Top Fall Activities in Boulder
The crunch of leaves underfoot, that deliciously earthy smell in the crisp air, the embrace of your favorite cozy sweater and the warmth of a hazelnut latte.... Fall is a sensory delight in so many ways, especially in Boulder, where a short hike can lead to spectacularly colorful treetop views and acclaimed chefs are eager for you to taste their favorite harvest-time dishes. If you're visiting during this season of splendor, check out these activities below.
Go Leaf Peeping
Here are just a few ideas on where to see the fall colors in and around Boulder.
- Mapleton Hill: One of Boulder’s most historic and beautiful neighborhoods, Mapleton Hill bursts with fall color each year. Stroll Mapleton Avenue between Broadway and 4th Streets to admire the stately homes and old-growth trees.
- Mesa Trail: The south end of the Mesa Trail is a great place to walk among the turning leaves. Yellow cottonwoods and red sumac are prevalent in this area. The trailhead is on the north side of Eldorado Springs Drive.
- Wonderland Lake: A gentle loop trail at Wonderland Lake provides reflecting views of the golden cottonwoods and the Flatirons in the distance.
- Bobolink Trail: For a mellow, 2-mile cruise with excellent bird-spotting opportunities, follow the path south from the Bobolink Trailhead. Bikes are allowed on the paved section of trail (just be careful not to veer onto the unpaved pedestrian section that parallels the creek through the trees). Because this trail is on the eastern edge of town, you’ll get to admire foothills views and open space vistas along the way, with yellow Aspens lining your path.
- Peak-to-Peak Scenic Byway: For a scenic fall drive from Boulder, take Hwy. 119 (Canyon Blvd.) west up to Nederland and you’ll hit Hwy. 72, part of the Peak-to-Peak Scenic and Historic Byway. The byway runs from Black Hawk to Estes Park and is one of the best places in Colorado to see fall colors.
Take a Mural Tour
Boulder has seen an explosion of murals in the last handful of years, with more than 135 murals popping up in that timeframe. The latest round of 23 in the Street Wise Boulder series all share a theme of "ARTivism," a combination of art and activism. Check out our mural page for maps, grab a hot drink from a coffee shop and hit the streets.
Sip Some Fall Beers
Boulder has over 20 breweries and many of them serve food and are open for indoor seating and have outdoor patios. Special seasonal releases are common, so check the latest tap lists for gems like Avery's Rumpkin (pumpkin-infused with rum notes) or Upslope's Pumpkin Ale.
It's also the perfect time for cider, with a fantastic local option to try in Boulder: BOCO Cider.
Stop by a Farm Stand or Pumpkin Patch
Boulder is surrounded by acres of farmland, the bounty of which supplies our acclaimed restaurants with the tastiest ingredients. You can go right to the source and shop the following Boulder County farm stands — while enjoying some amazing fall landscapes along the way.
Taste Fall's Bounty
Boulder's chefs are renowned for their ingenious use of ingredients readily available on Boulder County's 800+ farms. Now's the time to grab a table (outside, if that's most comfortable for you) and taste their amazing creations.
2022 Fall Events
Plan your visit around a fall festival or event. Below are a few annual events to get you started, with a complete calendar available here.
CU Buffs Football Season
September 2-November 19, 2022
Watch the Pac-12 CU Buffs compete on beautiful Folsom Field.
Boulder Farmers Market
Every Saturday, April 2-November 19, 2022 (8am-2pm)
Every Wednesday, May 4-October 5, 2022 (4-8pm)
Rated the No. 1 farmers' market in the country by readers of USA Today. Come sample, shop, meet local farmers, smell the flowers, hear live music, sit by the creek and eat great food.
Every Saturday and Sunday, September 17-October 30, 2022
Arts in the Open's fall production of the Gothic classic, "Frankenstein," by R.N. Sandberg, will take place in the historic Chautauqua Park.
Sans Souci Festival of Dance Cinema
September 2-December, 2022
Check out a stellar selection of international dance films, along with workshops, installations and performances.
Street Wise Boulder Mural Festival
September 29-October 2, 2022
Marvel at large-scale murals on walls all over Boulder that have been created in the span of just a few days by talented artists from across the globe.
Downtown Boulder Fall Fest
September 16-18, 2022
This three-day autumn festival features live music, great food, local microbrews, wine and margaritas, with the added excitement of children’s activities and featuring Firefly Handmade Markets.
Community Harvest Festival
October 12, 2022
Free fall celebration at the Growing Gardens’ urban farm, with pumpkin and face painting, lawn games, goats, a bluegrass band, local food trucks and pumpkins and iris bulbs for sale.
First Bite: Boulder's Restaurant Week
September 29-October 9, 2022
Chef-curated prix-fixe meals at Boulder's best restaurants all over town.
Indigenous Peoples Day
October 10, 2022
A series of events across Boulder become part of a national effort to recognize and honor the existence, culture and contributions of the original inhabitants of North America.
October 9, 2022
Run a half or full marathon that ends in beautiful downtown Boulder, or be a spectator for this inaugural foot race.
CU Family Weekend
October 13-16, 2022
Families are invited to Boulder to connect with their students, attend educational sessions, see a planetarium show, and enjoy a chance to meet other Buff families.
World Singing Day Boulder
October 15, 2022
A free community sing-along where people of all ages, backgrounds, and singing abilities are invited. No rehearsals or preparation needed. Just show up!
Celebración de la Comunidad (Latinx Community Celebration)
October TBA, 2022
The Colorado Chautauqua's first bilingual Latinx community celebration will feature Latin-themed food, story hour with puppets and music from Latin Grammy Winner Gaby Moreno.
October 31, 2022
Each Halloween, Downtown Boulder is invaded by tiny ghosts and goblins, dinosaurs and dragons, fairies and princes, superheroes and animals of every size for trick-or-treating along Pearl Street.
Open Studios Fall Artist Tour
October 1-2, 8-9 and 15-16, 2022
Boulder artists open their homes and studios to the public for a unique and intimate arts event that spans three weekends.
October 27-30, 2022
CU plays Oregon State in the homecoming football game Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. Other events include the Pearl Street Stampede, an awards ceremony, an alumni-brewed beer event and a virtual 5K.
Burgundy Wine Festival
November 11, 2022
During a four-day extravaganza, guests will taste some of the rarest wines of Burgundy at some of Boulder's most highly acclaimed restaurants.
Switch on the Holidays
November 20, 2022
Come see the lighting of downtown in holiday lights and an appearance by Santa Claus, too.
St. Nick on the Bricks
November 25-December 24, 2022
Kids of all ages can visit with Santa at the Downtown Boulder Visitor Information Center for free.
Snow Much Fun Light Displays
November 20, 2022-January 31, 2023
During Snow Much Fun, hundreds of thousands of colorful LED lights illuminate Boulder’s Civic Area, next to the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse and the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, and throughout downtown Boulder, including all along historic Pearl Street. Each year there are fun, themed light displays. Grab a hot cup of cocoa and enjoy a wonder-filled stroll outside.