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6 must-see autumn attractions in Durango

There’s no better place to experience the beauty and wonder of fall than in Durango, Colorado. From art festivals and historic monuments to cowboy poetry, there are a multitude of things to do in or near Durango that are sure to fulfill your fall bucket list.

Soak in the colors on the San Juan Skyway

One of Colorado’s scenic roads, the San Juan Skyway offers magnificent views of the changing autumn landscape. Expect peak colors between October 8-16, but the leaves begin changing in mid-September.

Browse the Durango Autumn Arts Festival

The largest outdoor arts and crafts festival in Southwest Colorado, the Autumn Arts Festival features works from more than 90 regional artisans. Enjoy live music, local food, beverages from local microbreweries, and beautiful artwork.

Explore downtown Durango

Registered as a National Historic District, downtown Durango is full of historical structures. Though updated for safety and the use of technology, these buildings are virtually the same as they were in the late 1800’s. 

PICT Rail Road Cars on the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad - Chris Sorensen

Despite fires and floods during the summer of 2018, the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is still able to operate over a large portion of its scenic route through La Plata and San Juan counties. The depot is an easy walk from the historic downtown Durango area. Photo: Chris Sorensen

Listen in at the Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering

If you love horses, cowboys, and poetry, this four-day event is for you. Poets and musicians from around the US perform classic and modern poetry and songs. What’s the purpose of this event? To keep the traditions of the Old West alive, of course.

Visit fascinating museums

Rain or shine, Durango’s museums are a great place to spend a few hours of your day. Whether you want to learn more about Durango’s history in the Animas Museum or explore science with the whole family in the Powerhouse Science Center, there’s a museum in Durango that’s sure to pique your interest.

PICT Museum at Durango - Chris Sorensen

Museums around Durango offer a wide variety of exhibits from the distant past to more modern times. Photo: Chris Sorensen

Explore the nearby national parks and monuments

Perhaps one of the most iconic and memorable things to do near Durango is visiting one of the nearby national parks and monuments. From Aztec ruins dating back thousands of years to the expansive landscapes of the Weminuche Wilderness, you’ll find an unforgettable autumn adventure in any of these locations:

  • Chaco Canyon
  • Hovenweep
  • Mesa Verde
  • San Juan National Forest
  • Weminuche Wilderness
  • Chimney Rock
  • Aztec Ruins
  • Four Corners

PICT Antique Cars Durango - Chris Sorensen

Classic cars are among thousands of exhibits throughout historic Durango. Photo: Chris Sorensen

Whether your ideal autumn getaway includes a weekend of city life and cozy restaurants or solitude in the vast wilderness of southwest Colorado, you’ll find plenty to add to your itinerary on our list of beloved Durango attractions.