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8 Best Things to Do in Colorado in the Fall

Fall is a fabulous time to visit Colorado, with frequent bright blue skies, crisp air, and countless fall festivals to enjoy. If you’ll be in the Rocky Mountain State in autumn, here are some of the most memorable things you can do while there.

Go Apple Picking Bright, juice apples ripe for picking
Credit: Bright, juice apples ripe for picking by Sokmean Nou via Unsplash

Go Apple Picking

What Is It? You can go apple picking throughout the state, including at Ya Ya Farm & Orchard in Longmont. This century-old orchard uses organic practices to grow its signature variety of heirloom apples.

Why Do It? Fall is apple season in Colorado, and you can get your fill of all kinds of delicious flavors – whether you like them sliced, diced, baked, sauced, candied, juiced, in pies, or fried over pork chops and all kinds of delectable dishes and desserts.

Good to Know: You can get your bag of fresh apples and then cuddle up with the farm animals, go on a hayride, indulge in apple cider donuts, and even press your own bottle of apple cider.

Celebrate Cowboy Culture Historic Strater Hotel Durango Colorado
Credit: Historic Strater Hotel Durango Colorado by © Maurie Hill | Dreamstime.com

Celebrate Cowboy Culture

What Is It? The Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering has been preserving the culture and stories of the American cowboy and ranching in southwest Colorado for decades.

Why Do It? You’ll get to enjoy some 40 cowboy poets, storytellers, and musicians attending to celebrate this rich tradition held in downtown Durango and headquartered at the historic Strater Hotel, which hosts evening performances at its Henry Strater Theater.

Good to Know: There are many other activities, including the Cowboy Parade, western art displays, the Cowboy Poet Train on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, and the Cowboy Poet Trail Ride at Rapp Corral.

Go Leaf Peeping Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Credit: Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado by © Kan1234 | Dreamstime.com

Go Leaf Peeping

What Is It? Leaf-peeping in Colorado has some of the best fall foliage in the country due to the vast amount of aspen groves and drive the Million Dollar Highway between Silverton and Ouray in southwest Colorado.

Why Do It? You can take the most beautiful scenic fall drive to Aspen to discover impressive hues of golden bronze and dazzling yellows along a drive on the Trail Ridge Road that runs through Rocky Mountain National Park.

Good to Know: Peak viewing time is typically from late September or early October through about mid-October, depending on the season and the particular elevation.

Hear the Elks Bugle in Rocky Mountain National Park Elk in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Credit: Elk in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado by Dreamstime.com

Hear the Elks Bugle in Rocky Mountain National Park

What Is It? There are many reasons to visit Rocky Mountain National Park in the fall, including Estes Park. It’s a beautiful mountain town to enjoy the spectacular fall foliage as it serves as its eastern gateway and hosts the annual Elk Fest.

Why Do It? The annual Elk Fest features amateur bugling, elk arts and crafts, elk education, and much more, all in honor of the season. In honor of the season, you can hear amateur bugling, elk arts and crafts, elk education, and much more.

Good to Know: It is elk mating season, and you can hear the elk bugle and get a close-up look at many forest animals.

Visit a Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze Anderson Farms
Credit: Anderson Farms by andersonfarms.com

Visit a Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze

What Is It? The Anderson Farms in Erie is where you’ll find the longest-running, 25-acre corn maze and pumpkin patch in Colorado.

Why Do It? On top of the fun of pumpkin patches and corn mazes, there are a wealth of other activities like hayrides, gem mining, gourd launching, pedal karts, and more.

Good to Know: There are other rather spooky attractions for Halloween, like the ghost town, Zombie Paintball Hunt, and Terror in the Corn.

Visit Colorado's Most Haunted Spots The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado
Credit: The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado by Bigstock.com

Visit Colorado's Most Haunted Spots

What Is It? Explore some of Colorado’s most haunted spots, like the inspiration behind Stephen King’s “The Shining” as he stayed at the more than 100-year-old Stanley Hotel in Estes Park.

Why Do It? There are nighttime spirit tours for some of the property’s creepiest corners, including an underground tunnel. Children’s laughter is reportedly frequently heard in the hallways despite being deserted, and mysterious spirits seem to enjoy unpacking visitors’ bags.

Good to Know: Other haunted hot spots include just about any hotel in Cripple Creek, Denver’s historic Brown Palace Hotel and Spa and the Molly Brown House Museum. You can also visit Elitch Gardens to attend Fright Fest, held every weekend in October.

Enjoy Cultural Attractions for Free Lion at the Denver Zoo
Credit: Lion at the Denver Zoo by © Gary Gray | Dreamstime.com

Enjoy Cultural Attractions for Free

What Is It? If you visit Denver, check out the calendar for the Denver Art Museum, Denver Zoo, and the Children’s Museum of Denver.

Why Do It? Denver offers numerous outstanding cultural attractions, and you can get in for free on certain days of the year for places like the Colorado Railroad Museum near Golden.

Good to Know: While not free, there are also many other budget-friendly activities in Colorado.

Drink Lots of Beer Denver Beer Co
Credit: Denver Beer Co by Denver Beer Co

Drink Lots of Beer

What Is It? If you’re a beer lover, you’ll be in paradise from Oktoberfest celebrations around the start of autumn and the Great American Beer Festival in Denver.

Why Do It? Between the many events and festivals, there are many breweries for touring and tasting throughout Colorado, many featuring special fall events and tastings of seasonal beers.

Good to Know: If you arrive early, you can also head to the Chili and Beer Festival in Mount Crested Butte.

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