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    Pearl Street

    Top Fall Activities & Festivals 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 Longs 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 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.

    Wonderland Lake in Fall

    • Boulder Creek: The gentle Boulder Creek Path is lined with trees along its banks and perfect for leaf peeping by bike. Head east to admire foothills views and open space vistas along the way. As you head back 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 ScenicDrives2018up to Nederland and you’ll hit Hwy. 72, part of the Peak-to-Peak Scenic and Historic Byway (click on the brochure to the right to view). 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 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. 

    2019 Fall Events

    September Events | October Events | November Events

    Check back in summer 2020 for updated information.

    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


    Chautauqua Community House Concerts
    Beginning Sept. 29, 2019
    Live music in one of the region's most intimate listening rooms.


    Boulder Creek Hometown Festival
    Aug. 31Sept. 2, 2019
    Entertainment, zucchini and rubber duck races, a chili cook-off, a classic car show, a beer festival and food and drink along the banks of Boulder Creek.

    Boulder Creek Hometown Festival

    Downtown Boulder Fall Fest
    Sept. 1315, 2019
    Three-day autumn festival featuring food, brews, music children’s activities and one of the country's best craft fairs.

    Firefly Handmade Market
    Sept. 1315, 2019
    This exceptional craft fair featuring local artisans was named one of the best craft fairs in the country. The fall market is happening in conjunction with the Downtown Boulder Fall Fest (see above).

    Jaipur Literature Festival
    Sept. 2022, 2019
    Visitors can attend talks, readings, musical performances and writing workshops as part of this free, three-day festival at the Boulder Public Library.

    Jaipur Literature Festival Boulder


    Warren Miller Wednesdays
    Oct. 9-30, 2019
    ​Vintage Warren Miller ski movies show at the West End Tavern on Wednesdays October 9-30, 2019. Drink specials and epic skiing — oh yeah! And don't miss the screening of the newest Warren Miller Film at the Boulder Theater in early November. Movie starts at 8:30pm.

    Open Studios Fall Artist Tour
    Oct. 5–6, Oct. 12–13 and Oct. 19–20, 2019
    Boulder artists open their homes and studios to the public for a unique and intimate arts event that spans three weekends.

    Burgundy Wine Festival 
    Oct. 31Nov. 3, 2019
    During a four-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, 2019

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


    CU Homecoming
    Nov. 7-9, 2019
    Alumni can come back to Boulder to enjoy an award ceremony, BuffTalks, a homecoming parade and pep rally, tailgating and, of course, the annual homecoming football game at Folsom Field.

    First Bite: Boulder County Restaurant Week
    Nov. 816, 2019
    For one full week, more than 50 of Boulder’s top restaurants offer a special three-course, prix-fixe menu.

    Cafe Aion Dining

    Switch on the Holidays
    Nov. 24, 2019
    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. 29-Dec. 1, 2019
    A seasonal favorite of classic ballet, accompanied by the Boulder Philharmonic.