background img

Ultimate Guide to Fall in Colorado: Best Fall Colors, Hikes and Drives

Colorado has the most incredible fall colors and Mile High Mamas is your resource for enjoying Colorado’s fall splendor! From shimmering reds, golds and oranges to pumpkin patches to ghost towns and farms, we are your resource for fall. Don’t miss:

Scroll to the bottom for even more resources for enjoying fall in Denver and enjoy Colorado.com’s top picks below.

1. TRAIL RIDGE ROAD

The highest continuous paved road in North America winds through Rocky Mountain National Park from Estes Park in the east to Grand Lake in the west. With more than eight miles above 11,000 feet and a maximum elevation of 12,183 feet, Trail Ridge Road is an amazing vantage point for leaf peepers and is a favored spot for photographers. It’s also electric-vehicle ready, so charge up and get ready to roll. The Rocky Mountain Conservancy offers guided hikes and tours and volunteer opportunities in the park.

2. PHOTOGRAPHER’S FAVORITE: KEBLER PASS

Gunnison is home to Kebler Pass, which boasts the largest aspen grove in North America and is one of renowned photographer John Fielder’s favorite places. Ohio Creek Road is a great starting point, as it passes some unique natural landscapes, including a series of ranch buildings marking the abandoned site of Castleton and the spires of “The Castles” — remnants of volcanic ash and mud that erupted from the West Elk Volcano some 30 million years ago. Note: The pass is unpaved and closed in winter. Don’t miss our recent article on Crested Butte, our family’s favorite mountain playground in Colorado

3. THE SAN JUAN SKYWAY

San Juan Skyway, a breathtaking 236-mile loop through the San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado, offers visitors an amazing array of fall colors and includes a 70-mile stretch known simply as the Million Dollar Highway. The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad offers rides that coincide with optimal fall foliage. Another unique way to experience Colorado’s fall colors is with Soaring® Tree Top Adventures, home to 27 zip lines that pass by brilliant aspens.

4. MAROON BELLS

The iconic Maroon Bells, two towering 14,000-foot mountains nestled in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, are the most photographed peaks in North America. Located in the 2.3-million-acre White River National Forest, the Maroon Bells tower over numerous hiking trails that offer unbeatable views of golden aspen trees. To see this magnificent site you must have a reservation.

5. WESTERN SLOPE COLORS

Colorado’s Western Slope is home to the Grand Mesa, the world’s largest flat-top mountain, and Colorado wine country. In addition to the reds, whites and rosés made in Grand Junction and Palisade, fall brings with it glorious colors. Powderhorn Mountain Resort’s vibrant scrub oaks contrast with golden shimmering aspens along Grand Mesa scenic and historic byway, which is one of the state’s electric-vehicle-friendly byways. 

6. BUFFALO PASS

This dirt road just west of Steamboat Springs, is lined with rows of glowing aspen groves. The pass winds 8 miles up toward the Continental Divide and Summit Lake, offering stunning views of the surrounding foliage. As the fall colors become more robust, locals recommend a hike to the pristine Zirkel Wilderness Area’s Three Island Lake Trail, which takes hikers through coniferous forests and high meadows, past glacial lakes and vistas. The 6.1-mile (round-trip) trail is moderate in difficulty.

7. LA VETA PASS

Peaking at an altitude of more than 9,400 feet, the La Veta Pass on U.S. Route 160 in southern Colorado (west of the town of La Veta) is one of the most scenic drives in the state during the fall season. Gold aspen trees mixed with dark green pines line the pass, while the magnificent Spanish Peaks and Sangre de Cristo Mountains tower over the foliage of the San Luis Valley.Fall in Telluride

8. FREE GONDOLA RIDE

The Telluride Free Gondola is one of the most popular ways to view Telluride’s amazing fall colors. The aerial views include the town of Telluride, its box canyon and colorful valleys lined with aspens and evergreens. For yet another way to see Telluride’s foliage, several trailheads are located right in town. Locals suggest the Jud Wiebe Trail, a 3-mile loop that winds through large aspen groves and passes by Comet Falls.

9. DALLAS DIVIDE

Colorado Hwy. 62 over the Dallas Divide represents an epic fall Colorado drive. Starting near Ridgway, visitors can get an amazing view of Mount Sneffels, one of Colorado’s 58 fourteeners, and the expansive Sneffels Wilderness Area, which offers several hiking trails for those wishing to venture out farther. The route eventually connects with Hwy. 45 and Lizard Head Pass, which offers views of Wilson Peak, the very mountain that inspired the iconic Coors logo. Read about other famous Colorado mountains.

10. FRONT RANGE FOLIAGE

Peak to Peak scenic and historic byway is Colorado’s oldest, having been established in 1918. The byway starts in Boulder and offers unmatched views of the Continental Divide and its dramatic fall colors. Though the byway is less than 60 miles in length, there are numerous stop off points along the route, including Rocky Mountain National Park, Golden Gate Canyon State Park, the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests, and the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, all of which offer their own unique vantage points for leaf peepers.

Colorado’s Best Fall Colors

Top 20 places to see fall foliage in Colorado (divided up by time of year and elevation!)

Guide to Colorado’s Best Fall Drives, Hikes and Leaf Peeping

Colorado travel: 5 scenic byways for fall colors

Fall Colors: Five Colorado towns that glow gold

 Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. While clicking these links won’t cost you extra money, they help us keep this site up and running. See our disclosure policy.

Crested Butte: My family’s favorite mountain playground in Colorado

I wasn’t prepared for the full-circle moment I had when my family returned to Crested Butte, Colorado before my recently graduated daughter Hadley moved out. We have been visiting this mountain hamlet since she was 1 year old. We named my son as we watched “Bode” Miller bomb the Torino Olympic Winter Games while we were cozily holed up in our CB condo. The kids attended the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory’s Summer Camp in nearby Gothic, a dramatic, dreamlike valley where pure glacial waters cascade down the mountainside. It has been a couple of years since our last visit but everything was just as I remembered: The quirky, multi-hued National Historic District with burgeoning flowers spilling from the hanging baskets and the outer-world beauty of Red Lady (Mount Emmons).Crested Butte Sea Level Spa

Crested Butte is the ultimate year-round family vacation with world-class skiing, mountain biking, wildflowers, hikes, and tributes to the arts. We have so many traditions here. Stay at The Lodge at Mountaineer Square. Relish in Crested Butte Wildflower Festival’s 10-day festival and swoon to the Crested Butte Music Festival’s live music. Bomb down the slopes at Crested Butte Ski Resort. Glide across the 55 km of maintained Nordic ski track. Hike Snodgrass Mountain at sunrise.  Spy on the beavers at our special spot off Slate River Road. Explore Kebler Pass’s glorious aspen goodness in the fall.  Scroll to the bottom for even more family-friendly recommendations. 

