Fall colors have shown up in force in Colorado, and there are still two beautiful months left of the fall season! Here’s how to make the most of autumn in Colorful Colorado.
Peep the leaves
Take a scenic drive to see the changing fall colors in all their glory. Whether you carve out a full weekend to hit the road and soak up the golden hues of the aspen trees or whether you’ve only got time for a day trip, there are plenty of spots close to Colorado Springs and Denver that are perfect for leaf peeping.
From Colorado Springs, find beautiful fall colors plus epic mountain views on a drive through Cottonwood Pass, just west of Buena Vista. Stay more local with a drive on Pikes Peak Highway to enjoy the natural splendor right in your backyard, or take Highway 67 to Cripple Creek for sweeping views and a visit to the quaint historic town.
Denver residents can enjoy breathtaking drives within an hour of the city with spots like Guanella Pass, Kenosha Pass, Golden Gate Canyon, and Eldorado Canyon. There’s nothing quite like coasting through aspen passageways and watching the sunlight filter through golden leaves.
Witness the elk rut
Starting in September and lasting a month or so, the elk rut and the corresponding Elk Fest warrant a visit to Estes Park. Onlookers can post up at a safe distance to hear the male elk bugle and watch them herd and fight for mates. Estes Park puts on a themed Elk Fest each year to welcome wildlife watchers and leaf peepers. We’ve made this an annual fall destination for years and experiencing the elk up close never gets old!
Feeling spooky? While you’re in Estes Park, make a stop at the Stanley Hotel (the inspiration for The Shining) to enjoy a ghost tour, a supernatural performance, or a hot cup of tea.
Go on a hike
While summer may be a more popular season on Colorado’s hiking trails, fall and winter are arguably even more rewarding seasons for a hike. Cooler weather, smaller crowds, and breathtaking fall colors make every step worthwhile.
For a short, approachable hike with plenty of aspens to ogle, hike Legault Mountain in Conifer on a 5.2-mile trail. Over in Frisco, the 4.8-mile Rainbow Lake, Miner’s Creek route welcomes hikers of all skill levels. For a lengthier hike bursting with fall colors, head to the 11.7-mile Abyss trail in Grant. The out-and-back trail makes it easy to choose the length of your hike! If all else fails, Golden Gate Canyon State Park truly earns the “Golden” in its name — head into the park for tons of moderate trails and scenic drives.
Visit local breweries and cideries
Home to over 400 breweries, Colorado is packed with cozy spots to sip a beer and take in the autumn scenery. Fall is also the perfect time to explore the state’s cideries, from Colorado Cider Company in Denver to Boxing Brothers Ciderhouse in Colorado Springs. Up in Thornton, enjoy a tasty meal, a gorgeous mountain view, and a cider flight from a spot at Acreage by Stem Ciders. We recently celebrated my daughter’s birthday here after spending time at a pumpkin patch - the perfect fall afternoon!
Many of Colorado’s best autumn activities involve heading into the mountains. Remember that, while beautiful, mountain environments have different weather patterns than we do in Colorado Springs and Denver. Be sure your vehicle is prepared for winter conditions like snow and ice, and use caution on mountain roads.
What’s your favorite fall activity in Colorado? I’m happy to swap stories or answer any questions you have about moving to Colorful Colorado! Give me a call at 719-337-7254 or 720-498-9592.