Why Fall is the Best Time of Year to Visit Colorado

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When thinking of Colorado, many envision snowy ski slopes or summer hikes in the Rockies; however, those who have visited Colorado during the fall know that it’s arguably the best season to experience the state’s beauty and charm. Mild temperatures, changing foliage, and the vast availability of open trails and activities to participate in make Fall the quintessential time to vacation in Colorado. With services throughout Summit County, Vail Valley, and across the Front Range, Peak 1 Express will ensure you experience this majestic season in your favorite mountain town!

aspens in fall colorado

Vibrant Fall Foliage

 Colorado is renowned for its golden aspens that illuminate the mountains during fall. The shimmering leaves contrasted against the backdrop of evergreens and clear blue skies create an enchanting setting. The Vail Valley offers several hiking trails that take you through and above Colorado’s colorful aspens, and Summit County and Breckenridge host beautiful drives with opportunities to view the season’s colors. Maroon Bells near Aspen or the Kebler Pass near Crested Butte additionally boast some of the most breathtaking views of these golden landscapes, with late September to early October being the best time to witness the changing leaves!

aspen colorado

Comfortable Climate

 Fall ushers in moderate temperatures, making outdoor activities more enjoyable. While the summer heat can sometimes be overbearing for strenuous hikes, the cool but not freezing fall temperatures are just right. As reported by Current Results, average highs in cities like Denver range from 66-77°F in September and 55-65°F in October

Fewer Crowds

 Fall is considered the shoulder season in Colorado. This means most of the summer tourists have left, and the winter ski crowds haven’t yet arrived. This is especially advantageous for those looking for a serene escape, with more secluded trails, quieter towns, and better deals on lodging.

woman hiking on trails

Awe-inspiring Wildlife Watching

 Autumn is a fantastic time for wildlife enthusiasts. Elk mating season, or “rut,” occurs in the fall, providing a unique opportunity to observe these majestic creatures. Rocky Mountain National Park is a particularly popular spot for this. The haunting bugle call of the male elks, as it vies for the attention of their female counterparts, is a unique and exciting experience to witness. Estes Park even hosts an Elk Fest to celebrate this season of wildlife.


Fall Festivals

 Colorado takes its fall celebrations seriously! Whether it is Oktoberfest in Breckenridge or the Telluride Horror Show (film festival), Colorado offers a diverse range of events celebrating the state’s culture, art, and produce. Harvest and pumpkin festivals are also abundant, showcasing the season’s bounty.

Diverse Recreational Opportunities

 While Colorado’s ski season doesn’t kick into high gear until winter, there are plenty of other recreational activities to partake in. This includes mountain biking, where trails become even more scenic with fall colors. Fly Fishing is also exceptional during this time, with brown trout particularly active. Aerial adventures offer a high-flying unique thrill,, as you soar through the foliage on a Zipline course or climb high into the Rocky Mountains on a Via Ferrata assisted climbing experience. woman on tightrope via ferrata

Seasonal Delights

Only in the fall can you savor some of the state’s seasonal produce to its fullest. Enjoy apple picking in orchards, sip on fresh apple cider, or try pumpkin-flavored treats in local bakeries. Farmer markets in Summit County towns like Breckenridge or Dillon will be brimming with fresh harvest, offering a taste of Colorado’s authentic flavors.

person wearing socks standing on deck  

The Atmosphere

 There’s an undeniable magic about Colorado in the fall. The scent of pine trees mixed with crisp mountain air, the cozy feeling of bundling up in a sweater and exploring a mountain town, or the simple pleasure of watching leaves fall — atmospheric experiences that define Fall in Colorado. 

While Colorado is undoubtedly a year-round destination, Fall brings with it a unique charm and an array of unparalleled experiences. It offers a harmonious blend of natural beauty, outdoor activities, cultural events, and the pleasure of fewer crowds. Next time you’re planning a trip to the Centennial State, consider visiting in the fall, and you’re in for an unforgettable experience.  For more Fall ideas and destinations, check out our Ultimate Fall Road Trip, and discover how a Peak 1 Express can get you to your fall mountain destination!