Crested Butte has many roots and ours are planted deep. 

Crested Butte Family Vacation Tips

Mountain Biking

My family is hosting a Spanish exchange student, Pablo, for the 2022/23 school year. When he noted on his student exchange application that he enjoys mountain biking, we chuckled. He’s a city-dweller from Madrid; how much real mountain biking had he done? Unsurprisingly, exposing Pablo to Crested Butte’s Mountain Bike Mecca was a whole new ballgame (but he did great!) 

Crested Butte Lower Loop

(Crested Butte Lower Loop)

Eighty percent of the land surrounding Crested Butte Mountain Resort is open space and the Gunnison Valley is renowned as one of the birthplaces of mountain biking. Without a doubt, Crested Butte has the best mountain biking in Colorado–from Crested Butte Mountain’s epic downhill trails to the world-famous 401 (when you’re this good, you don’t need a real name) in Gothic Valley.

 If you’re looking for a challenge, Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s vast trail network has 30+ miles of singletrack to complement the more than 750 miles open to mountain biking in the Gunnison Valley. Not a biker? Hitch a ride from the Silver Queen Lift (an additional cost) where hikers can easily summit the iconic 12,162-foot Crested Butte Mountain in just a couple of hours. 

We planned two days on bikes: We would get Pablo initiated on the town’s trail system and then introduce him to the big guns: lift-serviced downhill at Crested Butte Mountain. 

Crested Butte’s Lower Loop

On Day 1, we took the free shuttle from the Lodge at Mountaineer Square four miles down the mountain into the town of Crested Butte to pick up our rental bikes from The Alpineer, a full-service outdoor equipment shop and local’s favorite.

We started out on the family-friendly terrain of the Lower Loop, a popular trail just outside of town that meanders along the Slate River while passing cobalt-blue Peanut Lake and the Gronk, a large cement structure from historic mining days. We followed it for a few miles with the Paradise Divide mountain range as the backdrop, our vision crowded with lupine, mule ears and dwarf larkspur.

 Just as we were about to turn onto Gunsight Pass Road and connect to the Upper Lower Loop, we remembered a staffer at The Alpineer told us we could take a detour to Oh-Be-Joyful Falls, one of the area’s hidden charms. Without the aid of a map, we found ourselves navigating extreme terrain with some technical steep switchbacks. There were a few freakout moments (from me, not Pablo) so we turned back to the Upper Lower Loop, stopped for a photo opp at Gunsight Bridge overlooking picnicking families playing in the Slate River and looped back into town to enjoy the Crested Butte Farmer’s Market–the best of all the worlds.  

Note: If you’d like longer explorations, start at the intermediate-level Lupine Trail in the Saddle Ridge subdivision which eventually connects to the Lower Loop trails. 

Mt. Crested Butte Mountain Bike Park

Crested Butte Mountain Resort offers an abundance of riding options from lift-serviced double black downhill-specific trails to meandering cross-country trails that can be ridden in both directions. Note: Trails can be ridden without purchasing a lift ticket, but be sure you only ride up trails that allow uphill traffic.

Hadley does not prefer downhill riding and instead chose to visit the fitness center at the Lodge. I opted for my own adventure. There is a paved recreational bike path that extends from the town of Crested Butte up up up 4 miles to the base of Mt. Crested Butte and keeps going another few miles to the base of Snodgrass Mountain which, in my opinion, has some of the best wildflower views and hiking/biking in town. That was my adventure.

(View from Snodgrass Mountain)

(View from Snodgrass Mountain)

That left the downhill warriors: My husband Jamie who thought he was 16 (but did not feel 16 the morning after his ride). Pablo, who was adjusting to his new life of adventure after journeying from sea level to 9,000 feet (and trying to adapt to our ridiculous non-metric system). And my son Bode who is on the high school’s mountain bike team and left them both in his dust. 

They picked up their bike rentals at the CBMR Rental & Demo Center at the base area. The friendly staffers not only outfitted them with their downhill bikes sized to their weight and height specifications but also all the padding, equipment and knowledge they would need for a successful ride.Crested Butte downhill biking

They rode up the Red Lady Express and started on beginner terrain (Hotdogger, Awakening and Downtime). After Jamie and Pablo called it quits, Bode kept exploring harder and harder terrain like Luge, Frequency and Teaser; the expert terrain like Captain Jack and Psycho Rocks are the most technical, sketchy rock gardens at the resort and best reserved for, well, the psychos. 

The stunning downhill rips were the boys’ favorite part of the whole trip and Bode, in particular, couldn’t get enough.  On his Strava app, he proudly boasted he had managed the art of going straight uphill. My snide comment, “Yes, it’s called a chairlift,” brought him downhill a few notches but guaranteed, the terrain at Crested Butte Mountain Resort is top notch.

Crested Butte Adventure Park and Mountaintop Adventure

Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s base area has evolved over the years. In the past, we raced across the zipline and skated on the outdoor rink in the summertime.  Currently, the main summer offerings include hiking, 3D Archery, disc golf, scenic chairlift rides and the Adventure Park’s rock climbing wall, a bungee trampoline and gem panning. Disc Golf Crested Butte

Crested Butte’s Extreme Disc Golf for Idiots

We like to try at least one new adventure when we visit Crested Butte and we targeted 10-3 @CB Disc Golf atop Red Lake Express Lift as our next conquest. I now realize I should have done my research prior to attempting it. I figured you start at a tee pad and throw the disc toward a target (the basket); how difficult could it be beyond that? Pro tip: If you’ve never played an organized game of disc golf, Crested Butte was recently named one of the top 25 courses in America and is not the place to start. 

