A crisp autumn breeze wakes the Aspens and sends the sweet air of fall through the Front Range, readying the residents for a vibrant season to come. Although this time of year is a favorite among locals seeking cooler temps and quieter crowds, 2020 offers the unique challenge of enjoying autumn responsibly. Below, we have curated a list of ways that residents can experience Colorado’s most vivid season that are both exciting and responsible.
explore Denver’s street art
Grab a local coffee and a camera for an al fresco art gallery experience starting in the River North Art District—more commonly known as RiNo. As one of Denver’s main creative hubs and shining example of revitalization, RiNo is home to endless murals and colorful designs. As an added bonus, no mural is too far from RiNo’s enticing craft breweries.
Another locale saturated in street art is none other than the Santa Fe Arts District. Home to Denver’s highest concentration of art galleries, art aficionados needn’t go further than the sidewalk to discover vibrant displays. However, if you are already in the neighborhood, many galleries are opening their doors for socially distant art admiration.
find hygge in the mountains
Tourist season winds down near the end of October, meaning Colorado residents can once again enjoy the state’s most popular wild areas without the immense crowds. However, even with a mask mandate in place, the safest way to enjoy Colorado’s scenic regions is by continually maintaining distance. Our recommendation? A glamorous weekend in a stylish stay.
Awaken to the peaceful sound of the river in this modern Aspen condo.
Soak up the unobstructed mountain views from this Grand Lake A-frame.
Admire the Aspen foliage from a balcony in a lakeside Durango cabin.
Unplug and unwind near streams and hiking trails in this historic Gunnison County dwelling.
immerse yourself in the foliage
If the cooler weather and shorter days are not enough, the state-wide blanket of golden foliage is nature’s way of indicating summer’s passing. Popular mountain towns such as Aspen and Estes Park are goldmines for foliage seekers, but standing among droves of visitors can make for an uneasy trip.
Luckily, Colorado has no shortage of colorful, foliage-drenched scenic byways for leaf-peepers to swoon over from the safety of their cars. Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park offers a seamless autumn experience that can be enjoyed from both the driver’s and the passenger’s side—just make sure to snag a reservation. For a shorter, yet slower trip, head to the Fourth of July trailhead just outside of Nederland. The bumpy ride forces leaf-peepers to take their time and enjoy the scenery.
get out on the water
By default, watersports are socially-distant ways to responsibly spend time outdoors—but paddle boarding and whitewater rafting feels less than ideal in the chilly fall temperatures. Instead of heading to the speedy portions of the Colorado River, opt for a kayaking experience in calmer waters. Although no watersport is without the risk of capsizing, still bodies of water allow kayakers to take in Colorado’s generous mountain views without worrying too much about balance.
Just off of I-70, Dillon Reservoir offers nearly 27 miles of shoreline against the backdrop of multiple mountain ranges. However, this area is also popular for motorized boats that can create wakes in the water. For a calmer experience, take I-70 just a bit further to Harvey Gap State Park, where motorized boat speeds over 20 mph are prohibited.
discover a socially-distant event
Venues, restaurants and museums are adapting to the new normal of social distancing by offering virtual tours and ample space between visitors. From the free online Indigenous Film & Arts Festival to a Virtual Gayla, popular Denver and Boulder attractions are firing up their stay-at-home offerings to ensure locals’ safety.
If life outside the front door still beckons, some moderators have pivoted to provide a safe environment for event-seekers. Denver Arts Week has been restructured into a weekend focus, providing a compact way to enjoy Denver’s art scene. For a flavorful escape into the city, VISIT DENVER is celebrating the local food scene with the first fall Denver Restaurant Week.
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