By Beth Buehler
The welcome signs for incoming travelers have long boasted Colorful Colorado, but perhaps there should be a notation that adds “especially in fall.” While New England gets its fair share of notoriety for autumn colors, it’s hard to beat Colorado’s mountain ranges covered in swathes of pure gold aspen trees with hints of red and orange in September and early October. Plus, the temperatures are divine in the mountains and towns along the Western Slope and Front Range, which enjoy fall through the end of October and even into early November. A perfect time to plan a meeting in Colorado!
Fabulous Options for Fall
- There are deals to be had on weekdays in mountain towns during the fall. Families are limited to weekend travel with kids back to school and the busier fall foliage exploring and wedding days are weekends. Check out cool mountain towns like Aspen, Durango, Breckenridge, Steamboat Springs, Telluride, Winter Park, Keystone, Crested Butte, Beaver Creek and Vail at a smaller price tag than during busier summer and winter months.
- The same is true for ranches like C Lazy U Ranch in Granby, Peaceful Valley Resort & Conference Center (formerly Peaceful Valley Ranch) in Lyons, Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa in Tabernash and 4 Eagle Ranch in Wolcott. Built-in activities and the Western experience of being on a ranch are hard to beat for fall gatherings.
- It’s grape harvest time along the Western Slope, so plan to meet in Delta County, Grand Junction or Palisade to incorporate visits to some of the nearly 40 wineries (possibly on a bike, in a limo or on scooters) and overlap with the Colorado Mountain Wine Festival, the state’s largest and oldest wine festival happening on Sept. 17 – 20 in Palisade. September also is the time when the area’s lavender fields bloom for a second time in the season.
- Enjoy other bountiful harvests by tapping into growing farm-to-table restaurant options and farmer’s markets. For example, the Boulder County Farmers Markets are in Boulder and Longmont on Wednesdays (through late September for Longmont and early October for Boulder) and Saturdays (through mid-November for both). In Colorado Springs and Denver, there are numerous farmer’s market options through the end of September or early October. Chefs at various local restaurants and hotels often are willing to lead farmer’s market outings and prepare purchased items in demonstration or class formats.
- Golf and spa combos always seem to work well for groups. Those who savor playing 18 holes will enjoy the state’s many excellent courses without the crowds but with the autumn splendor. Attendees who prefer a day of relaxation versus wrestling with golf clubs can savor spa treatments that feature ingredients harvested in fall.
This is just a sampling of ways to plug into one of Colorado’s most glorious seasons. Local meeting and event planners, destination management companies and sales staff at properties and venues can plug you into standout options for their respective locations.
Beth Buehler is editor of Colorado Meetings + Events and Mountain Meetings magazines, has planned numerous meetings and events and enjoys exploring Colorado.