The reason? This is a mountain course. Mountains are big. They have trees. They have rocky terrain. They have prickly things.  I assumed there would be some kind of a map or guidance at the summit where we started but we couldn’t find either so we ended up winging it. We later found out there are two courses–a shorter, more gentle course that loops back to the lift and a long 18-hole course that takes you all the way down to the base. We chose the latter. Note: there is a cost for the lift but the course is free; bring your own discs).

Disc Golf Expert

(The flying Spaniard)

We actually had a lot of fun in our naivety. The views were spectacular and sure, there was a lot of incompetence but there was also a lot of laughter. I even made par on one of the holes.  There is a trail between baskets with a small arrow pointing to the next hole but if you’re not adept at throwing the disc, expect to do a lot of bushwhacking. And lose a disc (or two). That’s what the Americans did. Bode lost his disc on the very first throw but fortunately, we found another in a wooded area we called the black hole. Pablo specialized in long, beautiful glides; apparently, his bull-fighting background makes him adept at this extreme sport.

Butte 66 Crested Butte

(Butte 66)

The longer disc golf course winds its way to the base area and after about an hour, we were only halfway through the 18-hole course so decided to just cut our (many) losses: we hiked the rest of the way down and drowned our America vs. Spain sorrows in Butte 66 Bar and Grill’s signature pulled pork and brisket. 

Losing never tasted so good.

=======================================================

Where to Eat in Crested Butte

Speaking of tasting good, here are a few of our favorite restaurants for dinner in Crested Butte. 

Breadery Crested Butte. 209 Elk Ave., Crested Butte | 970-319-5118. Peace. Love. Gluten. A sourdough and vegetable-forward eatery, bar, and bakehouse, featuring handmade pizzas, artisan cocktails, and all the bread you could ever want.  This place is a carb-lover’s dream (with several other options like their seasonal salads).  This new-to-me eaterie replaced my favorite restaurant in town and though nothing will ever live up to Django’s crispy Brusells sprouts, the Breadery is a welcomed addition.breaderycb.com

(The Slogar)

(The Slogar)

The Secret Stash: 303 Elk Ave.| Crested Butte| 970-349-6245. Known for its infamous specialty pizzas and unique atmosphere, The Secret Stash is legend.  Try the Notorious Fig (the winner of the World Champion Piza Challenge) of my family’s favorite, Asher’s Pie, with a BBQ and chipotle base, Canadian bacon and grilled chicken. Oh, and the Crack Fries tossed in parmesan, green onions, and white truffle oil and endlessly epic as well.  secretstashpizza

The Slogar. 517, 2nd Street, Crested Butte | 970-349-5765.  Cajun & southern eatery famous for its fried chicken, this restaurant is a Crested Butte staple. Meals are served family style and guests have the choice of fried chicken or grilled steak (though sources told us it was a travesty if we order anything other than the chicken). Prices were expensive but we also had two meals worth of leftovers the next day. 

Our evening at The Slogar gave us one of the most memorable moments of the trip when we tried to introduce Pablo to The Slogar’s delicious coleslaw. He is a very polite boy (in addition to being a disc golf expert), so when he turned us down by saying, “No thank you. I don’t like garbage,” we thought that was a bit harsh. Until we realize he meant “cabbage,” not “garbage” but you’d better believe that’s what we’ll call it from now on. www.slogarcb.com

(Lodge at Mountaineer Square)

(Lodge at Mountaineer Square)

Lodge at Mountaineer Square

We have stayed in many different condos and VRBOs in Crested Butte but we always come back to the convenience and luxury of The Lodge at Mountaineer Square. The property offers everything from king rooms to four-bedroom accommodations(with full kitchens and washer/dryer) in the heart of the base area, just steps from the lift. They have a free shuttle to town, great staff, an indoor/outdoor swimming pool, hot tub, sauna, fitness center and underground parking. The Lodge at Mountaineer Square has everything you’d ever want in your Colorado family vacation. 

Fall in Crested Butte

Crested Butte is open daily through Labor Day, and after that they are open Friday-Sunday through Sept. 25. The Silver Queen Express will close following Labor Day, but all other operations will continue through the extended season (Adventure Park, Butte 66, disc golf, archery course, and bike haul & scenic lift rides on the Red Lady Express). Fall is arguably the most beautiful time in the Valley so don’t miss the chance to experience the changing colors and falling leaves later into the season! Also, don’t miss the Chili & Beer Festival on Sept. 10 for locally made Chili and Colorado-brewed beer that draws both locals and visitors to the base area for a music and chili-filled afternoon.
 
Follow CBMR’s new blog for updates on the resort’s latest happenings! 

Other Crested Butte Family Travel Recommendations

Crested Butte Family Vacation: Where to Stay & Play

Best family-friendly trails near Crested Butte 
 
A local’s guide to Gunnison’s Magical Summers Part 1from mountain and road biking to hiking to water fun. 
 
A Local’s Guide to Gunnison’s Magical Summers Part II–including family activities like the rodeo, history museum, and where to find the best restaurants and drinks in Gunnison. 

Denver Deals: Taste of Colorado, RiNo Arts & More!

I’ve written about deals several times at Mici’s Italian. I was invited to try their dinner this week at their newest location at Southglenn! I’m very excited. Then we will head downtown to play a bit of putt-putt at the Pixar Putt at McGregor Square. Sounds like an awesome night out to me.

Taste of Colorado.  Taste of Colorado is back at Civic Center Park this weekend. This annual Labor Day Festival is back! Food from all across the state. Plus, play in the Kid’s zone, visit vendor booths and listen to one of loads of entertainment all for FREE!

 RiNo Arts. The RiNo arts festival is September 5-11, with workshops, murals, music and more. Most of the events are free. Plus go to Luminade – a three-night, celebration of the new light installations at ArtPark. And the kids will love Camp RiNo.

 Movies. Do you have plans for this weekend? What about going to the movies? On Saturday, September 3, movies will be just $3 at several theaters across the nation – on National Cinema Day.

