NOTE: This article was updated in October 2020 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: The Best Pumpkin Patches in Northern Colorado [Interactive Map].
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 2020, Colorado State University is celebrating its fourth year at the brand new, on-campus facility, Sonny Lubick Field at Canvas Stadium. Click here for more information about the 2020 season, including their game schedule and where you can watch them live on TV.
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. And find a few beers on our list of 12 Seasonal Fall Drinks in Fort Collins You Have to Try.
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 on October 24th. Plus, the Downtown Loveland Pumpkin Festival is still happening this year! And for the little ones, make your way to the Farm at Lee Martinez Park for Treatsylvania on October 28th.
A tradition for generations of Colorado families, Fritzler Farm Park offers mountains of fun during the fall. This year, their Fall Festival is available from September 19th through October 31st and includes more than 15 attractions, including a pumpkin patch, a corn maze, pedal go-carts, the Barrel Coaster, paintball, a beer garden, pumpkin blasters and more. For all the details (including haunted attractions and online tickets), click here.
COVID NOTE: Fritzler Farm Park is taking several precautions, including requiring health checks for all employees and staff members, regularly cleaning and sanitizing high-touch areas, and more. They ask guests to practice social distancing and stay home if you have any COVID-19 symptoms. Click here for their full list of protocols and policies.
Our ever-present sunshine and cooler temperatures creates the perfect combination for getting outside. Check out some of our favorite outdoor fall adventures in Northern Colorado, from apple picking to hiking through fall foliage. The best part about each is you can be outside the entire time — which works well for both social distancing and taking advantage of the pleasant fall weather. Add these outdoor fall adventures to your bucket list, no matter where you live throughout the region!
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 several 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. And this year, Tour de Corgi is going virtual! Proceeds benefit 4 Paws Pet Pantry, Colorado Corgis & Friends, Bandit’s Bandaid, and Wyoming Dachshund and Corgi Rescue.
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!