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    Pearl Street

    Fall Activities in Boulder

    Every fall, the cottonwoods, aspen, maples and other trees in and around Boulder put on a dazzling autumn show. Crimson and golden leaves float down to be whisked away by Boulder Creek and set the foothills aglow with brilliant color. Here’s a short guide to enjoying fall foliage — and fall events — in Boulder.

    The Best Time for Fall Colors in Boulder

    While the exact timing is different each year, the fall foliage in Boulder tends to be best Sept. 27–Oct. 25, and it’s at its very best Oct. 5–20. If you want to capture that quintessential Colorado photograph of the golden trees against a snow-capped mountain peak, nearby Long’s Peak usually gets its first snowfall around Oct. 5–20.

    Where to Go

    Here are just a few ideas on where to see the fall colors in and around Boulder.

    • Mapleton Hill: One of Boulder’s most historic and beautiful neighborhoods, Mapleton Hill bursts with fall color each year. Stroll Mapleton Avenue between Broadway and 4th Streets to admire the stately homes and old-growth trees.
    • Mesa Trail: The south end of the Mesa Trail is a great place to walk among the turning leaves. Yellow cottonwoods and red sumac are prevalent in this area. The trailhead is on north side of Eldorado Springs Drive. 
    • Wonderland Lake: A gentle loop trail at Wonderland Lake provides reflecting views of the golden cottonwoods and the Flatirons in the distance.

    Wonderland Lake in Fall

    • Bike-to-Breweries Trail: The gentle bike-to-breweries route takes you through some of the loveliest sections of the Boulder Creek Path, with tall trees all along the creek's banks. You'll head east out to a few unique Boulder breweries and admire foothills views and open space vistas along the way. As you wind back into town on the Goose Creek Path, you’ll encounter tall grasses with ducks and geese peeking out. As you get closer to the city you’ll cross paths with bike commuters, training Olympians and dog-walkers.

    Family Biking Boulder Creek Path

    • Peak-to-Peak Scenic Byway: For a scenic fall drive from Boulder, take Canyon Blvd. west up to Nederland and you’ll hit Hwy. 72, part of the Peak-to-Peak Scenic and Historic Byway. The byway runs from Black Hawk to Estes Park, and is one of the best places in Colorado to see fall colors. If you take Hwy. 72 north and continue north on Hwy. 7, there are plenty of places to explore along the way, such as charming Allenspark, where the sweeping Wild Basin is filled with quaking aspen against a snow-peaked backdrop, and Estes Park, a tourist destination in itself and a gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. Then loop back down to Boulder via Hwy. 36 through the charming town of Lyons. 

    2016 Fall Events

    Plan your visit around a fall festival or events. Below are a few annual events to get you started, with a complete calendar available here

    Boulder Creek Hometown Festival
    Sept. 3-5, 2016
    Entertainment, chili cook-off, classic car show, food and drink along the banks of Boulder Creek.

    Boulder Creek Hometown Festival

    Downtown Boulder Fall Fest
    Sept. 16-18, 2016 
    Three-day autumn festival featuring food, brews and music with the added excitement of a Children’s Carnival.

    Firefly Handmade Market
    Sept. 17-18, 2016
    An exceptional craft fair featuring local artisans. ​

    Fall into Fashion Weekend
    Sept. 22-25, 2016
    Boulder retailers present fall looks on the Pearl Street Mall catwalk, boutiques host in-store special events, and downtown bustles with live music, food and drinks to mini makeovers and shopping.

    Jaipur Literature Festival
    Sept. 23-25, 2016
    Visitors can attend talks, readings, musical performances and writing workshops as part of this free, three-day festival.

    Jaipur Literature Festival Boulder

    Adventure Film Festival
    Sept. 29-Oct. 1, 2016
    Two days of the most inspirational films of the year, shown at the historic Boulder Theater.

    Open Studios Fall Artist Tour
    Oct. 1-2 and Oct. 8-9, 2016
    Boulder artists open their homes and studios to the public for a unique and intimate arts event that spans two weekends.

    Burgundy Wine Festival 
    Oct. 20-23, 2016
    During a three-day extravaganza, guests will taste some of the rarest wines of Burgundy at some of Boulder's most highly acclaimed restaurants.

    Munchkin Masquerade
    Oct. 31, 2016

    Each Halloween, Downtown Boulder is invaded by tiny ghosts and goblins, dinosaurs and dragons, fairies and princes, superheroes and animals of every size trick-or-treating along Pearl Street.

    First Bite: Boulder's Restaurant Week
    November 13-21, 2016 
    For one full week, more than 40 of Boulder’s top restaurants offer a special three-course, prix-fixe menu.

    Cafe Aion Dining

    Switch on the Holidays
    November 20, 2016
    Santa counts down to the grand illumination of the Boulder County Courthouse and the Pearl Street Mall.  Featuring a holiday concert.

    Boulder Ballet’s Nutcracker
    Nov. 25-27, 2016
    A seasonal favorite of classic ballet, accompanied by the Boulder Philharmonic.