 Four Mile Historic Park Pumpkin Harvest Festival. October may feel like a long way away, but now is the time to get your tickets for the Pumpkin Harvest Festival at Four Mile Historic Park on October 8 and 9. Tickets are on sale to purchase visit: https://www.fourmilepark.org/pumpkin-harvest-festival/

 Ski Season Passes. If you like to ski or are thinking of getting a pass this year, now is the time to do it. I know it is hard to think of snow when it feels like it is still summer. You only have until Labor Day to get the Epic Pass and Ikon pass at their lowest prices (seriously, waiting just one week after Labor Day could cost you $20/pass more). There are also often deals right around Labor Day for other ski areas as they introduce their packages for this ski year.

Consignment Sales. I love consignment sales especially when it is kid’s clothes. We have once again rounded up the season’s best sales for you! Sales will begin again on September 15 with the Just Between Friends of Douglas County sale! Visit our page for details all season long.

 Free Concerts and Movies. Rounding the last few weeks of summer, but arguably the best weather to be sitting outside one evening for great music or a movie. Find free Denver outdoor concerts or outdoor movies to enjoy with the whole family outside!

Contest: Cheap and Easy Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner Recipes from Shamrock Foodservice Warehouse

Colorado moms: Are you dreading packing school lunches and needing some extra help in the morning to prepare a healthy, time-saving breakfast? Oh, and none of us can ever forget the need to provide quick and tasty dinners for our busy families. Every. Single. Night. 

Add inflation into the mix and it feels overwhelming to find an affordable supplier of food.

BUT–What it doesn’t have to mean is wasting precious time shopping multiple stores for the freshest products and best deals. At Shamrock Foodservice Warehouse, home shoppers have access to fresh produce and dairy, high-quality meats, a vast freezer section and thousands of wholesale groceries from peanut butter and jelly to rice and beans to fruit snacks and granola bars.Shamrock Foods

And, access to their amazing (yet not overwhelming) aisles does not require a membership! With locations in Colorado Springs, Denver, Farmington and Grand Junction, our Mile High Mamas can (and should) visit a store today.

To give you a small sampling of what you’ll find at this wholesale grocery store, here are a few items that recently made it into our carts:

  1.     Bountiful Harvest Frozen Berries and Chobani Yogurt for nutrient-packed breakfast smoothies.
  2.     Markon’s Ready-Set-Serve bagged spinach and Fair Meadow Shredded Cheddar Jack Cheese to compliment kids’ (and your) lunches.
  3.     Frito Lay Chips and Nabisco Assorted Crackers for after-school snacking.
  4.     Pierport Shrimp and Stouffer’s Meat & Tomato Lasagna for dinner in a flash.
  5.     Victor Allen K-cups and Monin gourmet syrups for endless coffee, tea and other beverage combinations including the fun Mommy and Me drink recipes below!

Shamrock Foodservice Warehouse gives home shoppers access to the same quality products that local restaurants use at friendly prices. Now, let’s toast to that with these fun after-school drink recipes!

Dragon Fruit LemonadeDragon Fruit Lemonade

Glass size: 16 oz.

3/4 oz. Monin Dragon Fruit Syrup

7 oz. lemonade

 Fill serving glass full of ice. Pour ingredients into serving glass in order listed. Pour mixture into mixing tin and back into serving glass to mix and garnish.

Dragon Soda Friendly Dragon Soda

Glass size: 16 oz.

1 oz. Monin Dragon Fruit Syrup

6 oz. club soda

 Fill a serving glass full of ice. Pour ingredients into serving glass in order listed and garnish.

=====

To learn more, visit www.shamrockFSW.com or follow them on Facebook and Instagram @shamrockfoodservicewarehouse.   

CONTEST

Mile High Mamas is giving away a fun food pack for your after-school snacks for moms who live in the Colorado Springs/Castle Rock area which includes:

  • Monin Syrups
  • Lipton Iced Team
  • Coffee
  • Lemonade packets
  • Sparkling water
  • Lemon/lime squeezer
  • Coffee mugs

Be sure to enter below. *Note: Prize pack must be picked up from the Colorado Springs Shamrock Foodservice Warehouse location.

 In partnership with Mile High Mamas

 

Denver Deals: Affordable Arts Festival, Colorado Ski Pass Discounts & More!

Have you ever bought something that is so totally unnecessary but you loved it for every penny you spent on it anyway? I am sort of wondering if I will feel that way if I buy the new Ninja Cremi, which I saw at Costco. It is a homemade ice cream maker and ice cream is my favorite. Would it be worth it? When my kids were young I collected DVDs of Disney movies, maybe this is the next step in saying I’m collecting something for them [kitchen appliances] when it’s really for me.

Affordable Arts Festival.  Arapahoe Community College will host the Affordable Arts Festival on Sunday, August 28, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Paintings, mixed media, jewelry, glass, fiber works, photography, metal, sculptures, ceramics and wood all on sale – normally under $100. But just because it is a deal does not mean the art is cheap. See some of the best deals here. There are top artists are incredible deals. Admission is $12 (kids 12 and under are free).

Ski Season Passes. If you like to ski or are thinking of getting a pass this year, now is the time to do it. I know it is hard to think of snow when it feels like it is still summer. You only have until Labor Day to get the Epic Pass and Ikon pass at their lowest prices (seriously, waiting just one week after Labor Day could cost you $20/pass more). There are also often deals right around Labor Day for other ski areas as they introduce their packages for this ski year.

 Loveland Corn Roast Festival. One of my favorite things about late summer in Colorado is the awesome crop of peaches but, also corn! Get Corny on Friday, August 26 and Saturday, August 27 at the Loveland Fairgrounds Park. Celebrate corn with live music, corn shucking, beer garden, Kids Zone and a parade all celebrating corn.

 Free Ride [RTD]. RTD is offering free rides this whole month! Any time in August you will not have to pay for a ride on a bus or the light rail. When my kids went to Washington DC several years ago, they said they loved navigating public transportation the best. So why not teach your kids how to do that right here – and take a free ride downtown just for the outing of it all?

Nothing Bundt Cakes. Celebrating its 25th Birthday, Nothing Bundt Cakes is giving away one free confetti bundt cake on September 1 to the first 250  guests at each bakery. 
 
Chipotle Trivia. Do you know a lot about Chipotle (maybe even the knowledge that the first one was here in Denver near DU)? You can win a buy one get one free entree when you are one of the first 100,000 fans to score a 10 out of 10 on their app’s Chipotle IQ quiz. 
 
