Top Fall Activities in Boulder
The crunch of leaves underfoot, that deliciously earthy smell in the crisp air, the embrace of your favorite cozy sweater and the warmth of a hazelnut latte.... Fall is a sensory delight in so many ways, especially in Boulder, where a short hike can lead to spectacularly colorful treetop views and acclaimed chefs are eager for you to taste their favorite harvest-time dishes. If you're visiting during this season of splendor, check out these activities below.
Go Leaf Peeping
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 the 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.
- Bobolink Trail: For a mellow, 2-mile cruise with excellent bird-spotting opportunities, follow the path south from the Bobolink Trailhead. Bikes are allowed on the paved section of trail (just be careful not to veer onto the unpaved pedestrian section that parallels the creek through the trees). Because this trail is on the eastern edge of town, you’ll get to admire foothills views and open space vistas along the way, with yellow Aspens lining your path.
- Peak-to-Peak Scenic Byway: For a scenic fall drive from Boulder, take Hwy. 119 (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.
Please use caution when driving mountain roads. It's best to download a map before you leave in case you go into areas with no cell coverage. In winter (or even late fall!), ensure you have snow tires or chains. And if you need to take a moment to enjoy the scenery or consult your map, pull over in a safe, out-of-the-way spot.
Take a Mural Tour
Boulder has seen an explosion of murals in the last handful of years, largely thanks to the local nonprofit Street Wise Arts. Be on the lookout for new murals created during their summer, fall and spring festival series that bring community-informed and accessible mural projects to Boulder. Check out our mural page for current mural maps, grab a hot drink from a coffee shop and hit the streets.
Sip Some Fall Beers
Boulder has about 20 breweries, many of which serve food and have gorgeous outdoor patios. Special seasonal releases are common, so check the latest tap lists for gems like Avery's Rumpkin (pumpkin-infused with rum notes) or Upslope's Pumpkin Ale.
It's also the perfect time for cider, with a fantastic local option to try in Boulder: BOCO Cider.
Stop by a Farm Stand or Pumpkin Patch
Boulder is surrounded by acres of farmland, the bounty of which supplies our acclaimed restaurants with the tastiest ingredients. You can go right to the source and shop the following Boulder County farm stands — while enjoying some amazing fall landscapes along the way.
Taste Fall's Bounty
Boulder's chefs are renowned for their ingenious use of ingredients readily available on Boulder County's 800+ farms. Now's the time to grab a table (outside, if that's most comfortable for you) and taste their amazing creations.
2023 Fall Events
Plan your visit around a fall festival or event. Below are a few annual events to get you started, with a complete calendar available here.
CU Buffs Football Season
September 2-December 1, 2023
Watch the Pac-12 CU Buffs compete on beautiful Folsom Field.
Boulder Farmers Market
Every Saturday, April 1-November 18, 2023 (8am-2pm)
Every Wednesday, May 3-October 4, 2023 (4-8pm)
Come sample, shop, meet local farmers, smell the flowers, hear live music, sit by the creek and eat great food.
Sans Souci Festival of Dance Cinema
September 1-3, 2023
Check out a stellar selection of international dance films, along with workshops, installations and performances.
Festival del Sol
September 17, 2023
Disfrute musica en vivo, camión de comida, bebidas en el jardìn, bailes tradicionales, juegos, actividades para niños, cabina de fotos, y ventas de arte local ubicadas en el auditorio de Chautauqua y jardines circundantes.
Enjoy live music, food trucks, outdoor beer/wine garden, traditional dance, games, children’s activities, photo booth, and local art vendors at the Chautauqua Auditorium and surrounding gardens.
Mapleton Hill Porchfest
September 17, 2023
A free event where dozens of local musicians play and sing on quaint porches of the historic homes in the Mapleton Hill neighborhood.
Boulder Fall Fest
September 22-24, 2023
This three-day autumn festival features live music, great food, local microbrews, wine and margaritas, with the added excitement of children’s activities and featuring Firefly Handmade Markets.
Rayback Oktoberfest 2023!
September 28, 2023
Enjoy live polka with Polka Folka from 6-8pm, join in on a Stein Hoisting contest and enjoy $6 festbier specials. Free and open to the public.
Proclaiming Colorado's Black History Exhibit Opening Night
September 29, 2023, 5-8pm
Step inside the Museum of Boulder’s newest exhibit, "Proclaiming Colorado’s Black History," which aims to give museum attendees an inclusive understanding of the state’s history by illuminating the stories of Black Coloradans who have lived in the area for the past two centuries.
Street Wise Fall Mural Series
September 29-30, 2023
In partnership with the Museum of Boulder, Street Wise's Fall Mural Series, “Proclaiming Colorado’s Black History," will bring murals to walls at various locations throughout Boulder. Murals will feature themes of building community, Afro-Futurism and social justice.
October 7-22, 2023
Boulder artists open their homes and studios to the public for a unique and intimate arts event that spans three weekends.
Indigenous Peoples Day
October 9, 2023
A series of events across Boulder become part of a national effort to recognize and honor the existence, culture and contributions of the original inhabitants of North America.
BOCO Flamenco Festival
October 10-11, 2023
The Dairy Arts Center hosts two days of music with 2021 Grammy Nominee Rafael Riqueni headlining along with well-known guitarist Juani de la Isla and singer El Cañejo.
CU Family Weekend
October 12-15, 2023
CU welcomes families of students for a football game, 5K run/walk, educational sessions and more family fun.
Q BBQ Fest
October 20-21, 2023
Grab an ice-cold brew and sample pure smoked bliss from award-winning pitmasters at Folsom Field.
World Singing Day Boulder
October 21, 2023
A free community sing-along where people of all ages, backgrounds, and singing abilities are invited. No rehearsals or preparation needed. Just show up!
First Bite: Boulder's Restaurant Week
October 20-29, 2023
Enjoy chef-curated prix-fixe meals at Boulder's best restaurants and take part in experiences like an e-bike food tour or a farmers market tour with a chef.
October 31, 2023
Each Halloween, Downtown Boulder is invaded by tiny ghosts and goblins, dinosaurs and dragons, fairies and princes, superheroes and animals of every size for trick-or-treating along Pearl Street.
November 4, 2023
In-person events will include the annual Alumni Awards ceremony, Spirit Days on the Quad, Buffs on Tap, the 50-Year Reunion for the class of 1971 and the Ralphie’s Corral tailgate.
Firefly Handmade Holiday Market
November 11-12, 2023
Artisans fill the blocks of Pearl Street to shop the best of local, handmade craft, art and design in a festive setting.
Switch on the Holidays
November 19, 2023
Come see the lighting of downtown in holiday lights and an appearance by Santa Claus, too.
St. Nick on the Bricks
Friday, November 24, and Saturdays, November 24-December 23, 2023
Kids of all ages can visit with Santa at the Downtown Boulder Visitor Information Center for free.
Snow Much Fun Light Displays
During Snow Much Fun, hundreds of thousands of colorful LED lights illuminate Boulder’s Civic Area, next to the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse and the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, and throughout downtown Boulder, including all along historic Pearl Street. Each year there are fun, themed light displays. Grab a hot cup of cocoa and enjoy a wonder-filled stroll outside.