By Heather Mundt
As the days grow shorter, the air turns crisper, and the leaves turn hues of yellow, red, and orange, Coloradans know it’s time to head outside to witness our state’s autumnal splendor. Whether that’s leaf peeping, picking pumpkins or apples, sipping ciders, or walking through corn mazes, Longmont offers plenty of opportunities to celebrate the season. And as a longtime resident (and Niwot High School grad) who’s raising two boys here, we’ve found plenty of favorite fall destinations around town. Here’s a list of our family’s top-seven spots for savoring Colorado’s fall spectacle.
Offering spectacular views of Longs Peak and roughly 2.6 miles of trails on the western end of the St. Vrain Greenway, this is a popular spot for family and senior photos during the fall months. My boys always loved fishing or exploring along the riverbanks when they were younger, especially during fall. Now it’s one of my favorite fall spots for my husband and me to walk our dogs.
Another beautiful fall-photo setting, offering one of the best views of Longs Peak and Mount Meeker anywhere in the city, the 3.5 of trails around “Lake Mac” are perfect for a walk in September in October. Not only are surrounding sunflowers and leaves perfect for Instagram snapshots, but you can also paddleboard or kayak for free here throughout the fall and long into the autumn months.
We never missed a trip here every fall when my boys were little, beginning with a snapshot of them as babies wearing pumpkin costumes sitting in the field of real pumpkins. They also loved the property’s annual fall festival that includes a hay maze, tiny roller coaster, pumpkin patch, seasonal farm store, and petting zoo, to name a few, as well as fall activities like pumpkin painting. It’s free just to walk around and snap fun fall photos; rides and activities cost $1-5 each.
An ideal spot for little ones to run off their endless energy, my kids used to love exploring its many outdoor play areas, from discovering old planes to sitting on tractors, riding on tire swings, and playing among haybales and sandboxes. They also loved seeing the animals—chickens, guineas, silkies, and peacocks—and roasting marshmallows.
Set on a historic, century-old farm, Ya Ya is the place to go for picking apples—especially the heirloom variety. A perfect spot for families, you can reserve time to pick followed by a trip through the beautiful grounds to meet the farm animals—from horses to mini donkeys, chicken, duck and peacocks—take a hayride (suspended during COVID), and shop in the store for apple goods like pies and ciders. Don’t forget to taste Ya Ya’s legendary cider donuts. (I dare you to walk away without buying any!)
Set just a few miles south of Longmont in Erie, this was the fall-festival spot to visit when my kids were in elementary school. An expansive property offering numerous activities like a giant pumpkin patch and a corn maze, kids will stay busy visiting multiple farm animals, taking wagon and mini-train rides, shooting pumpkins out of a cannon, and more. You can even book a private campfire site to roast marshmallows. But now that my boys are teenagers, they look forward every fall to booking a Terror in the Corn tour—the one time each year I’m happy my kids DON’T want to hang with Mom!
Fall is nearly synonymous with sunflowers, which are plentiful at this farm in north Longmont. Pick flowers in the field, enjoy the pumpkin patch, climb on tractors, ride a pony, feed the farm animals, and, of course, buy some honey!
Bio: Heather Mundt is a freelance writer who grew up in Longmont (Southmoor Park, to be exact). She is also the author of “Colorado Family Outdoor Adventure” (UNM Press, 2022), the only comprehensive guidebook for families traveling the Centennial State. You can read about her family’s adventures on her site, www.momfari.com.
Banner Image Credit: @bekathedoula on Instagram