Baskin Robbins. On the 31st of every month, Baskin Robbin’s offers 31% off all scoops (cones, toppings and sundaes excluded).  On August 31, you get half off pre-packaged quarts. 

Four Mile Historic Park Pumpkin Harvest Festival. October may feel like a long way away, but now is the time to get your tickets for the Pumpkin Harvest Festival at Four Mile Historic Park on October 8 and 9. Tickets are on sale to purchase visit: https://www.fourmilepark.org/pumpkin-harvest-festival/

 Aspen Grove. Aspen Grove has a lot happening this fall! Silent Yoga (like silent disco) with CorePower Yoga is only happening for three more weeks. Tickets are $10. Date night idea with the Murder Mystery Event on 27. Tickets are $40/person (includes 90-minute murder mystery, silent headphone rentals, food truck bites, and a drink). Saturday mornings doing the 60-minute fit camp [plus a cold beverage after] for just $7/person. Thursday nights through August swing dance (includes lessons). Every Sunday play some Bingo for a good cause – bring a pack of men’s/boys underwear for a free 10 oz drink and play bingo for prizes.

 SNAP Access. Families that receive SNAP benefits can also visit area museums and cultural centers for just $1 or $2 per admission (up to 10). These Explorer Passes are not restricted to certain days – just show your EBT card at the ticket counter ate one of these great venues: Butterfly Pavilion, Children’s Museum, Clyfford Still Museum, Denver Art Museum, Denver Botanic Gardens (York St or Chatfield Farms), Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Denver Zoo, History Colorado Center, Molly Brown House, Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum.

 Elitch Gardens 2023 Season Passes. Season passes are on sale already for Elitch Gardens and they are almost 60% off. The sale goes through Labor Day for just %59.99/pass. They do also have a payment plan AND you can add Dining plans at a discount as well. The pass includes unlimited park admission April through October 2023 (including Fright Fest THIS year), free parking, free souvenir cup, free friend ticket for 2023 (use by May 29, 2023), two (2) free bring a friend tickets for 2023, in-park discounts and more! The discount is available online only. 

Consignment Sales. I love consignment sales especially when it is kid’s clothes. We have once again rounded up the season’s best sales for you! This week’s highlights are the Just Between Friends of Longmont Thursday, August 24 – Sunday, August 28 at the Boulder County Fairgrounds or if you live on the South side of town go to the Douglas County Fairgrounds on Saturday, August 217 for the Mothers of Multiples sale! Visit our page for details all season long.

 Free Concerts and Movies. Have you checked out our lists for this summer? They are chock-full of events in nearly every corner of the city on almost any night of the summer, you can find free Denver outdoor concerts or outdoor movies to enjoy with the whole family outside!

Is your inability to receive help a trust issue?

I have a few wonderful friends who have been deeply wounded by their former spouses and are trying to navigate healing while learning to love again.  They said these sentiments really resonated.

Worth It

The inability to receive support from others is a trauma response.

Your “I don’t need anyone, I’ll just do it all myself” conditioning is a survival tactic. And you needed it to shield your heart from abuse, neglect, betrayal, and disappointment from those who could not or would not be there for you.

From the parent who was absent and abandoned you by choice or the parent who was never home from working three jobs to feed and house you.
From the lovers who offered sexual intimacy but never offered a safe haven that honored your heart.
From the friendships and family who ALWAYS took more than they ever gave.
From all the situations when someone told you “we’re in this together” or “I got you” then abandoned you, leaving you to pick up the pieces when shit got real, leaving you to handle your part and their part, too.
From all the lies and all the betrayals.
You learned along the way that you just couldn’t really trust people. Or that you could trust people, but only up to a certain point.

Extreme-independence IS. A. TRUST. ISSUE.
You learned: if I don’t put myself in a situation where I rely on someone, I won’t have to be disappointed when they don’t show up for me, or when they drop the ball… because they will ALWAYS drop the ball EVENTUALLY right?
You may even have been intentionally taught this protection strategy by generations of hurt ancestors who came before you.
Extreme-independence is a preemptive strike against heartbreak.
So, you don’t trust anyone.

And you don’t trust yourself, either, to choose people.
To trust is to hope, to trust is to be vulnerable.
“Never again,” you vow. But no matter how you dress it up and display it proudly to make it seem like this level of independence is what you always wanted to be, in truth it’s your wounded, scarred, broken heart behind a protective brick wall.
Impenetrable. Nothing gets in. No hurt gets in. But no love gets in either. Fortresses and armor are for those in battle, or who believe the battle is coming.

It’s a trauma response. The good news is trauma that is acknowledged is trauma that can be healed.

You are worthy of having support.
You are worthy of having true partnership.
You are worthy of love.
You are worthy of having your heart held.
You are worthy to be adored.
You are worthy to be cherished.
You are worthy to have someone say, “You rest. I got this.” And actually deliver on that promise.
You are worthy to receive.
You are worthy to receive.
You are worthy.
You don’t have to earn it.
You don’t have to prove it.
You don’t have to bargain for it.
You don’t have to beg for it.
You are worthy.
Worthy.
Simply because you exist.

Jamila White, Life Coach

‘When Mommy is Sad’: A Colorado Mom’s Journey Through Depression

We recently learned about a beautiful children’s book “When Mommy is Sad” written by Heidi Bartle, a Colorado mom who has struggled with depression and bipolar disorder. In the book, she explores her feelings and actions and their impact on her family. She shares her steps toward recovery include self-care, meeting with doctors, taking medication, and working with a therapist. The story’s resolution is not one of healing, but of hope.

Tell us about yourself and your family.

My husband, Garry, and I have been married for 24 years. We have five children: two young adults, one high schooler, and two middle schoolers. They are all wonderful humans. I have a bachelor’s degree in Health Science but stayed home with my kids in lieu of working in the field until the last few years when I found my voice in the arena of mental health. My family directs a small charity called For the Love, which helps homeless students, struggling families, and foster teens living in facilities. We love strengthening the community through service. We have lived in Colorado since 2008.
 

Can you please tell us about your mental health journey?

