The Ultimate Durango, CO Visitors Guide for Fall and Summer

There are absolutely moments in life when nothing sounds better than packing a suitcase, leaving worries behind, and hitting the open road or skies in pursuit of endlessly appealing destinations. For many travelers, finding a place that pairs scenic beauty with plenty of options for fun is a key to an amazing and potentially unforgettable stay!

If you’re fortunate enough to have time this summer or fall to travel and are looking for a place to land that’s inspiring, welcoming, and undoubtedly beautiful—a trip to Durango, Colorado is bound to please. No matter what your reasons for traveling may be or who you find yourself arriving in the city alongside, Durango is a delightful all-seasons destination that just happens to be a particularly vibrant and fun place to be in both the summer and fall seasons. Let our Durango, CO visitors guide ensure your vacation is nothing short of spectacular.

For those with a heart for history, the railroad past that dominates the Durango landscape promises to provide countless moments of inspiration and learning along the way. For those that can’t wait to get up close to ancient structures and abodes, this is a place that offers up a unique chance to encounter the architectural remnants that First Nation tribes left behind. From mining roots to mesmerizing mountains that call to outdoor adventurers, Durango brings the small-town charm and pairs it with endless possibilities too. Whether you’re traveling solo, as a couple on a romantic adventure or you’re here with family and friends at your side, there are a few stops and activities that you simply won’t want to miss along the way. To that end, feel free to add the following to the very top of your itinerary to make it an exceptional Durango experience!

Things to Do While You’re Here: History Comes to Life in the Modern Durango

In Durango, part of the thrill of a trip this way in the summer or fall revolves around the fact that nearly everywhere you look, history and modernity find a way to work hand-in-hand. This charming destination has its roots as a mining town dating back to the 1880s when the Denver & Rio Grande Railway paved a path to prosperity and brought along with it a wild west culture that has long since captivated locals and visitors alike. While some pieces of the past are evident in the form of architecture and downtown style, other details may get lost along the way if you don’t take the time to ask the experts. That’s why booking a Horsefly History Tour while you’re in town is such a great idea!

 

These small-group walking tours through historic downtown Durango are designed to introduce visitors to the lesser-known details of the city’s past which sometimes present themselves in the form of stories revealing mayhem, mining scandals, and even murder! As you stroll along Main Street alongside your knowledgeable and engaging guide, you’ll earn those tasty tidbits of information that will keep you wanting more related to the town’s past. You may even get the chance to venture underground to tunnels that were responsible for helping miners access their work each and every day right beneath the feet of passerby’s. Horsefly History Tours are capped at 10 people max, making it a convenient and even intimate experience for guests with plenty of time and space for questions along the way.

Participants are invited to book their place on a 90-minute walking tour of downtown or go for something a bit more intense and try the 90-minute nighttime ghost tour (particularly appealing in the fall). This tour begins in one of Durango’s most haunted destinations and guides guests through places where paranormal activity is said to thrive!

For all of the talk about the intrigue of train town living as you tour Durango, there’s nothing quite like experiencing the ride for yourself. Visitors in the summer and fall shouldn’t miss out on a chance to hop aboard a train that still resembles the experience one might have had if they had visited in the 1800s. The Denver & Rio Grande Railroad which was once exclusively dedicated to hauling freight has been maintained in the modern age as a passenger service and offers up the option to book a ticket that takes you through a spectacularly scenic route in historic style. Tour tickets can be booked in tandem with additional excursion options like ATV adventures, white water rafting, zip-lining, horseback riding, and more if you’re looking to turn a single tour into a day filled with fun activities!

Durango tours railroad along mountainside

Once you’ve had a chance to take in the terrain in authentic and historic Durango style, make your way to the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum when you have a moment – one of Durango’s many musuems. There’s no entrance fee to enjoy this educational experience which is wonderful for visitors of all ages interested in learning even more about the railroad’s influence on their vacation destination of choice. The museum sprawls across 12,000 square feet and is comprised of various exhibits and displays that showcase historical information and railroad artifacts alike. There are even a variety of engines and interactive train models for little ones to get their hands on!

If history is a primary focus of your summer or fall journey to Durango, you certainly won’t want to miss the time spent at Mesa Verde National Park. While these designated historic lands are protected and toured today, once upon a time, they were the dwelling places of the First Nation Ancestral Pueblo people. Cliffside cave dwellings can be viewed from a distance at this National Park with options to take a closer look available with the purchase of ranger-led tours. Either way, it’s an incredible moment to get close to a place and people’s history that’s seemingly frozen in time.

