When the sun sets and darkness falls over Durango, something magical happens. Situated more than a mile above sea level, Durango enjoys very little light pollution and perfect weather for stargazing. Starry-filled nights provide time to step away from the chaos of day-to-day and enjoy something greater than ourselves. 

The fall season is an especially ideal time to settle in and enjoy the skyward view. Here are our seven favorite locales for southwestern star gazing.

1. Chimney Rock National Monument

Located between Durango and Pagosa Springs, Chimney Rock is an Ancestral Puebloan site and historical landmark. The monument’s Full Moon Program takes visitors on a journey to the mesa top for stargazing, storytelling, and a history lesson of the region. Expect total darkness, cool to cold weather, and sky views you may find nowhere else. 

2. From a Snowcat at Purgatory Resort 

With the quiet crunch of snow underfoot and total darkness on the horizon, Purgatory’s Snowcat dinners and scenic tours offer a chance to get away and enjoy the company of the people who matter most. 

From your snowy vantage point in the San Juan National Forest,  the starry sky serves as the perfect backdrop. With a five-course gourmet meal, alpenglow views, and intimate seclusion, consider this the ultimate romantic date night. 

3. Animas Mountain Trail

This 6 mile lollipop loop of Animas Mountain is a haven for hikers and bikers by day. By night, this trail becomes its own star-viewing destination. There is a well-established main trail and many side routes along the way, so keep aware of your surroundings and you shouldn’t worry about getting lost. 

With more than 1,500’ of elevation gain and overlooks from nearly every side of the mountain, you’re sure to get the full 360-degree view of the sky on a clear night. 

4. Molas Pass Overlook

Molas Pass is a high mountain pass between Durango and Silverton. Day or night, the views here are unbeatable. 

In the summer months, you can spend your full night at Molas Pass Campground. Named as the most scenic campground in Colorado, the campground lives up to expectations. At an elevation of 10,522’, this remote location off the Million Dollar Highway is a premiere destination for hiking, fishing, stargazing, and camping.

Spend a night beneath the stars, light a campfire, and enjoy an evening completely disconnected from technology.

5. Mesa Verde National Park

This UNESCO Heritage Site and National Park is a hub for hiking, exploring, biking, and cultural learning. At night, when the crowds leave and the temperatures cool, Mesa Verde becomes a stargazer’s paradise. 

Find unrivaled views of the Milky Way, constellations, and even planets when you time the trip right. Both the Montezuma and Mancos overlooks offer views away from the city lights and prime for galaxy views.

6. Lion’s Den Hiking Trail

You don’t have to travel far to enjoy an evening of stargazing. Above the city of Durango near Fort Lewis College, this scenic trail and overlook gives a bird's eye perspective of town. Watch the view of cars and city lights twinkle below and the bright night sky of stars above. 

7. The Lobo Overlook 

For the traveling explorers, the Lobo Overlook is not to be missed. You’ll find this view far above Pagosa Springs on the climb to Wolf Creek Pass. It’s a fair distance away from Durango, but with the full valley view underneath and massive expanse of sky overhead, this destination is as breathtaking as it is memorable.