and winter big game hunting season. Big game, private land, game ranches and archery shoots are all offered in and around the Durango area. Colorado Parks & Wildlife are waiting to assist you in planning the perfect trip. Slowly winter unfolds in all its glory, snow settles gentle on the once golden aspens and Durango becomes a haven for winter sports enthusiasts (hyper link to winter activities). Durango, a year-round vacation destination with so much to offer.