The Best Off-Season, Fall in Colorado
Fall Activities to Get You Ready for Winter
As temperatures drop and snow begins to blanket the Rockies, it’s getting to be that time of year where your camping gear gets stashed, but winter sports haven’t kicked into high gear yet. However, the fall in Colorado is the best off-season to make the most of outdoor activities and prepare for winter fun. Here are some fun top-of-the-list activities to get you ready for winter in Colorado.
Fall Hiking and Biking
Hiking can extend into late fall and even early winter depending on snowfall. Hiking during autumn is spectacular, with a fantastic array of colorful foliage. Fall vistas can mix colorful autumn foliage and soft blankets of early snowfall. Later season days will include grey outlines of Aspen groves and the see-through clarity of mountain horizons. Vistas you’ve seen dozens of times in the summer take on a new level of beauty in the fall. The quickly changing landscapes framed against that gorgeous blue Colorado sky offer incredible views each time you go out. Fall is the time of year to bring the camera along.
Many kinds of wildlife are also very active in the fall, which means you might spot elk, mule deer, coyote, ermine, or moose on your adventures, not to mention a host of birds.
Cycling in the Fall
With the cooler days, you don’t have to get out on the bike first thing. Afternoon and lunch hour rides are more pleasant without the blazing heat. Longer rides are more inviting too. Bring extra snakes along and check out the beautiful natural surroundings.
Get your fat bike tuned for snow biking, or swap out your tires for larger ones in anticipation of snow on the trails.
Fall is transition time and what better time is there than fall to do some cross-training? With the shorter days and cooler temperatures, fall in Colorado is perfect for spending a little more time indoors. With the switch of your outdoor activities, now’s the time to focus on your weight training program. Many local Colorado gyms or fitness centers offer preseason fitness classes or reach out to a personal trainer who can focus on your strengths and weaknesses. Cross-training can mean trying new activities too. Get your friends together and go bowling or sign up for pilates.
Try Southern Colorado
If the early cold is starting to get to you, there are plenty of places in the state where you can squeeze in a few more warm days. Have you ever visited the Four Corners region of the state, where you can stand at the border of Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico? Or what about the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument? In some of Colorado’s warmer areas, you’ll not only be able to stave off the cold but also grab a few more days of your favorite summer sports, like mountain biking, climbing, or hiking.
National parks are busiest in July; guest counts start to drop month after month after that. Visiting a national park during the off-season means fewer crowds, more wildlife, and pristine, peaceful scenery. You can explore Great Sand Dunes without scorching your feet, bask in the sunshine at sunny southern Mesa Verde, or watch the stars without the haze of the summer air at Black Canyon of the Gunnison.
Take a Weekend Trip
Fall in Colorado is that time of year when summer tourism has wound down, but the winter crowds haven’t picked up, so hotels, bed and breakfasts, and Airbnbs are cheaper than usual. Take advantage of this by booking a weekend away with your honey or taking the kids out for a fun few days of adventure. Check out a part of Colorado you’ve never explored before, and see what it has to offer! It’s the perfect time to book a fantastic hotel room or cabin you have always wanted.
Alternate Things to Do in the Off-Season
Can making those procrastinated home improvements be considered part of your fall fitness program? It doesn’t make sense, but taking the time to clean up, organize, redecorate, or move your space around can enhance those positive shifts in your life.
Reorganizing your home requires physical effort, such as lifting, turning, and moving objects around. Splitting and stacking firewood is a perfect example of a fall chore that can also be considered a physical activity. Cleaning rugs or replacing curtains is a similar type of activity.
Getting out your winter sporting gear and putting away your summer gear requires a physical effort and makes you ready to go. Using fall to transition provides a beneficial mental challenge of setting yourself up to be super organized for the upcoming winter season.
Get bike hangers and organize the garage, making your ski waxing bench easily accessible. Make that ski or snowboard rack that you’ve been thinking about. You’ll probably find extra gear that needs to go to the ski swap or just sell. The list can go on and on...
Explore What's Going on this Fall
Fall in Colorado is the time to take advantage of off-season specials. This means deals on lodging, shopping, dining, and entrance fees. If you didn’t get to go on summer vacation, now’s the time to make up for it and do it on a budget. What’s more fun than exploring a new part of Colorado, engaging in fun outdoor activities, and exploring small-town businesses for deals on everything?
The start of the winter season is a fantastic time to get some holiday shopping done. Take a stroll down the sidewalk in a local business district (perhaps with a cup of coffee or hot cocoa from a local cafe!), and you will indeed find bargains on books, clothes, art, souvenirs, and gifts from local niche businesses. Small local boutique businesses and sports stores all have great deals on seasonal stuff.
If you’re looking for something to warm you up or keep you out of the cold, then the off-season might be a good time to explore some of Colorado’s craft breweries or distilleries. We’ve got hundreds of them, so take your pick, whether you stay close to home or your hotel or venture out to a different part of the state. Get a designated driver, or find a service like Summit County Brewery Tours to drive you safely from place to place, and start sampling one of Colorado’s most famous products. Either way, get as much last-minute fun as possible out of patio season before it’s gone.
Another great activity for the cold averse is visiting a museum. Colorado is full of them—from the Denver Museum of Nature & Science to the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum, visiting a cultural center is a fantastic way to spend a day learning. Bring the kids for a homeschool experience like no other, or go on your own for a relaxing solo excursion that will relieve some of your stress.
Winter is Coming
It’s always sad to say goodbye to our favorite summer activities. At the same time, winter brings a new world of excitement on the slopes and in the high country. However, Colorado has got you covered with fun activities and opportunities to keep you entertained all season long and especially in the fall. It's the best off-season going.
By Emily Krempholtz