Fort Collins is an incredible area to visit during all times of the year. However, there is something extra special about Fort Collins in the Fall season. The Choice City is absolutely stunning during the fall season, loaded with beautiful colors and great weather. Fort Collins is the perfect place to post up during your search for beautiful fall colors. And when you're not in search of beautiful leaves, we suggest you immerse yourself in all the activities Fort Collins has to offer.
Fort Collins is home to some of the best restaurants, breweries, family-friendly activities and outdoor recreation in the state of Colorado. Not to mention Fort Collins has a downtown area that inspired the creation of Disneyland Main Street USA! Let us help you plan the best fall weekend possible with some of our favorite itineraries.
Find Beautiful Fall Colors
Leaf peeping is a great way to explore Fort Collins, Colorado during one of its most beautiful seasons, fall. The peak season for fall foliage typically runs from the last week in September to the second week of October, though its expected that leaves will peak a little earlier this year, likely closer to mid September.
The proximity of Fort Collins to the Cache la Poudre River canyon and Rocky Mountain National Park makes our city a leaf peeping magnet. Fort Collins is the perfect place to make your hub for leaf peeping adventures.
The gold, orange, and red leaves sprawl as far as the eye can see as you wind your way through the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Just remember you only get two weeks to soak it all in. Don't hesitate, book your room today!
Top Leaf Peeping Spots around Fort Collins:
- Poudre Canyon*
- Lory State Park
- Cameron Pass*
- North Park
- Red Feather Lakes*
- Roosevelt National Forest*
- Rocky Mountain National Park
*Please note: the Poudre Canyon, Cameron Pass and Read Feather Lakes areas were effected by the Cameron Peak Fire in 2020. Please check these resources for road conditions and closures.
Fort Collins is the cultural hub of northern Colorado. The city is full of so many great performance theatres, museums and art galleries that it’s hard to choose just one to visit. And, if you’re in the mood for a concert look no further than Washington's, the Mishawaka Amphitheater, the Aggie Theater, Avogadro’s Number, and many other unique venues.
Here is a list of all the great places to take in some culture, enjoy nature or see a show (please check the website for the latest information prior to visiting):
- Global Village Museum (open to visit by appointment)
- Environmental Learning Center
- Center for Fine Art Photography
- Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising (offering virtual exhibits)
- Museum of Art Fort Collins
- Gregory Allicar Museum of Art (reopening to the public via reservation starting Sept. 12, 2020)
- Lincoln Center (set to reopen for events in 2021)
- Bas Blue Theater (temporarily closed)
- Fort Collins Symphony
As the leaves begin to fall and the colors start to change, breweries all around Fort Collins take note and mix things up by creating beers that incorporate seasonal flavors.
New Belgium Brewery is always on top of releasing its seasonal craft beers and their special release Voodoo Ranger Atomic Pumpkin will be around once more for a limited time! If you’re looking for something new from them, visit the liquid center (tasting room) and give your taste buds a kick.
Another brewery popular for its seasonal offerings is Odell Brewing Co. Odell keeps things interesting as they are constantly brewing new, creative, limited-time beers on their pilot system as well as a number of seasonals. Visit the brewery and sip on Pulp Theory, a Hazy IPA seasonal sipper, Oktoberfest, a Marzen-style lager, and Isolation Ale, their popular winter warmer.
Fort Collins is home to 20-plus breweries and counting. We encourage you to get out and sample as many seasonal suds from these breweries as you can. For a list of all the breweries in town click HERE.
If being scared isn’t your thing contact Beer and Bike Tours or Front Range Ride Guides and tour Fort Collins the way it was meant to be, by bicycle. If you want to do more of a self-guided bike tour, feel free to rent a bike from one of the many rental locations around Fort Collins.
Pick a Pumpkin or Navigate a Corn Maze
Who doesn’t love the excitement of picking out your very own pumpkin to carve for Halloween? Pumpkin picking in Fort Collins provides an incredible opportunity to visit one of the local farms and pick your very own pumpkin from a patch. The Bartel’s Farm offers a huge selection of pumpkins to go along with Corn Mazes and Hay Rides. Close to Old Town, The Farm at Lee Martinez Park is a great place to see farm animals and take a hayride. And, if you’ve never done a corn maze and you like to be frightened, you must try it. It’s basically real life meets PacMan meets Friday the 13th! Here’s a list of pumpkin patches and corn mazes in and around Fort Collins:
- Fort Collins is a city full of artisans and local craftsmen who use the Rocky Mountain backdrop and supportive community for inspiration. When we see their products throughout Colorado we’re proud to say they are ‘Made in Fort Collins.’ Here are some of our favorite local products.
