Leaf littered hiking trails, glacial lakes, and red rock valleys some alive the Colorado autumn afternoons. Make the most of the season by getting out and active in the breath-taking countryside of the Centennial state. From hiking and biking to sandboards and sky coasters, Colorado is a dream destination for active adventurers and nature enthusiasts. There is a lot to do and see but we’ve narrowed it down to our top six picks to visit this fall.
Roxborough State Park
Host to nearly 4,000 acres of forest, brush, and jagged red rock, Roxborough State Park is a great spot to take a leisurely stroll on an autumn afternoon. Hit the hiking trails to explore the unique rock formations and observe local wildlife such as deer, black bears, and countless songbirds. Bring your camera along to snap a pic of the rambling wildflowers and delicate butterflies. In the evening, tag along on a guided Moonlight Hike to spy the park’s nocturnal animals by the light of the full moon.
Preserving the rich heritage and culture of more than 25 ancient indigenous tribes, Mesa Verda National Park is a treasure trove of artifacts, architecture, and ancient artforms. Once it was home to the Pueblo tribes who built their homes into the rocky cliff face, the park now protects these ruins for the public to explore and admire. Enjoy a guided ranger tour that will take you through the ancient ruins, or download the audio guide to explore the park on your own. Stay to watch the sunset over the Cliff Palace from the Sun Point Lookout, and stay to enjoy some of the state’s best stargazing. The park is a certified Dark Sky Park, meaning that the lack of light pollution makes this a perfect place to appreciate the night sky.
Royal Gorge Bridge & Park
Royal Gorge Bridge & Park is an ideal destination for thrill-seekers and adrenaline junkies. Suspended nine hundred and fifty-six feet above the raging Arkansas River, Royal Gorge is America’s highest suspension bridge. The park offers visitors the chance to ride the wild “cloud scraper” zip line, across the cavernous gorge, or test their courage on the “world’s scariest sky coaster”. If you would rather enjoy the view of the gorge at your own pace, sign up for a Via Ferrata guided climbing tour. This once-in-a-lifetime Italian mountain climbing experience allows you to climb up the cliffside without fear of falling.
Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre
For the music lovers in your family, the Red Rocks Amphitheater is a site you will not want to miss. The naturally occurring amphitheater is a marvel of acoustic perfection, with seating added to accommodate up to nearly 10,000 spectators. Check out the events schedule to see some of your favorite musical performers live, under the stars. If that isn’t enough for you, the park also hosts ‘yoga on the rocks’ events, as well as a film on the rocks – a drive-in-inspired, starlit movie night.
Garden of the Gods
If you love exploring the rocky red landscape of the Colorado countryside but grow tired of hiking in the sun, Garden of the Gods has an abundance of creative alternatives to explore. Rent a mountain bike and hit the trails or join an electric bike tour to cruise along the hills while your guide explains the history of the park. If you prefer to get off the beaten track, sign up for the Off-Road Jeep Tour to cut across the park’s wilderness and explore hidden waterfalls, railroad tunnels, and other spectacular landmarks. For a little hands-on learning experience, try the family-friendly rock climbing tour and prepare to be amazed by the awe-inspiring view from the summit.
Great Sand Dunes National Park
One unusual sight to see amid the arid Colorado landscape are the sweeping sand dunes of the Great Sand Dunes National Park. Rent a sandboard from one of the nearby shops to spend an afternoon gliding along the immense sandhills. If you just can’t get enough of this incredible sight, stay overnight on a 5-day horseback tour through the great sand dunes, hidden valleys, remote ghost towns, and scenic waterfalls.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories