In the space between summer fun and winter bliss, it can be easy to miss out on the wonder that is Colorado in the fall. As the weather begins to cool, it can be especially difficult to keep the winter wonderland daydreams at bay. But you must! Colorado in the fall is surely one of the most beautiful sights with some pretty great activities to enjoy. Here are 5 ways you can make the most of your fall in Colorado.
The Golden Aspen Hew
Perhaps the most renowned facet of Colorado’s fall season is the beautiful fall colors. Throughout the Colorado Rockies are sections of road that wind through a kaleidoscope of oranges, yellows, and browns. A relatively inexpensive way to enjoy Colorado in the fall, check out this list for some of the best fall drives. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Trail Ridge Road – In northern Colorado from Estes Park to Grand Lake, this scenic byway comes fully loaded with hairpin turns and endless mountain sides of fall colors. A two-hour drive, this is a can’t-miss route to view fall foliage.
- Independence Pass – In central Colorado, this beautiful shortcut from HWY24 through Twin Lakes to Aspen is sure to impress. Summiting at 12,095 feet, this 45-minute drive will easily take you an hour and a half to complete once you’ve stopped at its many breathtaking vistas.
- Highway of Legends – In southern Colorado, this old mining route could be easily overlooked. This 85-mile stretch on HWY12 from Walsenburg to Trinidad offers endless golden sites and gorgeous views of the Sangre de Cristos and Spanish Peaks.
The Bugle Allure
Many go a lifetime without seeing an elk in the wild. But these elusive giants appear in droves in Colorado during the fall. From September through October you can witness the once-in-a-lifetime sight of the elk rut when hundreds of elk come down from the mountains for their mating season. If this treat for the eyes doesn’t impress you, the chorus of bull-elk bugles will. We recommend traveling to Kawuneeche Valley on the west side of the Rockies or Estes Park on the east to get the full experience of this spectacle.
The Mountain Trails
With all of the natural wonders of Colorado in the fall, sometimes the best way to take it all in is by foot. Between the Rockies and the plethora of national parks, Colorado is bursting with beautiful mountain trails. With the crisp air, the active wildlife, and the wonderful fall foliage, a trip to Colorado would be incomplete without a fall hike. Here are a few to consider during your fall in Colorado:
- The Maroon Bells – 12 miles southwest of Aspen, you can choose from five trails ranging from easy to moderate and witness the majesty of the Maroon Bells. Check out this guide to be sure you don’t miss a single stream, lake, or golden aspen groove.
- Alberta Falls – This mile-and-a-half roundtrip hike is 12 miles from Estes Park in Rocky Mountain National Park. Treat your ears to the thunderous sound of the falls crashing into Glacier Creek, one of the most popular hikes in the park. Here’s a guide to help you make the most of it.
- Fountain Valley Trail – Located in Roxborough State Park, allow yourself to wonder at the jagged mountainous structures along this trail. Just 45 minutes from Denver, this easy hike is perfect in the fall. Take a look at this guide to help stir your excitement.
The Collective Experience
The perfect climate of Colorado in the fall offers the ideal opportunity to grab tickets to some of its many fall festivals. Music, beer, and Halloween are just a few of the many genres of festival you can choose from. From big cities to rural mountainsides, there’s sure to be an environment just right for your trip. Here are some festivals to consider for your Colorado fall adventure:
- Poudre Pour – An annual event hosted in Windsor, CO. Learn of the history of the Cache La Poudre River and become a little more acquainted with Northern Colorado. Complete with tasty beer, delicious food, live music, and loads of fun activities, this event is perfect for the whole family.
- Elk Fest – Combining the festival experience with the mystery of the elk bugle, this festival is truly a Colorado experience. Located in Estes Park, take in the beauty of the Rockies and discover the courting tactics of the bull elk at this Colorado festival.
- Denver Ghost Tour – Not quite a festival, but exploring the haunted parts of Colorado is a must in the fall. Tour the tunnels used to skirt authorities during the prohibition, uncovering some shady history with a beer in hand. A perfect event for embracing the Halloween spirit in Colorado.
The Bronco Pride
When in Rome, and by Rome we mean Colorado, catch a Broncos football game. The proud state of Colorado arrives by the masses to support their beloved Denver Broncos, and if you’re interested in experiencing the native culture, this is a prime spot. Be sure to make a day of it with a tailgate before and grab your seats before kick-off so you don’t miss the skydivers making their entrance. Take a look at the Broncos’ schedule to find a date for your Colorado-in-the-fall itinerary.
Don’t Miss Colorado in the Fall
With the year-round beauty of Colorado offering so much to look forward to, we couldn’t let you overlook Colorado in the fall. Be sure to include a few of these fall events to make your trip all the more memorable. Looking for more ideas for your Colorado trip? Check out our blog — we’ve got lots of ideas for you.