There are so many fall-themed activities we can’t wait to check off the list this year, so we thought we’d make it easy for you and map out a few of our favorite excursions into one fall road trip weekend. Get out of the office ASAP on Friday, grab your friends, S.O., cousins — whomever — and sip spiked PSLs all the way through Sunday. Here’s a map of your route:
COVID-19 note: make sure to check with county rules and regulations before you go, as some areas may be closed or have new restrictions.
The Lowdown: We’re getting this road trip started by heading down Highway 285 towards Buena Vista just in time for a crisp-aired sunset hike. Stop at Kenosha pass for one of the most iconic fall backdrop hikes—or runs if you’re up for it. Start at the Kenosha Pass North trailhead and follow the trail for as far as you want before it starts to get dark. The whole out-and-back trail clocks in at 7 miles and has minimal elevation gain. With plenty of aspen groves and leafy views, this hike will get you in the right mindset for the rest of the weekend and start things off with the natural beauty you’re after this time of year.
Afterwards, pick a nearby camp spot to settle into for the night. Pitch a tent and get a campfire going at any of these spots. All are within a 20-minute drive from the trail and going in the right direction for tomorrow:
- Timberline Campground
- Jefferson Creek Campground
- Dispersed camping along Lost Creek Road in Jefferson
- Dispersed camping along Rock Creek Hills Road in Jefferson
After your warm-up hike and exposure to the autumn air, you’ll be ready for everything Saturday has in store for you this weekend. Part ways with Highway 285 and turn onto Highway 24 towards Buena Vista for a goat excursion. You read that right.
Up first: a goat farm tour
Where: 31700 US-24, Buena Vista, Colorado
The Lowdown: Amp your favorite childhood activity up a notch by going to Jumpin’ Good Goats farms. Book a farm tour, which starts at 11:30 a.m., and learn about the workings of a dairy farm and get acquainted with the friendly goats.
Next stop: Leadville
You have a few options from here depending on when you land in Colorado’s highest city. With a pumpkin patch, ghost town, or hiking option, you’re bound to find something that sparks your interest.
Leadville Pumpkin Patch
Where: 320 E 9th St, Leadville, Colorado
When: October 27, 1 – 4 p.m.
The Lowdown: A local tradition, the pumpkin patch features games, snacks, crafts, and of course, pumpkins! Come dressed up and celebrate the weekend before Halloween.
Made your trip on a different weekend? There’s still plenty of beautiful hikes to go on and ghost towns to see in Leadville:
Hikes + Ghost Towns
Ghost town: Vicksburg in Clear Creek is just on your way to Leadville from Buena Vista. Vicksburg used to be the second largest town in the canyon. Now, it sits abandoned. A museum and outside voice recording tell the ghost town’s story.
Hikes – If you’re in the mood for another aspen-featuring hike, the area is surrounded by lakes and plenty of aspens, with towering 14ers as the backdrop. Check out Timberline Lake Trail, Hagerman Tunnel Trail or Native Lake Trail for easy to moderate hikes.
Where to stay
The Lowdown: If you’re looking to stay under a roof, the Delaware Hotel is a must. This hotel is the perfect spot to get you into the spooky Halloween mood. Looking like an antique museum and filled with ghost tales and history, the Delaware Hotel staff will tell you story after story. If you’re looking to camp instead, there is dispersed camping along Independence Pass, as well as several campsites:
- Molly Brown Campground
- Crescent Mining Camp
- Silver Dollar Campground
- Sugar Loafin’ Campground
- Baby Doe Campground
The Lowdown: Now, we make our way through the mountains for the final road trip day. Turn onto Highway 91 until you hit Copper Mountain, where you’ll turn onto I-70 east towards Frisco. You’ll be passing through great beer and aspen country, so we put together a good mix that matches Sunday’s relaxed vibe.
Up first: Keystone
The Lowdown: Head to Keystone’s River Run Village to catch a gondola ride of breathtaking birds-eye views. The gondola currently runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. You’ll be transported up Dercum Mountain, where you can do some exploring before grabbing lunch at the Overlook Grill. As its name suggests the grub spot boasts a pretty amazing view of Lake Dillon and the surrounding mountains.
Next stop: breweries
The Lowdown: Hit a brewery or two on the way home for your Sunday beer. Here are the adorable towns you always pass through on the way to the mountains, but rarely stop at. They actually serve some great brews. Just be sure to designate a driver.
Idaho Springs: Westbound and Down Brewing Company. It’s great when you’re drinking right where the beer is being processed, but it’s even better when a brewery pours themselves over the process. Westbound and Down uses Clear Creek County snowmelt, an unfiltered practice and a stainless steel system to create beers with the surrounding area in mind. Plus, they use wind power. Scoop up some of their food items too, like the chili cheese fries or nachos.