Autumn is upon us, and the leaves are filling the trees with golden yellow, orange, and red hues. The crisp mountain air compels us to put on our best flannel to explore and wander through the changing leaves. Here are the 7 best activities to fuel your sense of adventure and the best places to see fall colors. Plug in our Autumn in the Mountains playlist and plan your fall getaway to Winter Park to see fall colors.
1) Hike Among the Changing Leaves
Rogers Pass trailhead sits near the top of the Continental Divide. This trail takes you up toward James Peak and is above the tree line, which offers views of all the changing colors below and sweeping views of the towns of Winter Park and Fraser.
Located in Fraser, The Chainsaw/Flume trail is great for all members of the group or family. A relatively flat area, both bikers and hikers alike can enjoy.
A secret spot among the locals, but it’s too good not to share with you! Bottle Peak trail has flowers, aspens, panoramic views, and one of the best spots to see some wildlife. As you continue on the trail, you begin to escape the surrounding trees so you’re able to see for miles and look at all of the fall foliage.
2) Drink Beer in the Backcountry – SOLD OUT
Yep, you read that right! On Saturday, October 2, experience autumn in the mountains with Upslope Brewery. After a ride up the scenic gondola, hit the trail for a short hike to the top of Mary Jane mountain, where you’ll find a pop-up taproom nestled in the trees. In addition to four bars and live music, get a first look at the new can design for our signature Mary Jane Ale, Winter Park’s exclusive craft beer brewed in partnership with Upslope.
Every ticket sold directly benefits the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics’ Hot Spot Program, which identifies areas suffering from severe human-related impacts that can thrive again with Leave No Trace solutions.
3) See Autumn Colors From Above
Catch the fall colors from 10,700 feet! The Scenic Gondola takes you to the top of Winter Park Resort where you can admire the Continental Divide dotted with aspens.
Hot air balloon ride
Climb aboard and float to the best views with Grand Adventure Balloon Tours. This is truly one of the best ways to see fall colors in Colorado!
4) Sight-See Via Bike
Whether it’s a road bike, mountain bike, or E-bike, the trails in the Winter Park area are great places to peep the changing leaves.
Trestle Bike Park
With closing day slated for October 3, there’s still plenty of gravity-filled fun to be had! Ride the gondola all the way up, then pedal in and out of the changing trees and view the valley from a new perspective.
Vasquez Trail System
Get off the beaten path and explore the Vasquez Trail system. When you enter the town of Winter Park coming from the resort, take the first left at the stoplight on Vasquez Road and go enjoy all the aspen groves while weaving through the beautiful fall colors.
5) Take a Scenic Drive and View Wildlife
Trail Ridge Road
The highest continually paved highway in the United States, sitting above 12,000ft, is Trail Ridge Road. While driving through Rocky Mountain National Park, you’ll see aspens and willows scattered through the highway and in the distance. It’s also a great time to spot wildlife.
Located adjacent to the resort, Corona/Rollin Pass road is a great area to peep the changing leaves with the ski runs in the background. It is an unpaved road with a few bumps, so we recommend having a high clearance vehicle.
6) Explore the Waters
Grand County is home to some of the best fishing spots in the state. Situated at the headwaters of the Colorado River, the area boasts more than 1,000 miles of streams and rivers, 1,000 acres of alpine lakes, and is home to some of the biggest reservoirs, as well. Whether it’s fishing from the shore, boat, or fly fishing, there’s a spot for everyone.
Meadow Creek Reservoir
A locals’ favorite during the fall months, Meadow Creek Reservoir holds brook, rainbow, and cutthroat trout. There are also some amazing hikes around here for when you need a break from fishing.
The Fraser River & Colorado River are the 2 best areas for fly fishing. The fish in these rivers can be up to 20” long! Grab a guide from Fish Winter Park or Winter Park Flyfisher for the best experience.
7) Take A Tour
Guided Tours & Hikes
Here at Winter Park Resort, our guided tours are worth every penny. Not only will you learn about the valley and get the inside scoop from a local perspective, but you’ll also get tips for all the best spots to view the leaves. Plus, do a Rocky Mountain National Park tour and maybe catch a glimpse of elk and moose! Learn about all of the tours and offerings here.
Headwaters River Journey
With more than 30 engaging exhibits, Headwaters River Journey takes visitors on an informative, insightful, and introspective exploration of the wonders of nature, the importance of water, and our direct impact on them both.
Cozens Ranch Museum
Cozens Ranch Museum, the first homestead in the Fraser Valley, brings the late 1800s to life. See where countless visitors found shelter and food after the arduous journey over Berthoud Pass. The restored buildings at Cozens Ranch Museum are all that remain of a large ranch complex that once covered over seven hundred acres. The museum, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is the only museum in the Winter Park-Fraser Valley region.
Autumn in Winter Park is unlike anything else, and we have some of the best places to see fall colors in Colorado! If these 7 adventures aren’t enough for you, read our 5 Things To Do This Weekend or 4 Dog-Friendly Hikes In Winter Park blogs for more activities!