Autumn is the perfect to time to explore all the outdoor adventure Estes Park has to offer. From fishing along the river, steps from your cabin to hiking a few of the 300 miles of trails in Rocky Mountain National Park, the quiet rustle of golden aspen leaves welcome you to indulge in this breathtaking season in the Rocky Mountains.

With legs strong from a summer on the trails, hikers tackle some of Rocky Mountain National Park's more challenging hikes. The promise of awesome views and increased fitness sends them up summit trails, such as Deer Mountain or Twin Sisters for challenging, yet stunning vistas. Below, a stunning palette of golds, oranges and reds colors the landscape. On the moderate Gem Lake Trail, a well-timed water break shows off Estes Park and dramatic rock formations in one view. Golden aspen leaves twinkle above you while your feet crunch on a path of fallen autumn leaves.

Outside of Rocky Mountain National Park, bicyclists reap similar rewards as they pedal the Lake Estes Trail starting off from the Estes Park Visitor Center. Here, Longs Peak and Mount Meeker come into easy view and the continental divide displays beyond the lake. Horseback riders take advantage of cooler temps for longer rides. And fall hatches push anglers back into streams, where fat trout hide. On the golf course, players compete, sometimes having to play through herds of loitering elk. Primarily at dawn and dusk, the bulls' throaty bugling echoes across the mountains, signaling that fall has officially arrived with the advent of the elk rut-the elk-mating season.

Head out for adventure on your own, or take a guided off-road excursion or fishing trip. Easy walking paths or more difficult hiking trails all offer an up-close glimpse of the colorful aspen leaves or bugling elk during their fall mating season. After a morning of leaf-peeping or guided exploration, return to the village to treat yourself to a home-cooked meal or warm up with a cup of freshly brewed coffee.