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Colorado’s best fall colors, festivals and corn mazes

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Autumn offers a colorful time for adventures through the backroads of rural Colorado. Mother Nature’s masterpiece of fall foliage becomes the backdrop for memorable hikes and drives; farmers who are gathering delicious crops and produce from the land open their doors for harvest events and dinners. Outdoor recreation drops to a more relaxing pace with easier access to best-loved rivers and trails. Guest ranches and rural lodging offer enticing seasonal packages and lower rates, making fall an optimal time to explore the lesser-known corners of Colorado. Here are a few of our fall favorites:

Also, there are over 850 farms in Boulder County. Don’t miss our 5 must-dos for harvest season in Boulder. 

Fall Festivals

Downtown Boulder’s Fall Fest: Sept. 13–15, 2019
Boulder‘s autumn fest lines up music performances, a beer garden, local food vendors, a children’s carnival and more along the city’s beloved and bustling Pearl Street Mall.

 Chile & Frijoles Festival: Sept. 20–22, 2019
This event is your best chance to taste of the pride of Pueblo — a special, intensely flavorful variety of green chile. Served smoking on a stick, chopped and tucked into a quesadilla or sprinkled in salsa, it’s the star of this show. Cooking competitions, live music, dancing, arts and crafts, and a farmers’ market round out the festivities.

Oktoberfest Denver: Sept. 20–22 & Sept. 27–29, 2019
Oktoberfests around the world are largely about beer, but downtown Denver’s autumn celebration turns out fun for the whole family with a daschund derby that has to be seen to be believed, costume contests, food booths, polka dancing and live music.

Mountain Harvest Festival: Sept. 26–29, 2019
Colorado’s Western Slope town of Paonia covers all the festival bases at their annual celebration of harvest with live concerts, farmers’ markets, beer and wine tasting, a chili cook-off, arts and crafts, and farm tours. The bounty from locally owned orchards, ranches and farms brings in revelers from all over surrounding Delta County.

Elk Fest: Sept. 29–30, 2019
The beautifully haunting bugle of a bull elk is unmistakable, and every October spectators head to Estes Park to experience the phenomenon. The elk gather there, at the edge of Rocky Mountain National Park, to show off for their ladies during the start of the rutting (breeding) season. At Elk Fest, you can learn about these beasts’ behavior, observe them in their natural habitat, participate in a bugling contest and see performances by American Indians.

Applefest: Oct. 3–6, 2019
Driving into the small town of Cedaredge on Colorado’s Grand Mesa, you’ll pass row after heavenly row of trees bursting with shiny red and green apples beckoning you to sink your teeth in. At Applefest, more than 150 vendors share the area’s agricultural wealth with visitors, who can also check out a classic car and antique tractor show, bands and much more.

Punkin Chunkin: Sept. 21–22, 2019
See how far pumpkins can fly using a variety of air cannons, catapults and other wild contraptions at this long-time Aurora favorite. Pick pumpkins, watch an exciting chainsaw-carving competition, listen to live music, enjoy face-painting, pony rides, crafts and other family activities as well as a wide variety of food and beverage vendors.

Telluride Horror Show: Oct. 11–13, 2019
Already famous for film, Telluride is also embracing the spooky fun of October with this eighth-annual horror, fantasy and sci-fi film fest in the town’s historic Sheridan Opera House. 

Breckenridge Craft Spirits Festival: Oct. 19–21, 2019
Fall’s the time when spicy spirits become the perfect answer to chillier temps. Sip the best offerings from small-batch, artisan distillers and learn more about the distilling process in Breckenridge, a town with its own pioneering distillery. 

U-Pick Farms and Corn Mazes

Many Colorado farms offer opportunities in the fall to pick your own cherries, strawberries, carrots, tomatoes, melons, beets, squash, cucumbers and more. The most popular thing to pick by far this time of year is your own pumpkin. Find farm and ranch activities.

Farms across the state invite visitors to stroll rows of pumpkins searching for the perfect jack-o-lantern candidate. Many of them also offer corn mazes, hayrides, petting zoos, bobbing for apples and other hallmark activities of the season. See the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s list of pumpkin patches and corn mazes in your area.

 

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