Best Mountain Events to Attend in Colorado This Fall

Telluride festival


While the beauty of fall in the mountains is undeniable, this in-between season can have many sun and snow seekers anxious and unsure of how to spend their time until the snow starts to fall. Spending a weekend finding the best fall colors is a must-do for all locals, but what about the other weekends of this often under-appreciated season for adventure? We like to find the best mountain events that are going on across the state and plan our weekends accordingly.

Go here to read our 2017 list.

To save you the trouble we have rounded up our top events to help get you through fall. Enjoy it while it lasts, because once the snow starts to fall you will likely be daydreaming of warmer temperatures and jacket-free days.

Chili & Beer Festival

by Trent Bona via Chili and Beer Festival
by Trent Bona via Chili and Beer Festival

Where: Crested Butte, CO
When: September 10, 2016
Cost: $30 – $119

The Lowdown: Considered by many to be the official mountain kickoff to fall, this festival delivers a good time year after year. Enjoy plenty of local brews and chili while taking in the live music against the beautiful mountain backdrop. And if you like to work for your extra calories, you can take part in the Park to Peak to Pint race that is sure to make you feel like you earned an extra drink or two. In fact, the entire weekend is heavy on the bikes, so no guilt required for any imbibing that might happen along the way.

Apple Fest

via FourteenerNet
Photo Courtesy of FourteenerNet

Where: Buena Vista, CO
When: September 10, 2016
Cost: donation only

The Lowdown: If ever there was a festival that took you back to a simpler, more innocent time it would be Apple Fest. The annual event is held at historic Turner Farm and Apple Orchard with activities such as apple picking and pressing, butter-making, log sawing, blacksmithing, spinning, old-time sewing demonstrations, croquet and a cake walk. If that wasn’t enough to make you think you’ve stepped into a time machine, you can also enjoy live music on the farmhouse porch featuring popular local musicians.

Salida Bike Festival

mountain events
Photo courtesy of Bowling by Bike

Where: Salida, CO
When: September 15 – 18, 2016
Cost: Free

The Lowdown: If your favorite way to explore Colorado is on two wheels, this festival is just the place for you. With four days packed full of bicycle-inspired events and activities, there is little chance that one will get bored. Spending a weekend in Salida is always a treat, with plenty of charm and an extra warm welcome, but this event is something special. Stay busy with activities such as bike decorating, bike races, mountain bike rides, a traveling vintage bike museum and so much more. The icing on the cake is definitely the Monarch Crest Crank which leads riders over the famed Monarch Crest Trail for the ultimate Colorado mountain ride. We love anything that gives back and this fun event is no exception. Proceeds from the Monarch Crest Crank go to the Alliance Against Domestic Abuse (AADA).

Telluride Blues and Brews

Photo courtesy of Telluride Blues and Brews

Where: Telluride, CO
When: September 16 – 18, 2016
Cost: $20-$499

The Lowdown: Now in its 23rd year, Telluride Blues and Brews returns for a weekend-long celebration of music, craft beer and comedy. This year’s lineup boasts more than just the blues with indie, rock, gospel and funk musicians scheduled to perform. In addition to the live acts, which also include comedy, there will be 56 craft breweries in attendance to showcase 170 styles. A 5K race is also set to take place on Saturday morning, so don’t forget your running shoes! Go here to see the full schedule.   


mountain events
Photo courtesy of The Colorado Tourism Office

Where: Pagosa Springs, CO
When: September 16 – 18, 2016
Cost: $40 for adults, $20 for kids for Breakfast with Balloons. 

The Lowdown: Pagosa Springs is one of our favorite getaways in all of Colorado. Something about this beautiful town tucked quietly into southern Colorado seems to beckon us each and every year. The annual Colorfest event is one of the best ways to experience the beauty that this area has to offer. And if you want to know the very best way to experience the balloon display, stick with us. Get a ticket to the first ever Breakfast With Balloons event happening on September 17 from 7 a.m.-10 a.m. Enjoy a delicious champagne breakfast as you watch dozens of hot air balloons rise into the morning sky. Mixed into the same fun weekend are the Pagosa Food and Wine Fest and the Colorfest Music and Micro Brew Festival. Does it get much better?

Elk Fest

Photo by Kyle Cooper.
Photo by Kyle Cooper.

Where: Estes Park, CO
When: October 1 – 2, 2016
Cost: Free

The Lowdown: One of the official signs that Fall has arrived is the annual rutting of the elk, or ‘wapiti’ as they are known to the Native Americans, in Estes Park. While they are frequently seen around town and Rocky Mountain National Park throughout the year, this time of year is unique. Hundreds of elk ascend on the Estes Valley for their mating season and hearing them bugle in such large quantities is a one-of-a-kind experience. It has become so popular among locals that they have been given their own festival: Elk Fest. This two-day event is a great time to see the fall colors, participate in bugling contests, archery range, elk exhibits and so much more. If you haver never been, be sure to add this festival to your fall calendar.


mountain events
Photo courtesy of Play Winter Park

Where: Devil’s Thumb Ranch, Tabernash, CO
When: October 16, 2016
Cost: Inquire with Devil’s Thumb Ranch for details.

