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Autumn Adventuring in Colorado

As the leaves begin their transformation to a multitude of hues of red, Colorado beckons adventurous souls to embrace the wonders of autumn with festivals and events across the Centennial state. Here are a few to get you started on planning your Autumn Adventuring in Colorado

In the heart of Glenwood Springs, the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park stands as Colorado’s testament to human ingenuity. Ascend to the heavens on a gondola ride where autumn's mountain vistas stretch to the horizon. Atop this mountaintop amusement park, thrill-seekers will find their haven. Rollercoasters and swings grant exhilaration, while live music and delectable culinary offerings ensure no appetite goes unsatisfied. It's a playground for the senses, where adventure dances hand in hand with autumn's grandeur.

Embark on a scenic journey with the Colorado Historic Opera Houses Circuit, which leads to historic mountain towns such as Aspen, Central City, Leadville, Ouray, and Telluride. These towns not only offer elegant opera houses but also a wealth of entertainment and history tours amidst the golden aspens.

Autumn Adventuring in Colorado

Tabor Opera House. Photo: Craig Hensel

For a truly unforgettable fall journey, hop aboard the Rocky Mountaineer and spend two glorious days on the Rockies to the Red Rocks route which winds through ancient rock canyons and mountain ranges. Sit and enjoy the aspens as they transform before your eyes from green to shades of yellow, gold, orange, and red, all while traveling in luxury along the Colorado River. The Rocky Mountaineer runs between Denver and Moab in both directions with an overnight stop in Glenwood springs.

Autumn Adventuring in Colorado

Photo: Chip Sherman / Rocky Mountaineer

Silverthorne offers a range of fall adventures, from the Ptarmigan Trail which reveals panoramic views of mountain ranges including the Continental Divide, the Gore Range, the Tenmile Range and the Williams Fork Range. There are plenty of local companies offering guided fly fishing excursions, too. After a long day adventuring, relax with a beer and dinner at Timberline Craft Kitchen.

Twin Lakes, perched at 10,000 feet above sea level, offers an enchanting fall leaf-peeping experience. As bright yellow aspens blanket the mountainsides, hiking, scenic drives, and a ride aboard the Leadville Railroad beckon.

At Powderhorn Mountain Resort, you'll encounter some of Colorado's most magnificent autumnal splendor. Delight in the vivid contrast between the lush scrub oak and the glistening golden aspen trees along Highway 65. Along this scenic route, numerous pullouts beckon, offering excellent photo-worthy moments. For avid hikers, the Crag Crest Trail presents an ideal high-altitude trek atop the majestic expanse of the world's largest flat-topped mountain, graced by over 300 pristine lakes. Here, in this tranquil and secluded terrain, you'll be immersed in a landscape adorned with breathtaking hues, creating an experience truly awe-inspiring.

Grand Junction is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, and it truly comes alive in the autumn. Embrace the season by immersing yourself in the breathtaking golden foliage that blankets the expansive Grand Mesa, the world's largest flat-top mountain and home to Powderhorn Mountain Resort (see previous entry!). Venture into the rugged beauty of Colorado National Monument for invigorating hikes and canyoneering adventures. Discover the hidden treasures of Rattlesnake Canyon, which boats the second-largest congregation of naturally formed rock arches in the United States. Alternatively, tackle the legendary mountain biking trails that grace this storied terrain including the Palisade Plunge.

A truly bewitching sight is the spectacle of Kokanee Salmon as they embark on an extraordinary journey in the Crested Butte and Gunnison region. Over 20,000 of these rare landlocked salmon navigate 30 miles from Blue Mesa to Roaring Judy Hatchery for their sacred spawning ritual, and those with a penchant for angling, guided fishing excursions and self-led experiences abound.

As the season unfolds, the Colorado River becomes a serene playground for water enthusiasts. Extended rains and full reservoirs ensure that the river remains an aquatic playground well into autumn. Near Kremmling, there are opportunities for tranquil float-fishing trips, where the river mirrors the fiery foliage and creates a canvas of unmatched beauty. And for families seeking a touch of adventure, Glenwood Canyon and Glenwood Springs extend their hospitality with family-friendly rafting trips, keeping the spirit of summer alive through the golden days of October.

For a truly terrifying adventure, head to Anderson Farms in Erie. There is a 25-acre corn maze, wagon rides to the pumpkin patch, and barrel train rides. As darkness falls, brace yourself for Terror in the Corn, one of Colorado's top haunted attractions. Open Thursdays through Sundays until October 29th, Terror in the Corn is a mile-long trail of terror that invites you to meander through a living nightmare ending up at the forsaken town of Raven's Gulch, where you'll navigate its deserted structures and dimly lit streets, confronting nightmarish horrors at every twist and turn.

Autumn Adventuring in Colorado

Photo: Anderson Farms / Terror in the Corn

In Estes Park, Elk Fest ushers in the breathtaking mating season of the elk. Hundreds of these majestic creatures grace the village, bugling their love songs. Native American traditions, bugling contests, and live music fill the air, as the community comes together to honor these remarkable animals. Sept. 30-Oct. 1

Autumn in Colorado is no ordinary affair; it's a symphony of color, a dance of adventure, and a journey into the whimsical heart of the season. Here, the world transforms, and every step is a step into the extraordinary.


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