Fall is a stunning time of year to make your way to the tree-covered mountains of Estes Park. With mountainsides turning brilliant shades of golden yellows, oranges, and reds and reflecting in the cool waters of alpine lakes, the views are scenic, and the air is full of promise. Plan a fall journey to Estes Park and experience the brilliance of autumn in the mountains!
From thrilling activities such as rock climbing to more subdued activities like scenic drives and festival activities, Estes Park is a draw for a variety of traveler types. The important thing when you head to Estes Park for an Estes Park fall getaway is to be sure to spend some time outdoors soaking in the fall colors!
Day 1: Take a Scenic Drive or Hike
Whether you want to get out and explore on foot or take in the surrounding beauty from the comfort of your vehicle, Estes Park offers boundless options for enjoying the fall scenery. One popular hiking trail to tackle in the fall is Twin Sisters. With the trailhead located just 6 miles from downtown Estes Park, you can fuel up with breakfast at one of downtown Estes Park’s charming cafes and be on the trail soon after. This picturesque trail winds its way through towering aspen forests, all ablaze with color. If you’d prefer to take in the scenes from the comfort of the car, try driving all or part of the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway, which begins as CO Highway 7 in Estes Park, passing quaint towns and miles of golden scenery.
Day 2: Attend an Estes Park Fall Festival
Fall in Colorado, and especially Estes Park, is accompanied by festivals and activities that will keep your weekend full of entertainment. If possible, plan your fall getaway to Estes Park around one of the town’s popular festivals, such as the Autumn Gold Festival or Elk Fest. Held in late September, the Autumn Gold Festival kicks off the fall season with a festival of live bands, brats, and beer. The Elk Fest, also held in late September, celebrates the elk’s mating season with a variety of exhibits centered around the animal, as well as music, dancing, activities for kids, food, and beer. Pumpkins and Pilsners is held in October and offers elements that will cater to the interests of children and adults alike. The kids will enjoy choosing their pumpkin to take home and carve, as well as getting out the wiggles in bounce houses and at game and craft stations. Face painting and pony rides add to the excitement for the kids. Adults will enjoy relaxing to live music while sipping a craft beer, and the whole family can join together in playing games set up on the lawn. Food trucks and other vendors make Pumpkins and Pilsners a full day of fun for the whole family.
Day 3: Go Wildlife Spotting
The hiking and walking trails situated in and around Estes Park provide many opportunities for wildlife viewing. Fall in Colorado also coincides with elk mating season, which means these animals are even easier to spot and hear than during other times of year. In fact, they often gather in areas downtown, such as across from the visitor’s center, near the river by Kind Coffee, in the median between Big Thompson Avenue and N. St. Vrain Avenue, or in Bond Park, where little effort is required to observe these majestic creatures. Deer and moose are also frequently spotted throughout Estes Park. Be sure to bring along your camera but keep a respectful distance!!
Day 4: Fly Fish on Colorado’s Scenic Waterways
Cool fall mornings are perfect for heading out on some of Colorado’s most scenic waterways to fly fish. Located just east of Estes Park’s downtown and convenient to our Estes Park fall rentals, Lake Estes is a great spot for fishing with the whole family. This 185-acre lake is home to brown trout, yellow perch, and walleyes, and is stocked annually with thousands of rainbow trout. Keep the fish you catch and enjoy a fresh fish meal prepared in the full kitchen of your Estes Park vacation rental! Another popular destination for fly fishing is The Big Thompson Canyon. This rushing river offers a fly fishing paradise between Olympus Dam to the Waltonia Bridge. Along this 10-mile catch and release spot, you will find rainbow trout and brown trout. With scenic mountains and a piercing quiet except the flow of the water, fishermen enjoy long, serene stretches on The Big Thompson. Within the Rocky Mountain National Park bounds, Moraine Park is a popular location, where brook trout and brown trout await. For those who would prefer a guided fishing expedition, outfitters such as Estes Angler and Estes Park Mountain Shop offer guided outings within Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. Estes Park Mountain Shop also offers gear rentals for solo expeditions such as spin and fly rods, felt soled hip waders, flies tackle, and fishing licenses.
Day 5: Mountain Bike a Scenic Trail
Many of the trails in and around Estes Park are not only great for hiking, but also for mountain biking. With terrain that varies from beginner-friendly to technical and challenging, there is something for every level of cyclist in Estes Park. While you won’t be able to bring a bike into Rocky Mountain National Park, the Roosevelt National Forest boasts hundreds of miles of trails available for the cyclist’s exploration. Held at the beginning of September just before the start of the fall season, the Estes Epic is an event to challenge any athlete. On day one athletes participate in a 55K mountain bike race through gorgeous Estes Park scenery, biking over a mixture of technical single track, gravel roads, and double track fire roads. Those who are truly up for a challenge can complete the double by participating in day two’s running races at distances of 24K or 50K. For travelers who don’t want the competition but are still in search of some scenic trails to explore via mountain bike, there are plenty of those to go around. Beginners can start with Old Flowers Road, a dirt road that meanders through ranches with open, scenic views. Intermediate riders can explore Pole Hill, which offers a mix of 4×4 roads as well as more technical rocky sections. Advanced riders can challenge their skills on the Kruger Rock/Limber Pine Loop. The cooler weather of fall and the changing colors of the leaves make fall an excellent time of year for a cycling adventure in Estes Park!
Book Your Estes Park Fall Rental Here!
Looking for accommodations for your Estes Park fall journey? At Mountain Village at Lake Estes, we can assist you in finding the perfect Estes Park fall rental! Enjoy the beauty of Lake Estes and the surrounding mountains when you book a fall rental through us at Mountain Village Lake Estes. Our luxurious cabins offer log interiors with soaring vaulted ceilings and a spacious great room – the perfect blend between rustic and modern. With both an indoor and outdoor stone fireplace and a bubbling private hot tub on the deck, there are plenty of options for warming up on cool Estes Park fall evenings. Our 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom fall vacation rentals in Estes Park accommodate up to 8 guests comfortably, offering plenty of space for your family or group of friends. Spend this fall in Estes Park enjoying the great outdoors and attending charming festivals characteristic of mountain living! The scenery comes alive with color during fall months, making autumn the perfect time for a getaway to Estes Park! Browse our listings of cozy cabins here!