The best Fall itinerary in the mountains around Durango!
Spend your time in Durango during the Fall in the hills! Wander world-class hiking trails, explore the glowing hillsides, and watch the colors explode while adventuring above the treeline.
Hit the ground running when you get to Durango! Have a hearty meal at Lone Star Cafe before heading north on Highway 550. Spend your first day in Southwest Colorado spinning laps on a mountain bike at Purgatory’s bike park. Not only will you have a blast on their trails, but you’ll get a chance to rip through glowing aspens and enjoy the scenic chairlift ride to the top. After you’ve gotten your fill of the trails, have lunch at Purgy’s and bask at the Needles Mountain Range lying right in front of you.
After lunch, drive 45 minutes north to watch the sun go down on top of Molas Pass. The alpenglow in the mountains will be the cherry on top of a beautiful day. As you head into town, pick up a Texas taco or pulled pork sandwich from Serious Texas BBQ and a chocolatey treat from Animas Chocolate.
Breakfast at a local favorite: Oscar’s Cafe.
No fall trip to Durango is complete without a drive on the Million Dollar Highway. The Million Dollar Highway is the 70-mile strip of blacktop between Durango and Ouray.
Start your Fall scenic road trip by driving north of Durango on Highway 550. The road climbs up and over three separate passes: Coal Bank, Molas, and Red Mountain Pass. If you can relax through the hairpin turns and steep drop-offs, you’ll be rewarded with some of the most breathtaking views in the country.
Make a point to pause at each of the mountain pass summits and pay attention to the “Scenic Overlook” signs as you drive.
Stop for lunch in Silverton and coffee in Ouray. However, if you keep the stops to a minimum, you can do the entire San Juan Skyway in a single day and end the evening in Durango. On your way home, stop at the Rico Hot Springs (a local secret) and soak your worries away in the warm water. Grab dinner at Steamworks Brewing Company.
Take to the mountains! Today, you will be traversing the San Juans on a razor!
The San Juans offer hundreds of miles of OHV roads to explore above the treeline, much of which no normal traveler has ever seen.
Make a stop at Bread before a day packed full of adventure. Enjoy a quick breakfast and then pick up some freshly-made sandwiches and a Zuberfizz for lunch from 2nd Street Deli before starting heading out.
Drive north of Durango on Highway 550. Drive to Silverton and unload the side-by-side and begin traveling on CO Rd 2 towards Animas Forks.
Top out and take lunch at Engineer Pass where CO Rd 2 meets CO Rd 20- turn around here! Head back to Silverton and pack up once you get back.
Grab pizza and beer at Fired Up Pizzeria as you celebrate a long day of adventuring in the mountains!
Breakfast at College Drive Cafe to enjoy a hearty, Southwestern style meal and learn more about the establishment and its long history in Durango, dating back to 1939 when it served as a service station for the Railroad.
Once you’ve enjoyed your meal, drive north of Durango on Highway 550 to the top of Coal Bank Pass, stopping to gawk at some of the peaks along the way. Once at the summit, pull over to lace up your hiking boots for a beautiful hike next to Engineer Mountain on the Engineer Mountain Trail.
Hike as far as you want as you enjoy views of the mountains along the way!
After your hike, you are going to want to head back towards Durango, stopping at James Ranch Grill for dinner. Once you get back into town, soak your bones at the newly renovated Durango Hot Springs Resort & Spa before calling it a night.
Phew! What a trip!
At night, make sure you get plenty of sleep in your hotel, motel, or wherever you're staying in Durango!