The Lowdown: With Oktober Festivals sweeping the state, it can be hard to know which one is worth your time. We personally think that any that are in the mountains are a pretty good bet. If you have never been to Devil’s Thumb Ranch, it is a beautiful spot to visit (and stay) year round. Tucked into the mountains just a few miles from Winter Park, you will find a variety of things to keep you busy here. This year marks the second annual Okto-Beer-Fest  and promises plenty of fun and a unique ranch-style takes on this growing event. Get ready to enjoy great live music, an Oktoberfest-inspired food fair and plenty of good brews. Bonus: special pricing is available for designated drivers.

Telluride Horror Show

via Telluride Horror Show
Photo courtesy of Telluride Horror Show

Where: Telluride, CO
When: October 14 – 16, 2016
Cost: $125 for a 3-day pass

The Lowdown: If you ask us, the best way to prepare yourself for the Halloween season, because it is a season, is with the Telluride Horror Festival. Three days packed full of the best and scariest horror films from around the world, your nerves may be fried by the end of it but your enthusiasm for the spookiest holiday of the year will be even stronger. If horror, thriller, suspense, sci-fi, fantasy and dark comedy movies are your jam, get your tickets before it’s too late.

Steamboat OktoberWest

mountain events
Photo courtesy of Steamboat OktoberWest

Where: Steamboat Springs, CO
When: September 16-17, 2016
Cost: $20-$63

The Lowdown: What’s better than enjoying good food and a cold brew with your feet in the river? While this might sound like a quintessential summer activity, we all know that the warm temperatures often stick around into the fall here in Colorado, and this Oktoberfest celebration has the perfect Rocky Mountain twist. The event kicks off with a good-old fashion pub crawl through historic downtown Steamboat, while the fun continues through the weekend with a beef cook-off, beer garden, live music and activities for the whole family.

Fall Fest

mountain events
Photo courtesy of YMCA of the Rockies

Where: Estes Park Center
When: October 22, 2016
Cost: Inquire with YMCA of the Rockies for details.

The Lowdown: Don’t believe that this fall event is only for kids and families; the fun extends to anyone and everyone at this annual fall fest celebration. With everything from pumpkin carving, s’mores roasting, donut bobbing, face painting, a fall carnival, hay rides and even square dancing, it is a day that will take you back to your youth. This is such a beautiful time of year to be in the mountains and we can’t think of a more fall-infused festival than this one.

Festival of Cars and Colors

Photo courtesy of Cars and Colors on Facebook
Photo courtesy of Cars and Colors on Facebook

Where: Telluride, CO
When: September 29-October 2, 2016
Cost: $35-$200

The Lowdown: It is hard to compete with the one-of-a-kind cars that can be found at car shows. They usually feature the best of the best when it comes to vintage wheels for all to see and enjoy. But Telluride has come up with the perfect combination of natural beauty to go with this annual car show: fall foliage. The vibrant leaves provide the perfect backdrop for this classic car show. But the fun doesn’t end with classic cars; visit the vintage motorcycle exhibit, the war bird exhibit and the unique display of vintage cars staged on one of Telluride’s most notable golf courses as well as in historic downtown. The Million Dollar Highway Road Rally is one of the most popular events to take place at this annual event.

John Denver Celebration

mountain events
John Denver Sanctuary in Aspen, photo courtesy of

Where: Aspen, CO
When: October 12-17, 2016
Cost: Free-$75 (depending on the event)

The Lowdown: With John Denver’s Rocky Mountain High practically the Colorado anthem, it is no surprise that the folks in Aspen dedicate nearly an entire week to this celebration. With musical tributes happening all around town, you are sure to find a place where you, too, can honor the music legend, most notably the events happening at the John Denver Sanctuary in Aspen. This is a great place to gather, share your love for old classics, and enjoy one of Colorado’s most famous mountain towns.

ARTumn Festival

mountain events
Photo courtesy of PR Web

Where: Crested Butte, CO
When: September 17-18, 2016
Cost: Free

The Lowdown: This annual celebration is one of our favorite ways to ring in the Fall Solstice, showcasing a variety of artisans selling their goods including pottery, furniture, jewelry, home decor, photography, sculpture and more. Not only are you sure to have a wonderful time in Crested Butte for the official kickoff to fall, but the drive to this beloved mountain town is gorgeous this time of year. Be sure to pack the camera and stop as often as the mood strikes.

Frisco’s Haunted House

mountain events
Photo courtesy of Mtn Town Magazine

Where: Frisco, CO
When: October 28-31, 2016
Cost: $5 for students, $7 for adults and $20 for a family four pack

The Low Down: If Halloween is your thing, the ability to travel up I70 to Frisco for the ultimate mountain haunted house is our best recommendation for fall mountain events. Every year the Frisco community center gets transformed by local volunteers into a haunted schoolhouse that is fun for ages seven and over. Paying money to let people scare you might sound crazy, but this house benefits a good cause (Mountain Mentors Teen Program, Activities Run by Youth) so this is an idea we can get behind.

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