I was raised in a wonderful home with a strong family. When I was in high school I was a great student, athlete, and musician. I couldn’t understand why I started feeling waves of sadness, so I kept them to myself. In the absence of a better explanation (i.e., depression), I blamed them on my own weakness. This continued for many years as depression ebbed and flowed. Depression surfaced when I was a young mom. I had every reason to be happy, but I was sad. As we grew our family I experienced the typical hormone fluctuations of pregnancy that made my biological depressive tendencies worse. Finally, after my fifth child was born, depression took its place at the forefront of my life and I couldn’t ignore or hide it anymore. 
 
I saw a doctor, thinking I’d feel like myself in no time. Unfortunately, I experimented with antidepressants for almost a year before finding one that helped my mood and didn’t offer terrible side effects. The first one that worked lifted my mood tremendously. I felt ready to take on the world and launched into projects and exercise plans. My psychiatrist noticed the difference and wasn’t as elated as I was. The antidepressant had trigged a manic episode, not a normal mood. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder (type II). This diagnosis was devastating. I had just begun to accept that I had a mental illness called depression, but bipolar seemed more ominous. I had a bit of an identity crisis as I looked back on my life. I realized I had experienced many manic episodes but had always defined that level of functioning as my authentic self. Depression defined the Heidi who wasn’t trying hard enough. 
 
Medication and therapy have helped me see differently. The extremes of bipolar magnify and suppress my innate characteristics. Authentic Heidi likes to run for exercise. Manic Heidi trains for a marathon in 11 weeks. Depressed Heidi can’t make herself exercise. A younger authentic Heidi liked to socialize and do fun things with her kids and their friends. Manic Heidi would stress about every detail of a field trip, then scrapbook photos of the event within a few days. Depressed Heidi wouldn’t go out at all. These patterns continue to emerge as I battle mental illness, even though I consider myself to be in a maintenance phase.When Mommy Feels Sad

Tell us about your new book and why you chose to write it.

In 2017 I was experiencing a major depressive episode. My therapist urged me to find a way to talk to my children about my depression. I was horrified. I was certain that if my children knew I was so broken, they wouldn’t love me. One night, I was sitting at my son’s soccer game, and the words of a story started playing in my mind. I realized it was my story–the story of a mother with depression. It described how the depression affected her family and the ways the mother tried to get better, both at home and with doctors. That night I typed the story into a Word document. I printed the pages, stapled them together, and shared the story with my kids. I was fulfilling my therapist’s assignment, but I was surprised to find how therapeutic it was to tell my kids the truth. As I shared my feelings, I cried. They asked questions. Our conversation was beautiful.
 
My therapist thought my story was fantastic. To my surprise, she urged publication. She and two other therapists wrote rave reviews to include with the book. About six months later, I self-published an illustrated children’s book called When Mommy Feels Sad. Earlier this year I republished with Covenant Books, adding a glossary of terms, discussion questions, and classroom activities. Parents, teachers, health professionals, and therapists can use the book to spark conversations about depression. Tender, lifelike illustrations and direct storytelling make the book an excellent guide for talking about negative feelings, mental illness, and family relationships. 

What advice/insights would you give to a fellow mom who struggles with her mental health while trying to juggle a family?

There is no shame in having a mental illness, and seeking treatment is so important. I wish I had understood when my children were young how much medication and/or therapy could help me be a better version of myself. I could have modeled good self-care and healthy emotional awareness to my children. I strongly urge those who are struggling with mental illness–diagnosed or not–to reach out to a trusted friend and ask for help.
 
I also advocate talking about mental illness with children and teens. Give them the gift of understanding. Use the real words–depression (or the illness you have), psychiatrist, medication, therapist–when talking about your experience. Normalize mental illness so that they can ask questions, express their feelings, and maybe get help when they need it down the road. Remember, depression is just like asthma or allergies. We aren’t ashamed of physical illnesses, and we don’t need to be ashamed of mental ones.
 
Learn more about Heidi at her website: https://heidibartlebooks.com.
 
 Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. While clicking these links won’t cost you extra money, they help us keep this site up and running. See our disclosure policy.

Denver Children’s Consignment Sale Guide: Fall 2022

Is inflation getting you down? We’re here to help Denver moms save on c hildren’s items with our Denver Children’s Consignment Sale Fall 2022 schedule!

Twice a year, Mile High Mamas does a round-up detailing Colorado’s popular children’s consignment sales. Thousands of shoppers find bargains on kids’ clothing for newborn-preteen, toys, strollers, furniture, baby equipment, books, shoes, maternity items and more…all at 50-90% below retail.

Be sure to check out the following fabulous sales. Always double-check the website for times, admission price and any changes.

Denver Children’s Consignment Sales

August 18-21
Just Between Friends of Aurora
Thursday 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; Friday: 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. (25% off sale); Sunday 9 a.m.-2 p.m. (50% off)
Where: Arapahoe County Fairgrounds, 25690 East Quincy Avenue, Aurora, CO 80016 
aurora.jbfsale.com

Aug. 24-28
Just Between Friends of Longmont

Times: Thurs.-Sat. 9 a.m.-7 p.m. (Sat. 50% off); Sun. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. (75% off)
Where: Boulder County Fairgrounds, 9595 Nelson Road, Longmont
longmont.jbfsale.com

August 27
Mothers of Multiples Society Sale
Saturday 10 a.m.-2 p.m.Denver children's consignment sales
Where: Douglas County Fairgrounds, 500 Fairgrounds Road, Castle Rock
mothersofmultiples.com

September 15-18
Just Between Friends of Douglas County
Thursday and Friday 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; Sunday 9 a.m.-3 p.m. (half-price sale)
Where: Douglas County Fairgrounds, 500 Fairgrounds Drive, Castle Rock, CO 80104
douglascounty.jbfsale.com

September 24
Boulder County Kids Sale
10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Where: Boulder Valley Christian Church, 7100 S Boulder Road, Boulder
 www.facebook.com/pg/BoulderCountyKidsSale/

September 29 – October 2
Just Between Friends of Arvada
Thursday 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; Friday 9 am -6 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (50% off)
Where: Flatiron Marketplace, 170 E Flatiron Crossing, Broomfield
arvada.jbfsale.com/homeView.jsp

Oct. 7-9
Just Between Friends of Broomfield/Brighton

Thursday (9 a.m.- 7 p.m.); Friday (9 a.m.-5 p.m.); Saturday 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sunday 9 a.m.-3 p.m. (50% off)
Where: Adams County Fairgrounds, 9755 Henderson Road, Brighton
broomfield.jbfsale.com 

October 14-16
Just Between Friends of Denver

Friday 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday: 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sunday 9 a.m.-2 p.m. (half-price sale)
Where: Shop at Northfield, 7950 Northfield Boulevard, Denver
denver.jbfsale.com

 Have we missed your favorite sale? Be sure to leave the information in the comments below.

