Fall is a unique time to visit Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. Crowds are at a minimum after the bustle of whitewater rafting season, and the cool mornings and bright, sunny afternoons make the days leading up to ski season the perfect time to plan an adventure in the foothills. Idaho Springs and nearby mountain towns have all the makings for a fun-filled fall afternoon, from breweries to outdoor excursions there’s something for everyone to enjoy just a short drive from Denver.
A fall trip to the mountains is incomplete without checking out the annual color change of the aspen groves. The I-70 corridor through Clear Creek County offers some of the boldest colors of the season and is easy to explore from near and far. AVA’s Mount Evans Via Ferrata and Cliffside Zipline, are only a short walk from historic downtown Idaho Springs and are a great way to enjoy an elevated, guided view of the mountain vistas and their famous swathes of gold.
To get a more up-close and personal view of the fall foliage, consider taking the scenic route and make your drive into Idaho Springs via Squaw Pass from the nearby town of Evergreen. While getting to the peak of Mount Evans by Mount Evans Scenic Byway may no longer be an option for the season, the mountain’s neighbor, Chief Mountain, is the perfect fall hiking destination with equal parts colorful leaf-peeping and impressive, high-altitude views of nearby 14ers. The hike to the top of Chief Mountain can be fairly quick and easy from the trailhead on Squaw Pass, but more ambitious hikers can even summit Chief Mountain beginning from Idaho Springs.
Clear Creek County has no shortage of great places to eat and drink, and exploring the historic mining towns of Georgetown and Idaho Springs is even more fun using our local bike rental and shuttle services. Georgetown Lake is a scenic place to end a half-day ride, conveniently located next to Cabin Creek Brewing, and you might even be lucky enough to spot a bighorn sheep as you lock up your bike at the wildlife viewing area! If you’re making the commitment for a full day of bike riding, downtown Idaho Springs will greet you at the end of your 26-mile excursion with breweries, a cidery, meadery, and restaurant for any palate and mood. Don’t miss the opportunity to check out the local boutiques (Christmas shopping anyone?!) while exploring historic Idaho Springs too, especially while Miner Street is designated as a pedestrian mall.
Here in Colorado our mild, fall days and colorful aspen will end just as quickly as they began, and whether you only have a day, or a whole weekend to explore, you can make the most out of autumn on the front range in Clear Creek County. Colorado’s much-anticipated ski season is right on our heels, and lots of fall adventures in the area are on sale now; with fewer travelers than other months, it’s the perfect time to adventure in the foothills.