Durango celebrates autumn with festivities and leaf-peeping

Durango, CO – The San Juan and La Plata Mountains of Southwestern Colorado come alive in the fall. With brilliant hues of gold, crimson and coral, the mountainsides invite you to partake in the vibrant spirit of autumn. On a visit to the lively western city of Durango, soak up the colors in the historic downtown or head up to the mountains on foot, bike, auto or animal for an up-close look at the flora and fauna that make this place magical. Join in the festivals that celebrate this colorful season; or roll up your sleeves and come harvest the season’s bounty. Plan your perfect visit during this spectacular Fall season at www.durango.org 

Fall Festivities

Durango Oktoberfest

Self proclaimed as the “City of Brewerly Love,” Durango is home to a thriving craft beer scene with five local craft breweries in town. This annual two-day, family-friendly Bavarian festival celebrates the good beer, food, music and friends for which Durango is known. Delight in the delicious food and beverage while children participate in a plethora of activities to keep everyone entertained.
September 27-28, Buckley Park

Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering
A Durango tradition, this 4-day gathering celebrates the rich culture and heritage of the American cowboy. Poets and performers from across the country gather to preserve and perpetuate the traditions of working ranch people in the American West.  A variety of musical performances, poetry readings and art shows are offered at multiple venues including the historic Strater Hotel to truly celebrate the rich cowboy culture of Southwest Colorado. October 2-5

Apple Days
It is back by popular demand for the seventh consecutive year! Tourists and locals alike can gather in Downtown Durango for a celebration of the fall apple harvest. Press apples for fresh juice, listen to music, eat local foods and enjoy all that a fall in Durango has to offer at this family-oriented outing. Bring your own container for a discount on fresh-pressed juice!
October 5, 11-4pm

Durango Heritage Celebration
Designed to commemorate Durango’s diverse and rich history, the Durango Heritage Celebration focuses on Durango’s founding in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Strap on your dancing shoes and pull up your petty coat to attend the Victorian Masquerade Ball, or wander through the Durango cemetery on a brisk evening to learn more about some of Durango’s colorful founders. Period costumes not required, but highly encouraged. Take a step back in time and explore Durango’s exciting history.
October 9-12

Durango Fall Blaze Bicycle Tour
Hop on your bike for a scenic tour and support the cycling scholarship fund at Fort Lewis College and the Durango biking community by participating in this yearly event.  With 30, 60, and 100-mile options to choose from, all skill levels can participate. Spend a crisp fall day cruising through the beautiful countryside and support local student athletes.
September 27

View Nature’s Fall Beauty

Take a Drive Along the San Juan Highway
The San Juan Skyway, often referred to as “the million dollar highway”, is perhaps one of the best ways to take in the splendor of the San Juan Mountains. A 236-mile mountainous loop is designated as an All-American Road, a National Forest Scenic Byway and a Colorado Scenic & Historical Byway. Buckle up and immerse yourself in the beauty of the changing leaves and striking mountain scenery.

Travel on horseback through untouched nature
Calling all nature lovers! Take a journey on horseback to explore the beauty of the San Juans. Wind among the golden aspen leaves and feast your eyes on breathtaking views of the Needles and La Plata Mountain ranges.  With trails starting at 8,000 feet above sea level, this is truly a memorable way to take in the sights of fall before they are blanketed in snow.

Soaring Tree Top Adventures
Fall Foliage Zip Lining  
Soar through the trees and the golden leaves at Soaring® Tree Top Adventures. The largest zip-line tour available in the world boasts 27 unique routes through stunning mountain scenery.  Travel through vibrant Aspen groves, across old growth Ponderosa forests and over the roaring Animas River on a fall day and create memories sure to last for many more seasons to come.

Explore the San Juan Forest on Foot or Bike
Lace up your hiking boots, or hop on your mountain bike, and travel into the untouched wilderness for a glimpse of the golden fall landscape.  A multitude of trails cover the San Juan Forest that vary in difficulty, length and landscape, so one is sure to suit you and your hiking/biking mates. For easy access, stroll the paved Animas River Trail as it follows the river through town.

All Aboard the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

Annual Fall Photographer’s Trains
Amateurs and professionals alike come together for this annual opportunity to photograph the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad in the Colorado wilderness. Near the end of September the fall leaves reach their color peak, creating an ideal backdrop for photographing one of Durango’s most iconic sights. Grab your camera and capture your own images of a Durango tradition with breathtaking scenery as a backdrop in Southwest Colorado.
September 27-28

Peanuts and The Great Pumpkin Patch Express
Looking for some family fun to get in the Halloween spirit? The Peanuts themed train takes passengers along with Lucy, Charlie Brown and Snoopy on the historic Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad to a pumpkin patch to find the perfect Halloween pumpkin and enjoy harvest festivities.

Durango Wine and Rails
A true treat for all five senses; experience wine tasting fun aboard the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.  Listen to live jazz music, view the beauty of the San Juan Mountains out your window, converse with sommeliers, feel the crisp fall air and taste a multitude of Colorado wines as you travel through the mountain landscape. 
August 31 and September 19

Cowboy Poet Train
Pull on your cowboy boots and ride the rails for this annual Durango Cowboy Poetry gathering fest. This train transports passengers north of Durango to Cascade Canyon for live entertainment from cowboy poets, musicians and storytellers!
October 3

Durango Heritage Train
The Durango Heritage Celebration is an adventure of historical proportions! Period costumes are required to travel through the mountains and time on this exciting “role play” train ride. Famous old west characters are known to make an appearance and there’s always a chance of robbers climbing aboard! But, not to worry--buy silver and gold coins before the train departs in order to ensure a safe journey through the Wild West.
October 12

Local Harvests

Spend a Crisp Fall Morning at Durango Farmer’s Market
Attend the Farmer’s Market in the fall to find yourself surrounded by autumn’s most bountiful harvest! A premier venue for local agriculturalists, ranchers and artisans to meet and share their harvests and talents with the Durango community, the farmers market occurs every Saturday morning until October 4th.
May 10 - October 25

Grab Breakfast or Lunch at Linda’s Local Food Café
A proud foundation of CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), Linda’s Local Food Café is committed to making Durango’s community healthier. The food is prepared using products and ingredients from local farmers. As fresh as it gets, better yourself and support the community by stopping by to enjoy a tasty meal or purchase local produce.

Celebrate the Harvest at James Ranch
This local harvest festival is not to be missed! Located just north of Durango, select from a variety of fresh grown produce amidst the glistening mountain scenery. The date of this event is still to be determined, as it occurs when fall fruits and vegetables are ripe for the picking, so be sure to check the James Ranch website for updates!

Kokanee Salmon Run
In late fall, watch or participate in the Kokanee salmon run at Vallecito Lake as the salmon head up river to spawn. Kokanee "snagging" season starts Nov. 15 and goes until Dec. 31. 

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.