The fall is no reason to fall away from family vacations! If you're planning fall break activities now, see what's happening in Estes Park to keep the kiddos entertained.
Hiking – Hiking is always a favorite Estes Park activity and many of our easy or moderate hiking trails are still accessible through autumn. These trails not only have stunning views on their own, but coupled with the fall colors, you simply can’t miss out on hiking during your stay in Estes Park.
Horseback riding – Want to catch those amazing changing colors but don’t want to pack your hiking boots? No problem, pack your jeans and cowboy hat instead for a horseback riding adventure! Some stables offer rides year-round, but fall in Estes Park is still generally warm enough that you won’t need to worry about that winter coat just yet.
Off-Roading – Take a Panoramic Peak Tour in a 4×4 where you’ll ride up an 1860’s wagon trail road and get your breath taken away by the stunning vistas and views. This tour is three hours and runs until December 1.
Photo Safari – If you’re planning on taking some beautiful photos during your trip in Rocky Mountain National Park, try a Photo Safari where you’ll be guided to the best spots in the park and around Estes Park.
Visit Rocky Mountain National Park for free – The park is open 24 hours a day and 365 days a year but if you want to enjoy a fee-free day this fall for your national park adventure, visit on September 26 for National Public Lands Day or November 11 in honor of Veterans Day.
Wildlife watching – Another year-round favorite among our guests is wildlife watching. It’s an easy activity that can be done during your trip through Estes Park, in Rocky Mountain National Park, or even from your vacation cabin! If you enjoy wildlife watching, you’ll want to save the date for the Elk Fest in October!
Estes Park is no stranger to hosting family-friendly and fun events and our fall lineup this year is pretty great. See the events and details on Estes Park events in September, October, and November.
Fine Arts & Fine Crafts Show, September 19 – 20
Enjoy free admission to this two-day event highlighting local art and crafts from about 100 artisans in mediums ranging from paintings to wood sculptures. The event on Saturday runs 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Autumn Gold Festival, September 26 -27
Celebrate the changing season with live music, beers, brats, and beautiful views at the Autumn Gold Festival! With no cost to enter or have the kids get their faces painted or take a fire engine ride, this event is fun for the whole family. You may want to enter the raffle where the grand prize is $5,000, second place at $2,500 and a raffle ticket is only $25. The festival is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.
Running of the Bulls, September 26
Calling all runners and athletes! Enjoy a 3.75-mile course around Lake Estes where you’ll have stunning views of the peaks, changing colors, and maybe even some wildlife. This event is dog-friendly, stroller-friendly, and kid-friendly, with a free one-mile kids’ fun run! Registration for all other participants is $30 but includes a pint of beer from the Estes Park Brewery.
Elk Fest, October 3 – 4
For 17 years, the Elk Fest has been a tradition that honors the Native American “wapiti” ( elk) and its rut that signals autumn. This fall event includes a Cabela’s archery range, elk exhibits and seminars, bugling contests, and a beer garden for the adults. This year is the inaugural Rut Run 5k on Saturday, Oct. 3. Registration for the run is $30 per person but the overall festival is free.
Surprise Sidewalk Sale, October 10 – 11
Enjoy strolling along Elkhorn Avenue and seeing the discounted merchandise from our local shops as they make room for seasonal items.
Pumpkins & Pilsners Festival, October 17
From 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., enjoy free admission to this event that celebrates two great things about fall: pumpkins and pilsners! The little ones can enjoy the kids’ activity corner, face painting, tractor rides or hay and pony rides, the jump house, and everyone in the family can enjoy pumpkin bowling, sack races, music, and of course food! Seasonal beer is available for purchase from the Estes Park Brewery or Rock Cut Brewery, and pumpkins are an additional cost.
Fall Back Beer Festival, October 31
Celebrate Halloween and the extra hour of sleep we get from Daylight Savings Time in style at the Fall Back Beer Fest. In its third year, this event lets you meet and chat with local Colorado brewers. The kids can enjoy taste testing from the soda brewers and live music at the event. Fall Back Beer Fest is owning its Halloween date with classes on how to pair Halloween candy with beers as well as the traditional seminars, demonstrations, and giveaways. General admission is $30 online or $35 at the gate, children (aged 16 and under) accompanying adult ticket holders are admitted for free.
Estes Park Holiday Market & Tree Lighting Ceremony, November 21 – 22
The third annual market has a wonderful selection of holiday crafts, specialty items, or gifts! View the vendors or items available online.
The tree lighting ceremony is November 21, from 3 – 6 p.m. at the Riverside Plaza (intersection of Rockwell Street and Riverside Drive). This free event invites you to decorate a stocking or tree ornament, wagon rides, a candy cane scavenger hunt courtesy of the Estes Valley Recreation District, and a s’mores and hot chocolate bar! Oh, and did we mention Santa Claus will be there?
Catch the Glow Christmas Parade & Celebration, November 27 – 29
Time to get excited for Christmas with the popular Catch the Glow parade that’s complete with holiday music, hayrides, and visits with Santa! Activities kick off at noon with the parade at 5:30 p.m. Get into the festive spirit with a weekend full of holiday-themed activities, which are all family-friendly.
What's your favorite fall activity with your family? Tell us on our Facebook page!