=====

Consignment sales no longer in operation:

Fall 2022 TD
Just Between Friends of Loveland
Times: Thurs. 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; Friday-Sunday 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; Monday 9 a.m.-2 p.m. (50% off) 
Where: The Outlets at Loveland – I-25 & Hwy 34
http://loveland.jbfsale.com/homeView.jsp

Rhea Lana’s: Pending
St. Philip Early Learning Center (postponed until spring)
Supertwins of Colorado: Discontinued
Haute Tots: Pending
Bear Valley MOPS: Discontinued
New to You Sale: Temporarily Discontinued

Photos: JBF

Insider’s Guide to the Four Corners Region

Say the phrase “Colorado vacation,” and the brain is likely to default to “mountains.” And why not? Colorado’s legendary Rocky Mountains are replete with historic towns, ski resorts, and rivers that are perfect for outdoor vacations any time of the year. But there are also plenty of less-visited spots throughout the Centennial State that might be less famous but are no less worthy of a visit. Here are some spots in the four corners of our state as described in Heather Mundt’s new guidebook, “Colorado Family Outdoor Adventure.” 

Northwest Colorado: Moffat County 

Miles from Denver: 251 (95 miles northwest of Steamboat Springs) 

The northernmost county of Colorado’s 64 comprises only 5 towns: Slater, Maybell, Hamilton, Dinosaur, and the largest, Craig, where more than two-thirds of residents live. A bastion of Old West history and home to one of Colorado’s most remote treasures, Dinosaur National Monument, it’s filled with fossil discoveries and the culture of the Fremont people, Native Americans who thrived in the area for some 300 years (more than 1,000 years ago). Definitely worth the trek to this desolate outpost straddling the Colorado-Utah border. www.visitmoffatcounty.com.

Sleeping Ute Mountain from Hovenweep National Monument

(Sleeping Ute Mountain from Hovenweep National Monument)

Dinosaur National Monument (DNM) 

Established in 1915 by President Woodrow Wilson to protect the original 80-acre excavation site, DNM preserves one of the world’s largest collections of Jurassic-age dinosaur fossils in its famous Quarry Exhibit Hall (on the “Utah side”). Housed adjacent to the Quarry Visitor Center (QVC), the exhibit hall protects the 149-million-year-old fossils “in situ,” where the fossils were originally deposited, including bones from an allosaurus and a stegosaurus. Guests can walk or take a shuttle to the quarry, located 0.25 miles from the QVC. (Cars may be allowed to park at the exhibit hall, depending on season and special accommodations.) There’s also an easy-to-moderate, 1.5-mile roundtrip Fossil Discovery Trail (no shade) that starts from either of the two buildings and includes stops at the Mowry Shale and the Morrison and Stump Formations. 11625 E. 1500 S., Jensen, Utah, 84035, 435.781.7700.

 Echo Park Campground in Dinosaur National Monument

( Echo Park Campground in Dinosaur National Monument)

  The second visitor center, Canyon Visitor Center (CVC) near Dinosaur, is located on the “Colorado side” and is the gateway to the monument’s river canyons, including Echo Park (see “Lodging” at right). Located at the base of Harpers Corner Road, the CVC offers a bookstore, restrooms, and water. 4545 US Hwy 40, Dinosaur, 970.374. 3000. www.nps.gov/dino/index.htm. 

Southwest Colorado: Mesa Verde Country 

Miles from Denver (Mesa Verde National Park): 371 

Comprising renowned Mesa Verde National Park, the area boasts 2,000 years of history throughout several significant historic sites. Featuring the towns of Cortez, Dolores, and Mancos (and Towaoc, Colorado’s most southwestern town and the headquarters of the Ute Mountain Indian Reservation), it also offers plenty of rugged canyons, scenic mountain trails, and water for year-round recreation. In addition to the national park, the area includes amazing stops like Canyon of the Ancients National Monument, Hovenweep National Monument, and the Four Corners National Monument, to name only a few! www.mesaverdecountry.com

Northeast Colorado: Pioneering Plains

Fort Morgan 

Miles from Denver: 82 

Established in the 1860s as a US military defensive post against attacks by Native Americans who were defending against encroachment on their lands, it was named in 1866 after the commanding officer, Christopher Morgan. An agricultural hub set on the high plains northeast of Denver, it’s especially proud of its most famous Fort Morgan High School graduate (1921): big-band musician Glenn Miller, whom the town celebrates each June at SwingFest, featuring swing-dance lessons and performances. visitmorgancountycolorado.com

Jackson Lake State Park 

This “oasis on the plains” just 22 miles northwest of Fort Morgan attracts migrating birds such as long-billed curlews and whooping cranes. It’s also a great spot for boaters, jet- and water skiers, and anglers fishing for walleye, perch, and rainbow trout (and ice fishing). There’s an OHV track (1.5 mile, on the south side of the park), two geocaching sites, and a swimming beach. The lake’s west side offers a boat ramp and marina, and its designation as an International Dark Sky Park means prime night-sky viewing. Includes roughly 250 RV/tent campsites (many year-round), showers, toilets, laundry, and potable water. Reservation only. The visitor center is open daily, 8 a.m.–4 p.m. A 1.75-mile trail begins there and runs north to Northview Campground. 26363 CR 3, Orchard, 970.645.2551. 

Sterling 

Miles from Denver: 128 

Home of Native American tribes including the Arapaho, Cheyenne, and Pawnee, it also features the South Platte Section of the Overland Trail. A branch called the “super- highway” of the high plains, where thousands of prospectors crossed en route to gold and silver mines in California (and later, Colorado). Established in 1881 with the arrival of the Union Pacific railroad, the town incorporated as Sterling in 1884 still uses Union Pacific and Burlington Northern railroads to service primary industries, largely agriculture. www.exploresterling.com.

