3 Fall Festivals in the Rocky Mountains

There is a season in the Rocky Mountains that falls right between autumn colors and ski season. In the tourism industry, it’s referred to as “shoulder season,” and I think it’s a great time to travel.

It’s a great time to travel because lots of mountain destinations offer sweet deals at this time of year, and there are festivals before the holidays that are worth the drive.

John Denver Celebration

John Denver Celebration
Aspen, Colorado
October 10-15, 2018

There is little doubt that Aspen’s favorite son is John Denver. He called the iconic town his home for much of his adult life. It’s still possible to run into locals who remember Denver showing up at various bars around town with his guitar in-hand.

Billed as a “tribute to the music and legacy of one of the most influential and famous singer/songwriter of a generation,” this celebration features an array of music and a beloved Denver film, “Oh, God!” at the Wheeler Opera House.

Events occur all over town but on October 13, international touring artists, Chris Collins and Boulder Canyon, will fill Wheeler Opera House with the sounds of Denver’s most famous songs and will be joined on stage by special guests.

Everyone is welcome to join in the celebration including musicians and John Denver aficionados. 

Craft Spirit Festival

Photo courtesy GoBreck

Craft Spirit Festival
Breckenridge, Colorado
October 19-21, 2018

Formerly "Still on the Hill," the Craft Spirits Festival occurs before the ski resort opens and after the leaves fall. The Grand Tasting occurs in downtown at Riverwalk Center on the afternoon of Saturday, October 20, but plenty of other events make up the festival.

There’s a scavenger hunt, beer and dinner pairing, spirited cooking class, historic walking tours and so much more. It will be a fun-filled fall weekend to be in Breckenridge. 

Thirty-eight distillers will be sharing tastes of their wares at Craft Spirits Festival, so start hydrating now.

Fall Back Beer Fest

Photo courtesy Fall Back Beer Festival

Fall Back Beer Fest 
Estes Park, Colorado
November 3, 2018

Where do elk bugle on street corners in November? Estes Park, Colorado, of course. Estes Park is a popular fall destination but it’s even more popular in the summer because it’s a gateway town to Rocky Mountain National Park.

I love visiting Estes Park in the late fall because the sidewalks are stroller-free and the restaurants aren’t crowded, and during shoulder season there’s still plenty to do and see in this town. 

It’s proximity to Denver (just an hour and 30-minutes) makes Estes Park an ideal day trip, but it’s worth staying a day or two to get the real feel of the town. Fall Back Beer Fest is a good reason to make Estes Park a weekend trip. 

Occurring on the first Saturday of November each year, Fall Back Beer Fest has grown into a highly anticipated destination beer event. 

One reason I rate this beer festival so high is that most of the brewers are there representing their beer because everyone wants an Estes Park weekend, even brewers. Second, from the very beginning, Fall Back Beer Fest has had a strong educational factor. It coincides with the American Brewers Association’s Learn to Homebrew Day and homebrewers come out to share what they know with festival guests. 

If homebrewing has always intrigued you, this is the festival to attend this fall.

Categories: The Heidi Guide