Get off the road this autumn to take in the brilliant colors of the fall leaves in Estes Park. From epic endeavors to leisurely explorations, there are so many different ways to take your leaf-peeping beyond the scenic drives. Read on for our local recommendations on the 8 best ways to get off the road and find hidden stashes of fall foliage in Estes Park, Colorado!
1. Biking the Trails
Start pedaling! Mountain biking, whether traditional or fat biking, is a great way to get away from the pavement and into the wilderness. From the national forest's backcountry roads and singletrack trails you'll find plenty of views full of fall colors. Whether you're going uphill or down, take time to rest and enjoy the view!
2. Pick up a Paddle and SUP
Head on over to the Lake Estes Marina for a chance to see the golden leaves from the water! Stand Up Paddle boarding (or kayaking) will both give you a fantastically fun way to check out the amazing views around Estes. Have your own gear? Head into the hills for some alpine lake action, just be sure to check the regulations for the lake you have in mind to be sure your chosen watercraft is permitted.
3. On Two Feet
Hiking may be the most popular off-road way to enjoy the changing colors. Pick your pace and route length to customize your foliage-finding trek! If you're looking for specific hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park, check out our blog post on the Top 10 Trails for Leaf Peeping.
4. Hit the Dusty Trail
Giddy up! Let a new four-legged friend do the hard work for you. Horseback riding in Estes Park allows you the time to enjoy the wonderful sights as you ride the trails in the national forest or the national park. Go for a one-hour trot or an eight-hour extravaganza, and you're sure to have a great time in the saddle!
5. Run the Line
If you want a solid workout while admiring the views and being one with nature, trail running is a great option! Work up a sweat and pound the trails all while being surrounded by a myriad of autumn beauty.
6. Rock it Out
Estes Park is a rock climbing destination for experts and new-comers alike! Climbers can enjoy golden aspens from places others simply can't get to. Earn your view by climbing high or take in the lower views with bouldering around Estes Park (try the rocks around Marys Lake). Still a little green? Try a taking lesson or class with a local guide service.
7. 4X4 More Views
Strap in for a wild ride! Off-roading is an exhilarating way to check out the leaves in fall. Whether you let an expert do the driving in modified Jeep, or you take the wheel with a local rental, you'll get the adrenaline pumping and take your fall scenic drive to places in the national forest that you just can't get to in your everyday vehicle.
8. Wade On In
Set the hook and take in the beauty of the season while fly-fishing! Breathing the cool autumn air amid the red willows will immerse you in the season. Check out rivers and lakes both inside and outside the National Park. Go with a guide or head out on your own. Either way, your fall fish tales couldn't find a better setting if they were pure fiction!
With these tips, you should be on your way to an adventurous and scenic fall foliage season in Colorado. The leaves tend to peak in late September at mid-elevations, but coming a little earlier will catch the higher-altitude aspen groves and a bit later means the variety of trees in the village of Estes Park will be in prime color. And don't forget the elk - in September and October, the bulls are rutting around - performing their iconic mating rituals of bugling, sparring and rounding up 'harems' of cows. Learn more about 'Elktober' by exploring further in the blog.