As the leaves begin to change color and fall season is in full swing, many people are drawn to the outdoors to enjoy the cooler temperatures and beautiful scenery. However, it's important to be aware of your surroundings and take care when recreating to avoid any potential hazards and help us keep our area beautiful for everyone!
Given that it's now fall in Durango, Colorado, here are some things you should do to protect both yourself and the environment. Help us Care for Durango:
Restrictions vary across land boundaries. In City limits, no fires, grilling, or smoking is allowed on City trails, parks, and open space areas.
If heading into federal public lands, be sure to know the current fire restrictions before heading out! These restrictions are put into place for a reason- to help prevent human-caused wildfires.
Campfires and charcoal grills are typically not allowed on US Forest Service land.
Always check the US Forest Service's website before considering a campfire of any kind.
We love Durango and want to keep it clean and beautiful for everyone to enjoy. When heading out into nature, please remember to pack out all of your trash- including things like candy wrappers and toilet paper. Disposing of waste properly not only helps keep our areas clean but also helps prevent the spread of disease.
Knowledge and compliance with leash laws are key when exploring with your furry friend. It's important to keep in mind that these regulations vary based on location.
Additionally, whenever you're out on a walk with your pet, always pick up their waste and carry it out of the area with you. Leaving poop bags at the trailhead is unacceptable and inconsiderate– not to mention there are often free dog bag dispensers available at local businesses and trails anyways.
Help us maintain cleanliness by doing your part!
Remember to follow trail etiquette by being respectful of others, yielding to those going uphill, keeping your speed under control, and putting your pets on a leash (when required).
Also, be considerate of how loud you are. People use the trails for different reasons and some might want peace and quiet early in the morning or later at night. This means not using portable or backpack speakers.
We have a healthy population of black bears in the Durango area. While they are usually afraid of humans, they can become aggressive if we make them feel threatened or comfortable around us.
To avoid an encounter with a bear:
Please resist the urge to approach or feed wildlife. Not only is it dangerous for you, but the animals themselves suffer when we interfere with their natural habitat and way of life.
Keep your distance from wild animals at all times, no matter how docile they might appear.
Moose may look cute, but remember – they are still wild creatures who deserve our respect!
For many reasons- such as wildlife habitat preservation or the prevention of disease- there are several closures throughout Durango.
During fall, some of the local wildlife areas close to protect bird species like the Peregrine Falcon. Respect these land closures to help these delicate creatures thrive.
Be aware that hunting season falls during the fall months in Colorado. If you're exploring any areas that are typically popular with hunters, please take extra precautions by wearing blaze orange.
While it's not required by law to wear blaze orange while hiking, it is highly recommended as an extra safety measure.
Because Durango's elevation is already high at 6,512 feet and it only goes up from there very quickly (Molas Pass sits at 10,800 feet).
Drink lots of water, rest when you need to, and go slowly. If you start experiencing any altitude sickness symptoms like headaches, nausea, or lightheadedness, immediately descend to a lower elevation and get medical help if needed.
Also, be careful not to drink too much alcohol- elevation affects how the body processes alcohol and you will get drunk more quickly than at lower elevations.
The weather can change rapidly in Durango, especially in the fall. Before heading out, always check the forecast and be prepared for whatever might come your way.
Thunderstorms in fall still occur and are unpredictable.
A good rule of thumb is to be descending from any high ground at 10:00 am. Earlier starts are the name of the game!
Plan for the elevation you're heading to!