Any season is a good season to be in Colorado Springs, but the city puts on an especially spectacular show in the fall. Check out our suggestions for the best autumn activities in and around town.
Bike Pikes Peak Highway
This autumn adventure isn’t for the faint of heart, but it will give you a fantastic view of the fall colors. The 19-mile paved road has been open to cyclists since 2013. Many cyclists start the ride at the Crystal Reservoir Visitors Center, 12.5 miles from the summit. Another option is to have someone drive you to the summit and bike down. Either way, the trip will get your heart pumping.
If you prefer viewing the fall foliage on foot, this 2-mile hike to South Catamount Reservoir is a good choice. The trail starts in Green Mountain Falls off Highway 24. After some uphill switchbacks, you’ll enter the Garden of Eden. This area dazzles with wildflowers and native plants in the summer, but come fall the abundant aspen trees take center stage.
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
The summer crowds are gone, and so is the intense summer heat. Fall is the perfect time to enjoy this mountainside zoo, west of the Broadmoor area. Wear walking shoes and allow at least half a day to enjoy the exhibits. Feed the giraffes, ride the historic carousel, or take in the fall scenery on the Mountaineer Sky Ride. You can bring your kids for trick-or-treating during Boo at the Zoo on select nights in mid to late October.
Mueller State Park
This 5,000-plus acre park is about 45 miles west of Colorado Springs. You’ll find hiking and biking trails, views of majestic mountains (including Pikes Peak), and lots of aspens. The Cahill Pond Trail is the easiest. Outlook Ridge/Lost Pond Loop trail is a little more challenging, but the Cheesman Ranch Trail (moderate) is the best for aspen viewing. Note: Dogs are not allowed on the trails.
Miner’s Pumpkin Patch
Pick a pumpkin and learn about the region’s mining history all in one place. The Miners’ Pumpkin Patch is open on weekends in October on the grounds of the Western Museum of Mining and Industry. Admission to the pumpkin patch is $10 and includes a free pumpkin. Check out the mining equipment scattered throughout the property. Admission to the museum requires a separate purchase.
Red Rock Canyon Open Space
Red Rock Canyon offers staggering rock formations similar to Garden of the Gods, but with fewer crowds. The city of Colorado Springs bought the land in 2003, preserving it as a public open space. There are hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails, and you can bring your leashed dog. Your furry friend can go off-leash on the Upper and Lower dog loops. Climbers can tackle the sandstone formations with a permit and technical gear. The 5.3 mile Red Rock Canyon loop trail is a favorite for hikers, trail runners, and bikers. The area doesn’t have much shade, so fall is a perfect time to get out and enjoy it.
This sampling of seasonal activities available in the Springs is certain to make you a fan of fall… if you’re not already there. So grab your favorite flannel, fleece or sweater and enjoy the fall bounty our area has to offer.
Laura Hatch is a journalist who spends her free time hiking with her husband and three sons. From Pikes Peak in Colorado to the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and McAfee Knob near Roanoke, she’s made it to the summit of the country’s favorites.