NOTE: This article was updated on September 4, 2019 to include current information and recommendations.
We can fall in love with fall no matter what city we find ourselves in. After all, pumpkin pie, apple cider and corn mazes are things we can enjoy anywhere. But we have a few strong reasons to celebrate the season right here in Northern Colorado. They’re not all flannel and hot cocoa either, so keep reading to find out all about our communities’ annual events, other-worldly attractions, local businesses and more!
Colorado has some of the densest aspen groves in the country and (not surprisingly) some of the most photographed landscapes and attractions in North America. Here in our little region of the state, we can boast Rocky Mountain National Park, Arapahoe and Roosevelt National Forests as well as open spaces like Horsetooth Mountain and Lory State Park. During the fall, these places are awash in the characteristic gold of changing aspen leaves and other beautiful trees.
To get a glimpse of them, check out The 9 Best Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park to See Fall Colors or head further afield for 12 of the Best Places to View Colorado’s Fall Colors.
It wouldn’t be fall without a trip to the pumpkin patch. And whether you’re searching for the perfect Jack-o-Lantern, hunting down an ingredient for pumpkin pie, or just looking for a fun place for hayrides and corn mazes, Northern Colorado has it. To find the one closest to you, check out our guide and interactive map: Pick Your Favorite NoCo Pumpkin Patch.
Because the weather is cooler and our open spaces are less crowded with summer tourists and young families, fall is one of the best seasons to opt outside in Northern Colorado. And you’ll be rewarded with a few great views of those famous fall colors we mentioned earlier. To start planning your outings, we recommend Colorado’s 8 Best Waterfall Hikes to Try this Fall and The 9 Best Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park to See Fall Colors.
Whether you’re cheering on the Broncos, the UNC Bears or the CSU Rams, football is a huge part of fall. In Fort Collins in 2019, Colorado State University is celebrating its third year at the brand new, on-campus facility, Sonny Lubick Field at Canvas Stadium. And this year, each and every home game is preceded by Stadium Sessions, a new, season-long series that includes a party on the New Belgium porch Friday evening and a Game Day Tailgate on the Saturday before each game. To see which artists and bands are playing at each event, check out the website.
Do you know what pairs perfectly with flannel, pumpkin-picking, changing leaves, chilly mornings and hot cider? Here in Northern Colorado, it’s got to be a local craft beer. Typically, fall brings on a hoard of tried-and-true pumpkin beers, but Fort Collins, Greeley and Loveland breweries are anything but typical. In past years, we’ve gotten to taste pumpkin beers with a habañero kick, CSU-inspired concoctions, coffee and milk stouts, sours and more.
To check in on your favorite local brewery, find them in The Ultimate Guide to Fort Collins Craft Breweries or The Ultimate Guide to 20 Craft Breweries from Greeley to Loveland.
Although Old Town Zombie Fest is taking a hiatus this year, there are so many fall events happening throughout Northern Colorado! And you can still get your zombie fix at the Loveland Zombie Crawl with Loveland Aleworks on October 19th.
But Northern Colorado doesn’t leave Halloween to the zombies. Take a look at The Essential Fall Events in Northern Colorado for 2019 and mark your calendar for endless fall fun this season.
For more seasonal scares, check out 9 Terrifying Haunted Houses in Fort Collins, Loveland + Northern Colorado.
Jack Lantern’s Corn Maze has been Northern Colorado’s favorite corn maze and pumpkin patch for over 15 years, offering 90 acres of fear, fright and fun. And it’s all located right here in Fort Collins!
During the day, the grounds are alive with a festive, family-friendly harvest celebration. Complete with two pumpkin patches, bounce houses, corn chuckers, pedal cars, farm animals and trick-or-treating, it’s a must-visit for families all over NoCo. When the sun goes down, the monsters, zombies and ghosts creep out of the shadows. By moonlight, the 20-acre corn maze turns into a bone-chilling adventure.
With the fall, come some of the year’s biggest holidays, and when Halloween and Thanksgiving roll around, our communities can’t resist fun, themed and costumed races. Some of those include annual runs like the dog-friendly Phantom 4 Miler on October 26, 2019 and various Thanksgiving morning races, including the NCMC Turkey Trot in Greeley, the Turkey Trot in Estes Park, and the Fort Collins Thanksgiving Day Run.
Photo courtesy of Tour de Corgi
Or should we saw three words and four short legs? Tour de Corgi is a must-see annual event even if you don’t have a Corgi in the family. Occurring each fall for the past five years, this carnival and parade invites costumed pets and their sometimes-costumed parents to register and participate in one of our favorite parade processions of the year. Proceeds benefit 4 Paws Pet Pantry, Low Riders of the West, and Wyoming Dachshund and Corgi Rescue. You can get more information and register on the website.
At the beginning of November every year, Downtown Fort Collins celebrates the Holiday Lighting Ceremony which illuminates thousands of lights strung throughout Old Town. The event itself is complete with live music, hot cocoa and complimentary cookies and, because the lights stay lit through the winter, the fun continues throughout the holiday season.
In Loveland, Chapungu Sculpture Park at Centerra transforms into Winter Wonderlights. From mid-November and through early January each year, the park is illuminated by holiday string lights, twinkling bulbs, LED mappable snowflakes, illuminated African stone sculptures and 30-minute music and light shows every single night. And the best part is it’s all free and open to the public!