As we enter into fall in Colorado during October, everyone is looking for ways to enjoy the cooler temperatures, seeking out the best spots to see fall foliage, and preparing for ski season. By now, the first snow has hit the high country while colorful aspens highlight the mountainsides, and the eternal debate of cider vs. pumpkin spice lattes ignite.
It’s truly a beautiful time of year to see the Centennial State and all it has to offer. So, enjoy the best of fall with plenty of fun things to do in Colorado in October.
Here are some things to do in CO during October 2023:
Corn Maze at Chatfield Farms
The fall season in Colorado isn’t complete until you’ve walked through the corn maze at Chatfield Farms. Get lost in their 7-acre corn maze as you wind your way through the towering stocks of corn. See the maze from above with views from the two 15-foot-tall illuminated bridges.
For the kids aged 10 and under, they may explore the corn mini-maze. Plus, for the month of October only, pick your perfect pumpkin from Chatfield’s 10-acre pumpkin patch.
The corn maze is open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays for the entire month of October.
Check out the other corn mazes in Colorado.
Hit the slopes at Arapahoe Basin
Hit the slopes early and kick off the ski season with a day at Arapahoe Basin. Notoriously known for operating the longest ski and ride season of any ski resort in Colorado, their anticipated open date for the 2023-24 season is mid-October, weather-dependent.
The ski resort offers more than 1,400 acres, nine lifts, and a restaurant serving up food and mountain views at 12,500 feet. Known for its laid-back culture, the low-key atmosphere is just one of the many reasons local Coloradans seek powder at A-Basin.
Take a scenic drive
In October, fall colors hang around for the first few weeks of the month. One of the best ways to soak up as much fall foliage as you can is with a scenic drive. Popular fall routes include:
- Million Dollar Highway between Silverton and Ouray. Reportedly costing one million dollars to build, this drive provides sweeping mountain views and a sea of golden aspens at almost every corner. As part of the San Juan Skyway, this is one of the most scenic routes in all of Colorado.
- Last Dollar Road between Telluride and Ridgway (4-wheel drive only). Winding through the majestic San Juan Mountains, discover mountain peaks, thick aspen groves, golden meadows, and some of Colorado’s most beautiful ranches.
- The West Elk Loop connects the towns of Paonia, Crested Butte, Gunnison, and Carbondale. This route winds through 205 miles of expansive meadows, rivers, deep canyons, and massive aspen groves. Highlights include Blue Mesa Reservoir, Crystal Lakes, Kebler Pass, and McClure Pass.
- Gold Belt Scenic Byway, where miners once mined for gold in towns like Victor and Cripple Creek, is now a spot where visitors seek gold in a different way with the colorful fall foliage that dots this scenic byway. Highlights include Phantom Canyon, Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, and historic towns.
Discover more autumn drives in Colorado.
Stay in a haunted hotel
Get into the spirit of the season and stay in one of Colorado’s several haunted hotels. One of the most popular and well-known Colorado haunted hotels is The Stanley in Estes Park. Known for the inspiration of the Stephen King novel, “The Shining,” the hotel is appreciated as one of America’s most haunted hotels.
The historic hotel is reported to have its share of spirits and ghostly hauntings that make frequent appearances. Complete your experience with their ghostly night tours, featuring a 60-minute walking tour that introduces you to Stephen King, the original hotel owner F.O. Stanley, and other notable visitors over the last 100+ years.
Other haunted hotels in Colorado include: (affiliate links)
- Imperial Hotel in Silverton – Featured on an episode of Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures, the Imperial Hotel is said to be haunted by the spirit of the original owner and his daughter.
- Hotel Jerome in Aspen – A local landmark since 1889, Hotel Jerome is believed to house the spirit of a young boy who drowned in the hotel pool, plus other sightings of the mining men who once stayed at the hotel.
- The Oxford Hotel in Denver – Denver’s oldest boutique hotel, in operation since 1891. The Oxford Hotel is said to be haunted by a woman who killed her lover and herself at the hotel, with specific sightings in room 320. The notorious Cruise Room bar inside the hotel is also reportedly haunted as well.
- The Brown Palace Hotel in Denver – The luxurious Brown Palace Hotel has been wining and dining celebrities and socialites for over 100 years. It’s rumored to be home to some ghostly spirits who stayed in room 904 100 years ago and have never left.
- Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs – Guests of this luxury hotel have reported hearing a woman’s scream, strange knocking, and suspicious elevator movement.
Fall Train Rides
Bask in the beauty of fall in Colorado with a train ride through some of your favorite mountains. Hop aboard the Leadville Colorado & Southern Railroad with one of their special fall train rides where you can enjoy views of the Arkansas River Valley and yellowing aspens as you ride through some of the state’s most scenic landscapes.
Maybe celebrate the season with Autumn Fest on the Georgetown Loop Railroad, only a short 45-minute drive from Denver. Or grab a seat aboard the Cascade Canyon Express via the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.
While not an actual train, the Pikes Peak Cog Rail is another fun way to see the fall colors and scenic landscape of the Rocky Mountains. The cog rail is running full steam ahead with its year-round schedule. Begin your route in Manitou Springs and ride to the top of Pikes Peak and visit the upgraded Pikes Peak Visitor Center.
Wander around a Fall Festival
Just because the warmer months have passed doesn’t mean there is a shortage of entertaining festivals to attend around the state. Whether you’re in the mood to catch a horror film, taste test some craft spirits, or maybe even try something new (cowboy poetry anyone?), there are numerous events to keep you busy throughout the month.
- Emma Crawford Coffin Races & Parade honor one of the most influential historic figures in Town, Emma Crawford. Teams of five compete to see who can bring their creatively decorated coffins down the 195-yard track along Manitou Avenue the quickest. There is also a parade and after-party to round out the day.
- Telluride Horror Show features 3 days of spooky flicks at select locations around the beautiful mountain town. Enjoy a range of horror, sci-fi, thriller and other dark short films. You will also gain insight into the production process through special programs scattered throughout the weekend.
- Breckenridge Craft Spirits Festival celebrates the art of distilling with over 30 Colorado distilleries making an appearance at the 3 day festival. Workshops, educational seminars, and live entertainment fill out the exciting schedule.
- Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering serves as a place for southwestern stories to be told through poetry readings, storytelling sessions, and music performances. This magical weekend also includes an awe-inspiring Cowboy Parade, composed of everything from llamas and longhorns to Native American dancers and kids on stick horses.
For more things to do in October, be sure to check out our events page and see what is happening in your part of the state.