- Shopping in Downtown Fort Collins can be a magical experience. Quaint boutiques, historic architecture, and unique shops line the streets of Old Town Fort Collins creating a window-shopping experience with every amenity you could want.
- The Foothills Mall, a 77-acre shopping center remodeled in 2015, includes household names like Macy’s and Victoria’s Secret, Nordstrom Rack and H & M. The mall and the stores along the College Ave. corridor offer a wide variety of women’s and men’s clothing, fashionable and functional shoe wear, and accessories.
- Front Range Village has the city’s largest collection of large national retailers along with many smaller boutiques in a walkable state-of-the-art lifestyle shopping center. Destination stores like DSW Shoes, World Market, and Lowe’s anchor the 100-plus acre property, while favorite smaller stores fill in the rest of this shopping landscape.
Attend a fall festival
From 10K runs to an international film fest, Fort Collins has a handful of fun autumn festivals to attend:
• Aug. 27, Break Free Fitness Festival: The third-annual Break Free Fitness Festival returns to Washington Park in Fort Collins from 5 to 10 p.m. on Aug. 27. Get your body moving with Beat Drop Yoga, take part in a glow-in-the-dark dance party with DJ KapSlap and enjoy fire blowers, an LED show, aerial talent, dancers, music, food and more.
• Sept. 6, FORTitude10K: The fourth annual Labor Day 10K Classic returns to Fort Collins, the only city in Colorado certified by the Road Runners Club of America as an official Runner Friendly Community. The course takes participants on a scenic route that starts on Laurel Street, north of Colorado State University, and weaves through many classic Fort Collins neighborhoods before looping through and around City Park. The race will end across the street from Canvas Stadium’s north doors on Meridian Avenue. Food vendors, expos, live bands and more will greet racers near the finish line at the mini festival.
• Sept. 8-12, Horsetooth International Film Festival: Dubbed a festival by filmmakers, for filmmakers, this third annual event welcomes hundreds of patrons for a five-day festival of live music, art, and of course, films. This rapidly growing event was designed to unite filmmaking and other creative communities to celebrate the art of storytelling and provide a platform for this art.
• Sept. 19, Tour de Farms: This annual bicycle charity fundraiser (in partnership with Fortified Collaborations) is a fun and festive 35-40 mile, half-day+ ride that begins and ends at the Farmer’s Market or a TBD local brewery. It is led by Bike Fort Collins representatives and features a combination of paved and gravel roads, along with two to three stops at local area farms. Each farm stop features light tastings and refreshments along with a few words from each farm owner/representative.
Hit the Road!
Road trip to Red Feather Lakes: Red Feather Lakes, located an hour drive northwest of Fort Collins, is a secluded spot that’s less populated than many Colorado outdoor destinations. Surrounded by 612,000 acres of Roosevelt National Forest, the Red Feathers Lakes area is a year-round outdoor playground but fall is a beautiful time to visit. Hike or fish in one of the eight lakes in the area, four of which are open for public fishing. You may also fish in the nearby Cache La Poudre River, Colorado’s only designated Wild and Scenic River and the area’s best spot for whitewater rafting and kayaking. Nearby Beaver Meadows Resort Ranch offers lodging, fishing, horseback riding and more.
Make Fort Collins your home base for an amazing fall road trip: The Northern Colorado Loop tour: The Northern Colorado Loop Tour takes you across 360 stunning miles, connecting three central scenic byways in the area with the Cache La Poudre National Heritage Area. The Cache La Poudre — North Park Scenic & Historic Byway portion of the tour is 101 miles packed full of scenery and wildlife and is especially gorgeous in the fall. This byway meanders from the plains and hogbacks into the magnificent Poudre Canyon, over Cameron Pass and into North Park and then Walden. From Walden, head to Granby, located near Grand Lake and the headwaters of the mighty Colorado River. Trace the river’s course as it plunges into Gore Canyon, past Radium Hot Springs, Rancho del Rio and on to State Bridge along the Colorado River Headwaters and Scenic Byway. Head back to the town of Granby and past quaint Grand Lake for the spectacular return to Fort Collins via the Trail Ridge Road Scenic Byway. The route traverses through the heart of Rocky Mountain National Park along the highest continuous paved road in North America (at 12,183 feet) and arrives in historic Estes Park. From Estes, the history lesson continues through Big Thompson Canyon and on to the Colorado foothills towns of Loveland, Greeley, Windsor and, finally, back to Fort Collins. This exceptionally scenic drive provides visitors with a glimpse into the past while offering a bounty of recreational activities.