North Sterling State Park

(North Sterling State Park. Photo: Elizabeth Photography)

North Sterling State Park 

The 3,000-acre North Sterling Reservoir offers sailing, jet skiing, waterskiing, and views of expansive bluffs and prairie. In addition to warm water fishing, from walleye to bluegill, it also features the Cottonwood Cove Swim Beach and the 3.5-mile South Shoreline Trail for hikers, bikers, and horseback riders. There’s a boat ramp and marina offering water-sports rentals, plus an archery range. The park also features 141 RV/tent campsites in 3 campgrounds, each with a picnic table, shade shelter, and fire ring; they include restrooms, coin-operated showers, and laundry facilities (April– Oct.). 24005 CR 330, 970.522.3657; marina, 970.466.2279. 

Southeast Colorado: Comanche National Grassland & Tarantulas! 

Comanche National Grassland

Comprising more than 440,000 rural acres of prairie grasslands and intricate canyons, this area is one of the state’s best-kept secrets. Split into two sections—the Timpas Unit in La Junta (about 187,000 acres) and the Carrizo Unit in Springfield (more than 257,000 acres, near the Oklahoma border)—Comanche National Grassland (CNG) offers plenty of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding (no guided tours for the latter). Offering a bounty of archaeological highlights, its biggest bragging right is the dinosaur tracks in Picket Wire Canyonlands, the largest site in North America. It’s also a popular birding destination, serving as home to more than 250 species including the lesser prairie chicken (very rare), red-tailed hawk, and golden eagle. And let’s not forget the tarantulas!

Dinosaur Tracks Four Corners

(Emick Ranch during tarantula mating season with Greg Emick, who stands by dinosaur tracks on his land)

Tarantulas 

The only critter to get its own entry in the book, these tarantulas known as the Texas or Oklahoma browns are the primary reason I visited southeastern Colorado in mid-September, during mating season. The males emerge from their burrows for a “walkabout” in search of a mate—roughly late August to mid-September—so they’re easier to spot (especially just before sunset). Mislabeled a “migration,” fall is a great time to visit tarantula hotspots such as the Lamar, Springfield (47 miles south of Lamar), and Comanche National Grassland areas. 

Heather Mundt is a freelance writer and Colorado native who writes about family/outdoor/adventure travel. Her first book, “Colorado Family Outdoor Adventure” (UNM Press, June 2022) is the only comprehensive guide on the market for families traveling throughout the Centennial State. She lives in Longmont with her husband, two teenage sons, and two rescue huskies. Photos: Michael and Heather Mundt.

 

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. While clicking these links won’t cost you extra money, they help us keep this site up and running. See our disclosure policy.

Deals: Corn Roast Festival, Next Level Burgers & More!

I may have done a happy dance when I bought an entire box of peaches for myself this last weekend. It is Palisade Peach season! I not only bought a box for myself along the side of a road, but I also ordered one from a school fundraiser. Does anyone have any awesome ideas of how to use my peaches?

 Next Level Burgers. The 100% plant-based burger chain, Next Level Burgers is opening its first Colorado location near DU at 1605 E Evans on Saturday, August 20. Beginning at noon the first 10 people in line will get a $25 gift card, the first 100 people will get a free burger, t-shirt and more. Plus attendees all day will have a chance to win a $100 gift card. The Grand opening will also include a DJ and more.   Not only are the burgers 100% plant-based, but you can also grab shakes made with soy or coconut soft-serve ice cream.

Loveland Corn Roast Festival. One of my favorite things about late summer in Colorado is the awesome crop of peaches but, also corn! Get Corny on Friday, August 26 and Saturday, August 27 at the Loveland Fairgrounds Park. Celebrate corn with live music, corn shucking, beer garden, Kids Zone and a parade all celebrating corn.

It’s a Small World. Maybe you have taken the ride at Disneyland – or maybe you just plan to go to the Aurora Global Fest on Saturday, August 20 (from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.) Music, Dance, Languages, Fashion Show, Market tent and Ethnic food vendors celebrate the Global Cultures present in Aurora at this event.

Sunset Golf Course. Sunset Golf Course in Longmont is celebrating its 100th birthday with a ParTee! This Thursday, August 18 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. enjoy music, food, games, and giveaways!

Free Ride [RTD]. RTD is offering free rides this whole month! Any time in August you will not have to pay for a ride on a bus or the light rail. When my kids went to Washington DC several years ago, they said they loved navigating public transportation the best. So why not teach your kids how to do that right here – and take a free ride downtown just for the outing of it all?

Four Mile Historic Park Pumpkin Harvest Festival. October may feel like a long way away, but now is the time to get your tickets for the Pumpkin Harvest Festival at Four Mile Historic Park on October 8 and 9. Tickets are on sale to purchase visit: https://www.fourmilepark.org/pumpkin-harvest-festival/

Aspen Grove. Aspen Grove has a lot happening this fall! Silent Yoga (like silent disco) with CorePower Yoga is only happening for three more weeks. Tickets are $10. Date night idea with the Murder Mystery Event on August 20 and 27. Tickets are $40/person (includes 90-minute murder mystery, silent headphone rentals, food truck bites, and a drink). Saturday mornings doing the 60-minute fit camp [plus a cold beverage after] for just $7/person. Thursday nights through August swing dance (includes lessons). Every Sunday play some Bingo for a good cause – bring a pack of mens/boys underwear for a free 10 oz drink and play bingo for prizes.

SNAP Access. Families that receive SNAP benefits can also visit area museums and cultural centers for just $1 or $2 per admission (up to 10). These Explorer Passes are not restricted to certain days – just show your EBT card at the ticket counter ate one of these great venues: Butterfly Pavilion, Children’s Museum, Clyfford Still Museum, Denver Art Museum, Denver Botanic Gardens (York St or Chatfield Farms), Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Denver Zoo, History Colorado Center, Molly Brown House, Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum.

Free Concerts and Movies. Have you checked out our lists for this summer? They are chock-full of events in nearly every corner of the city on almost any night of the summer, you can find free Denver outdoor concerts or outdoor movies to enjoy with the whole family outside!