Unique ways for viewing fall foliage before winter adventures begin
Every fall Mother Nature displays her finest colors when she paints the mountains and valleys with the gold, yellow and red hues of autumn. Then the adventure-scape turns to white as snow returns to our mountain hamlet. Durango offers winter fun on and off the mountain with something for everyone. Step outside and enjoy the adventures and beauty of each season. Plan your visit and gather more information: www.durango.org
New in 2011
Durango Discovery Museum www.durangodiscovery.org
Housed in the country’s oldest surviving coal-fired, steam-generated alternating current power plant, it promises to spark curiosity, ignite imagination and power exploration. The Museum offers hands-on science + energy exhibits for all ages, historic interpretation exhibits, Sudden Science™ and Camp Discovery, the Solar Roller™ mobile discovery center, a museum store, energy demo labs/workshops and multipurpose space for special public and private events.
Southern Ute Cultural Center and Museum www.southernutemuseum.org
Rich cultural heritage awaits visitors as the new 52,000-square-foot facility celebrates the living history of Colorado’s longest continuous residents. Dynamic multi-sensory and interactive exhibitions along with rare artifact collections are interwoven with texts, photographs, presentations and recorded oral histories – so that the story of the Southern Ute people will always be told and remembered.
View Fall Foliage
22nd Annual Fall Photo Train--Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
September 24 & 25, 2011 www.durangotrain.com/events/22nd-annual-fall-photo-train
Transport yourself back in time and experience the autumn splendor of the Animas Canyon on this historic re-creation of railroading during the glory years. The Durango & Silverton Railroad locomotive and all rolling stock are repainted and lettered to represent this bygone era. Join amateur and professional photographers in the remote wilderness of the San Juan National Forest. Passengers have the opportunity to photograph the train with a backdrop of high peaks, autumn color and the Animas River. Experience the pure majesty of autumn in the San Juan Mountains.
Soaring® Tree Top Adventures
Fall Foliage Ziplining – New Spans for Autumn 2011 http://www.soaringcolorado.com
Step off the ground and into the tree canopies; zip through Aspen groves while the crisp, autumn scenery soars past in a breathtaking mountain forest. Soaring’s zipline is open from May – October, and one of the best times to visit is during late September/early October when peak fall colors abound. Soaring® Tree Top Adventures is the largest, safest zipline tour available anywhere in the world. With 27 unique spans over beautiful mountain scenery, across Aspen and Old-Growth Ponderosa forest and criss-crossing the Animas River.
Horseback ride a new color trail www.rappcorral.com
There’s a brand new trail created for the ultimate fall trail ride. The route is hailed as “truly the most beautiful trail in this area and elevation.” Enjoy a five-hour excursion along Little Elbert Creek and near old mining claims. The ride is at 8,200 feet in elevation in a mixed Aspen-Oak habitat with talus-covered slopes and old growth Ponderosa and Douglas Fir; views of the Hermosa Cliffs painted in their fall splendor make this a ride to remember.
Motorcycle the Million Dollar Highway www.durango.org/info/activities/motorcycle.aspx
Enjoy the turns from Durango to Silverton on Highway 550 on the scenic San Juan Skyway; continue to Ouray over the majestic Red Mountain pass on the Million Dollar Highway. Please remember to pull off to take photos as you enjoy the beautiful fall colors. Check in with the local Harley Davidson Dealership for maps and rides; join the local club for their annual fall ride or discover the route on your own.
Linda’s Local Food Café, 309 College Avenue
Featuring a menu of local only products, Linda’s epitomizes the agritourism trend in southwestern Colorado. Agritourism is at the heart of our community and to promote our agricultural and culinary offerings we have created a guide to help you find your way from farms to restaurants. http://www.durango.org/DATOSiteAssets/files/activities-content/Agritourism_Map.pdf
The Lost Dog, 1150 Main Avenue
Originally a carriage warehouse and former theater in Downtown Durango, the Lost Dog Bar and Lounge has a reputation for great food and a strong community commitment. Recent renovations created an upscale-yet-casual restaurant and a showcase for local artists' work. Indoor dining is “urban chic and contemporary” with an outdoor casual three-season patio.
New Adventures for Winter 2011-12
Durango Mountain Resort www.durangomountainresort.com
Durango Mountain Resort has undergone major improvements over the past few years, making terrain enhancements, expansions and a major renovation of the base area. New for this winter is the Purgatory Plunge Zipline. Soar for more than the length of a football field from the Purgatory Village Tower over the ski beach at speeds of approximately 35 mph. During the 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 seasons, more than 30 percent of expert terrain was added providing additional expert-only gladed tree skiing. The 1,360 skiable acres now comprise 20 percent beginner terrain, 45 percent intermediate terrain and 35 percent advanced/expert terrain. Enhanced Snowmaking includes a new fleet of snowcats and terrain park renovations. Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort’s completed the $50-million base area investment anchored by Purgatory Lodge. In December 2008, Durango Mountain Resort unveiled Purgatory Lodge, a luxury ski-in/ski-out property with upgraded skier services and a new and enhanced Purgy’s Restaurant and Bar.
Dog Sledding at Durango Dog Ranch www.DurangoDogRanch.com
Durango Dog Ranch offers high-end dog sled adventures for all ages. The season begins mid-November and runs until mid-April. There is a guide on every sled and all participants drive the sled. All trips are by reservation only. New this year DDR will be offering “on demand” dog sledding at Durango Mountain Resort. Families staying on the slopes can book a trip and have the dogs come to your ski resort for a 30-minute ride around the slopes! Numerous trip options are available including the Half Day Mushing Adventure with 3 - 4 hour mushing that whisks you through the forest for exhilarating adventure and beauty.
Cat Skiing www.sanjuanski.com/
For powder hounds seeking fresh powder, Durango has two cat ski operations: San Juan Ski Co. at Durango Mountain Resort and Silverton Powdercats. Cat skiing is guided backcountry skiing serviced by a snowcat-grooming machine with a cabin on the back is north of Durango Mountain Resort. Guests can expect to ski or ride 10 to 12 runs and between 10,000 and 12,000 vertical feet. Weather and conditions permitting, guests may be exploring new routes off the faces of 12,000-foot peaks, floating through powder in steep trees, playing in natural terrain parks or tracking up open bowls. Be warned, powder skiing is very addictive!
2012 San Juans Randonee Ski Race www.ussma.org/cosmic/
Ski mountaineering, or randonee ski racing, hugely popular in Europe, is rapidly growing in North America. It combines the need for aerobic endurance and technical alpine skiing skills in a beautiful yet demanding backcountry environment. The San Juans race is unique in North America: 100% backcountry with all skin tracks, couloirs and mountain descents.
About the Durango Area Tourism Office
The Durango Area Tourism Office is a not-for-profit organization operating with the mission to promote Durango and La Plata County's multitude of tourism attractions, events and services. For more information, visit www.durango.org or call (970) 247-3500.