Sign In
Waiting for Winter
Waiting for Winter

​​​​Waiting for Winter: What to do in between seeking fall colors and hitting the slopes​

​​​​​​​​​​​​It’s that time of year again, when the peak of autumn has fallen behind us and regular snow fall is only just on the horizon. At this point, some people may start putting away their outdoor gear and stop spending as much time outside enjoying nature, instead preparing for the slopes and waiting patiently for the first lifts to open. But there’s still plenty to do outside, so layer up and plan your next trip to the state parks to breathe in that crisp autumn air and experience the tranquility of this in-between season. 

1. Go horseback riding at Chatfield State Park.​

Horseback Riding in Chatfield State Park

With temperatures slowly but surely dropping from their summer highs in the front range, it’s our favorite time to go horseback riding. With approximately 24 miles of trails, Chatfield State Park offers plenty of room to roam. Chatfield Stables gives guided rides for every experience level. Enjoy beautiful mountain views and miles of diverse trails through forests, around ponds, across rivers, and through plains.

Contact Chatfield Stables to book your trail ride today.

2. Climb the rock formations at Lory State Park

Bouldering at Lory State Park

There are many existing bouldering opportunities on the granitic rocks in the Arthur’s Rock vicinity, and on Arthur’s Rock itself. Bouldering involves climbing on rocks or small cliffs generally only up to a height where a fall would not be extremely serious. It’s a relatively inexpensive way to first try rock climbing; the only typical requirements are climbing shoes, a chalk bag (to improve grip) and the sense not to climb high enough for any potential falls to be dangerous. When bouldering, many people also use specially designed “crash pads” to cushion any falls as well as a “spotter” or partner to help protect them in the event of a fall. If possible, find a friend that can teach you the basics of bouldering before going out on your own.

Please stop by Lory State Park’s visitor’s center to review the climbing guides or visit See climbing information and other activities at Lory State Park.

3. Fly fish at the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area

Fly fishing at Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area

Test your skills at catching brown and rainbow trout at this world class fishing location. From the river bank or a boat, the Gold Medal Waters of the Arkansas River offer plenty of fishing opportunities. Fall fishing may present more challenges as the water is often low and clear, but it also offers great reward. Better yet, you’ll find far more solitude on the water in autumn. Find information about fishing and other activities at Arkansas Headwaters State Park.

4. Mountain Bike the trails at Staunton State Park

Mountain biking at Staunton State Park

From high grassy meadows at 8,100 feet to soaring granite cliffs over 10,000 feet, there’s plenty to see around this park from your bike. Staunton State Park's varied geology, soils, water features, and climate support rare and unexpected plant communities and a rich diversity of wildlife. A majority of Staunton State Park’s more than 20 miles of trails are multi-use. Load up your bike and make your way to Staunton for a brisk, autumn ride through the park. It’s only a 40 minute drive from Denver!

5. Watch Wildlife at a Location Near You

Mule Deer buck and doe during rut
Fall is one of the best wildlife viewing seasons in Colorado. Join us for viewing events and festivals around the state. Specific state parks have guided viewing events, interpretive walks and wildlife educational programs, as well. Check with your local park to find out more.

If you have ever been interested in learning more about the behavior of deer during the rut, now is your chance! Colorado Outdoors blog article, "A Weekend in the Rut," offers a closer look with video footage and imagery of white-tailed deer behavior during the rut.