Get Into the Great Outdoors of Durango

Durango is a summer and fall destination saturated in history that’s sure to be enjoyed, but the great part about a trip this way is the versatility when it comes to options for enjoyment. That said, visitors won’t want to forget to set time aside to enjoy the beauty of nature here too! A good place to start is the Animas River Trail which is bound to be a vibrant route in the summer and fall. At just over 9 miles long, this convenient and paved pathway follows the iconic Animas River right through town and at certain points, aligns with the Durango and Narrow Gauge Railroad corridor as well. Stretching from Animas City Park to River Road, the Animas River Tail makes its way across not only five bridges worth checking out, but through several city parks if you’re interested in making scenic and fun stops along the way!

 

Animas River

As you walk along the trail, it’s common to spot kayaks, canoes, and inner tubers making their way on the water at your side. While spotting them is fun, it can also be inspiring when you’re putting together a must-do list for further outdoor activity in the area as well! There are plenty of river access points along this trail that can be used for further adventure if some time on the water has you intrigued. Of course, for those who prefer to just take the scenery in, a stop at the scenic overlook at River Park promises to please.

If you’re a traveler to Durango in the summer or fall with a heart for casting a line and seeing what bites, you’ll be delighted to know that this area is particularly popular with anglers and in particular, fly fishing finds its stride in waters that flow through this region. Trout can easily be caught in the middle of the Animas River for those who prefer to stick closer to town. If you’re up for venturing a little further out to make the most of nature’s bounty, take time to head towards the Weminuche Wilderness Area and try your luck at the tailwaters of the San Juan River right below the Navajo Dam.

For those interested in learning more about the fish population in this area, a stop at the Durango State Fish Hatchery and Wildlife Museum is a must! Dating back to 1893, this fish hatchery and museum plays a vital role in raising four types of trout species including rainbow, brown, Snake River cutthroat, and Colorado River cutthroat. The hatchery also raises Kokanee salmon. Visitors to the hatchery are invited to stroll the grounds, feed the trout, and view the ponds as well.

Shop Historic Downtown Durango

When you’ve had your fill of outdoor adventure and you could stand to spend some time indulging in retail therapy, historic downtown Durango really is a one-stop resource for just about everything you could be looking for. This area is packed with vintage stores, art galleries, souvenir shops, and clothing boutiques that make it simple to find exactly what you had in mind. There are several book stores and jewelry stores in this area as well as a collection of pottery and wood-carving specialty shops that are great for finding one-of-a-kind souvenirs to take back home and remember your adventure in Durango by.

Places to Eat in Durango, CO

Every amazing summer or fall trip deserves to include a few savory stops along the way. Fortunately, when you set your travel sights on Durango, Colorado, there is no shortage of eateries to choose from that promise to be a treat for the palate. Among them is definitely Ken and Sue’s. Located at 636 Main Avenue, Ken and Sue’s has long been a well-loved favorite bistro in the area where visitors are invited to take a seat indoors where a dark-wood aesthetic adds a cozy touch to the dining experience. Guests can just as easily choose to sit on the spacious outdoor patio and pair their savory plate with a vibrant downtown vibe. Either way, service is known to be wonderfully friendly at Ken and Sue’s and the menu is made to match. This stop serves up Asian-inspired fare, seafood, and steak alongside a wide variety of decadent dessert options that guarantee everyone dining here will end their experience on a super sweet note!

When you’re more in the mood for a quick and delicious bite in less of a sit-down atmosphere, swinging by Michel’s Corner Crepes is always a good idea in Durango. Situated at 598 Main Avenue, this charming crepe stand offers up a variety of sweet and savory crepe options that can be paired with a selection of beer and wine upon request. Once you’ve ordered, take a seat at the outdoor dining area, and enjoy a crepe in French style right in the heart of Durango!

Where to Stay in Durango, CO

While a trip to Durango is sure to inspire thoughts of adventure and exploration, knowing you have accommodations booked in the area that keep you close to the fun and pair the adventure with style, luxury, and convenience can make the experience that much more fulfilling! When it’s time to transition travel plans into a reality, partnering up with the property professionals at Durango Colorado Vacations is a great way to find yourself in a home away from home that speaks to customized preferences at every turn.

rentals in Durango

The team at Durango Colorado Vacation offers guests access to a portfolio of rental property options that span varying styles, designs, and aesthetics made to meet traveler needs and exceed expectations at every turn. While features like tasteful furnishings, open concept floor plans, and bright and airy spaces come standard, guests can pick and choose elevated and customized extras that take personal preference into account in a welcoming way!

From mountain resort properties that provide access to scenic mountain trails to rentals that feature fantastic hot tubs, and pet-friendly amenities, no request is too big or too small for this vacation rental company to handle.

Whether it’s a mountain view rental that would make the difference or a lake view rental that would elevate your stay, Durango Colorado Vacation’s portfolio of options includes the chic cabins, cozy abodes, and luxurious residences that guests crave when they’re head to Durango and far from home. Reach out today to learn more and to book your stay!