Summer may have drawn to a close but autumn offers one of the best times to visit Colorado. Boasting fun activities for all the family, from arts and culture to food festivals and skiing, below are the must visits this season.
Festivals & Events
Pueblo’s Chile & Frijoles Festival, Pueblo (23-25 September)
Foodies should head south of Denver this autumn where they can celebrate Pueblo’s harvest of its most-loved crop, the Pueblo green chili, at the Chile & Frijoles Festival. A true feast, the festival will include cooking demonstrations, musical performances, frijole-spitting and jalapeño-eating contests. Visitors can also take home fresh green chiles so they can cook up a storm at home.
Breckenridge Oktoberfest, Breckenridge (23-25 September)
Returning to its original celebration for the first time since the pandemic, Oktoberfest is coming back bigger and better than ever. Visitors are encouraged to dress in their best Bavarian attire and enjoy a stein or three. Breckenridge Oktoberfest will have a full-blown street party with live music, food vendors and many cheers.
Elk Fest, Estes Park (1-2 October)
Each October in Estes Park, bull elk gather to show off for the females during the start of rutting (breeding) season. At Elk Fest, visitors can learn about the animals behaviour whilst observing them in their natural habitat. Onlookers can expect live music, performances, and can even participate in a bugling contest. For those wanting to learn the ins and outs of the beautiful beasts, The YMCA of The Rockies is offering an Elk Ecology Class where participants can enjoy hands-on activities to learn about their biology, herding dynamics and habitat requirements for survival and seasonal behaviour changes.
Tarantula Fest, La Junta (8 October)
Every autumn, herds of tarantulas scurry across the open landscape in La Junta and southeast Colorado. Whilst this has traditionally been seen as migration, it’s in fact an annual mating ritual performed by male tarantulas who roam across 443,000 acres on the Comanche National Grassland. Once temperatures start to cool, the mating season begins. In celebration, the first annual Tarantula Fest will be held in La Junta and include guided tarantula tours, an educational pavilion and much more.
Denver Arts Week (4-12 November)
With hundreds of events around the Mile High City, Denver Arts Week will show off one of the world’s most vibrant arts scenes. Explore vibrant art districts, outdoor sculpture displays, performing arts shows, literary events and art sales. One of the week’s main highlights is Saturday Night at the Museums on 5th November, when many of the city’s top cultural institutions will be open for free from 5-10pm, a great opportunity for culture vultures to get their art fix.
Season opening dates
Colorado’s popular ski destinations have announced dates for the upcoming season, starting with Keystone’s kick off in October. On 11th November, both Breckenridge and Vail will follow before Winter Park opens on 16th November. Beaver Creek, Steamboat and Crested Butte will open on 23rd November, with Aspen Snowmass to follow on 24th November.
A true winter wonderland, Keystone Resort boasts more than 3,000 acres of skiable terrain across three peaks a stone’s throw away from Denver. Kicking of the Colorado ski season this October, activities include night skiing, snow tubing, ice skating, sleigh rides and more. With the Kids Ski Free programme, children 12 and under can ski and ride for free every day all season long when just two or more nights of accommodation is booked. Not only this, but the popular Outpost Restaurant has also received a 6,000 square feet expansion, adding 300 more guest seats indoors and 75 outside.
In January 2023, Steamboat in Colorado will celebrate its 60 year anniversary. The popular resort is known for its western heritage and is currently undergoing a $200 million renovation which will see modernisation on the mountain and in the resort’s base area. Winter 22/23 will see the opening of the lower leg of the new Wild Blue Gondola (the longest gondola in North America and the fastest 10 person gondola in the country) and base area improvements including a new ice skating rink and food and drink hall.
Gearing up for another ski season, Aspen Snowmass plans to come back with a bang with exciting events including the return of World Cup racing on Aspen Mountain and new major developments including a revamped Buttermilk base area. A $23 million renovation, Buttermilk will see a reworked base area complete with a new 9,000 sq.ft electric skier services building, a new Mountain Lodge eatery, and an expanded bar and outdoor patio named The Backyard.
Hotel Openings & Refurbishments
A-Frame Club, Winter Park – opening autumn
The much-anticipated A-Frame Club, a new hotel in Winter Park, is set to open its doors this autumn in time for the 22/23 winter season. Comprising 31 cabins, the design is inspired by 1970s American ski culture paired with modern amenities, including an Onsen-style bath, cosy fireplace and outside deck. Beyond A-Frame Club, visitors to Winter Park can enjoy skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating and more. Exact opening date TBA.
The Western Hotel, Ouray – reopening autumn
Originally built in 1891, The Western Hotel has undergone an extensive renovation to enhance its amenities whilst paying homage to its history and authentic design. In addition to 16 beautifully designed guest rooms, the property will feature a saloon bar and restaurant, general store and spa comprising hot and cold plunge pools and treatment rooms. Exact opening date TBA.
For more information, visit www.colorado.com.