Go Play: Fall welcomes frights, foliage, food & fun in Colorado
Special to the Free Press
Experience Colorado during one of the state’s best kept secrets — autumn. Mother Nature has blessed Colorado with unrivaled beauty, especially during the fall months when the mountains shimmer with golden leaves. It’s the perfect time of year to get out and explore the state’s many natural attractions and participate in an array of outdoor activities. With a variety of fun festivals, harvest celebrations and spooktacular events, Colorado offers something for every visitor. Below are a few ideas to inspire a fall staycation in Colorado.
FOR THE ADVENTURER
Hike to Crater Lake in Aspen. The Maroon Bells are known as the most photographed peaks in Colorado and are some of the most famous mountain peaks in the United States. All of the hikes near the Maroon Bells provide breathtaking views, but a local favorite is the hike to Crater Lake, especially during the fall as the trail wanders through a thick aspen forest where the changing leaves will not disappoint. The hike is 3.6 miles roundtrip and ends at the beautiful Crater Lake surrounded by mountain views.
Bike the Mineral Belt Trail in Leadville. It’s not time to put away the bicycles just yet. Take a ride on the 11.6-mile Mineral Belt Trail that loops around the city. Wildflower meadows, conifer forests and aspen groves lit up in dazzling fall colors make for a bike ride with plenty of photo ops. Not only are there fall colors, but also stop to see the many historical sites in Leadville along the way which includes several remnants of the city’s once bustling mining history.
FOR THE FAMILY
Explore a Corn Maze at the Frederika Fall Festival in Avondale. It welcomes visitors to their 10-acre “Colorado” corn maze with 3.5 miles of trails through Oct. 31. The maze is located on a 75-acre, multi-generation farm. Join them on Halloween for some enjoyable pumpkin decorating, a costume contest and trick-or-treating with the kids. Throughout the fall, take the opportunity to launch pumpkins with a sling-shot for the pumpkin fling.
Pick a Pumpkin at Tigges Farm in Greeley. This fall, head to Tigges Farm, a family run farm since 1935, and choose the perfect pumpkin to carve. From August through October the family-friendly farm will also showcase some of the original equipment used to till the land at the Tigges Farm Equipment Museum. Check out the produce stand that offers Colorado fresh produce including roasted chilies, tomatoes, sweet corn, melons and onions.
FOR THE FOODIE
Savor the Season at Lyons Farmette in Lyons. At the eastern edge of town, the Lyons Farmette offers many fresh farm-to-table dinners throughout the season. The farm also offers classes and workshops on topics ranging from how to keep bees to how to brew beer or make cheese from chefs and agriculture experts from the Front Range community.
FOR THE GHOST HUNTER
Get Scared on Banjo Billy’s Ghost Tour. The cities of Boulder and Denver are often known for the stunning mountain views and active beer scene, but most don’t know about the ghosts that haunt the streets of both places. Banjo Billy’s Bus Tours offer ghost tours beginning in October, with historians and legend-keepers who will share the haunting stories of the ghosts in the shadows. The bus passes by haunted mansions and streets where mysterious sights and sounds can often be heard.
Find frights in the Haunted Mines of Colorado Springs. Ever had to endure a death defying descent into the depths of a mine? At the Haunted Mines, this is just one of the ways to get spooked. From Sept. 19 through Nov. 1, come to the one-of-a kind outdoor/indoor haunted house attraction on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Visitors will crawl for their lives to escape out of a vent shaft and explore their way through the maze of tunnels, wondering if they’ll ever get out! There is no shortage of spookiness at these mines.
FOR THE LEAF PEEPER
Ride the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad in Antonito. Nothing beats seeing fall colors like viewing them from the windows of a historic train. The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad is the highest and longest authentic steam-powered, narrow-gauge railroad in the United States. With the amount of rain received over the summer, the railroad is expecting this fall to be one of the best yet. The train starts out in terrain resembling the old west, and continues into the San Juan Mountains with lush aspen groves turned completely red, orange and gold.
Drive Kebler Pass in Crested Butte. One of the most famous drives for leaf peeping is the drive on Kebler Pass to Marble and the Crystal River Valley as the drive is home the largest aspen grove in the United States. Head north on Whiterock Avenue out of Crested Butte and continue on this road as it turns into County Road 12. One of the best places to stop and take in the views is across from Horse Ranch Park. This stop offers breathtaking views of the scenic landscapes of the Anthracite Mountain Range. The pocket of reds, yellows and golds in this area is one view not to miss.
For more information, visit http://www.Colorado.com.
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