11 Fun Things To Do in the Mountains This November

Scenic view of a Colorado ski resort in November, with snow-covered mountains, skiers on the slopes, and vibrant autumn foliage in the surrounding area, capturing the essence of exciting November events at the ski resort

From a festival hosted in Pagosa Springs’ steamy pools to a gathering of the nation’s preeminent cowboy poets, here are the best events in Summit County, Estes Park, Vail, and beyond this month.

If you’re one of the Centennial State’s half-a-million skiers, you’ve probably already planned a high-elevation vacay to Beaver Creek or Crested Butte or Breckenridge in November. That said, we probably don’t need to convince you—or your winter-sports-deprived thighs—to take a break from slaloming and explore other happenings. We’ve got plenty to keep you occupied while your quads recover, like feasting on Thanksgiving dinner at a newly Michelin-recommended restaurant, sipping Colorado-made wines while crossing off your holiday shopping list, or soaking your sore muscles at a hot springs festival. Read on for all the details.

Summit County

Wassail Days

Trade your frosty pint of beer for a mug of steamy wassail (hot mulled cider) during this weeklong winter gathering. As you window shop, sample dozens of Frisco businesses’ house-made cider recipes. If you try at least 12 tipples, you’ll leave with a limited-edition mug to commemorate your impressive wassailing. On Saturday evening, visit Frisco Historic Park & Museum for a tree-lighting party with fireworks and carolers; don’t pass up the free gift-wrapping station, where you can let the city’s handy elves handle the hard part while you linger over a cup of hot chocolate. Nov. 25–Dec. 3; times vary; free

Winter Carnival
Keystone might be some 3,000 miles away from the North Pole, but it won’t feel like that during this enchanting afternoon. Children can mail their wish lists north—or make their requests to Santa himself—enjoy cookies and milk, and listen to seasonal tunes sung by the Summit Choral Society. After the sun sets, gather for the ceremonial lighting of the River Run Tree. Nov. 25; 2–5:15 p.m.; free

Vail and Beaver Creek

Thanksgiving Dinner at WYLD
Even if your home cooking rivals Martha Stewart, we’d venture to guess that this Beaver Creek restaurant—which was in the first cohort of Colorado eateries recommended by the Michelin Guide—might be able to one-up you. Leave the basting to the experts, and enjoy a hyper-seasonal four-course menu of Thanksgiving favorites at WYLD, inside the Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch. Once you’ve had your fill, head to the hotel’s great room for a tree-lighting ceremony and warm hot toddies. Nov. 23; times vary; $160 per person

Estes Park

Catch the Glow Parade

Consider this massive spectacle the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade of the Rockies. More than 20,000 revelers will congregate along Elkhorn Avenue to watch 40-plus hand-crafted floats, marching bands, dancers, and the big man himself stroll down Estes Park’s main drag. For an extra seasonal sideshow, hitch a ride on the (free) trolley decked out in holiday decor. Nov. 24; 5:30 p.m.; free

Holiday Wine Fest
Need to take the edge off of the hectic holiday hustle? More than 20 Centennial State booze makers, such as Snowy Peaks Winery and Atōst, will pour unlimited samples of 100-plus varietals during this mountain-town tasting event. Chase the beverages with food from Fork Yeah and Tacos with Altitude, and score some locally made stocking stuffers from vendors like MouCo Cheese Company and Hearten Creations. Nov. 25; 11 a.m.–5 p.m.; $5–$35

Winter Park

Travel Through Time & Grand County
The drive from Denver to Grand County is littered with stunning scenery and recognizable landmarks. During this visual road trip hosted by historian Mark Afman, you’ll get to see what those sights looked like decades ago. Afman, who’s family has had property near Grand Lake since the 1970s, will showcase historic photos of icons that span Denver, the I-70 corridor, Berthoud Pass, and Grand County. Stick around after the presentation for a Q&A session. Nov. 11; 5 p.m.; free


Bighorn Sheep Festival
The VIP section of this seasonal fest doesn’t include fancy drinks, plush banquettes, or velvet ropes—in fact, you’ll find the guests of honor on a nearby rocky hillside. Bighorn sheep will pay a visit to Georgetown, giving attendees a rare opportunity to see the species up close (spotting scopes will be available). Visitors can learn more about the animals’ biology, make sheep-themed crafts, toast s’mores, nibble bites from the likes of Georgetown Mountain Popovers, and receive archery instruction from experts. Nov. 11; 10 a.m.–3 p.m.; free


Parade of Lights
Each year, Salida lights what locals call “the world’s largest Christmas tree” (read: a 750-foot-tall mountain adorned with 4,500 lightbulbs). Before the town begins to glow with LEDs, line up to watch floats, horse-drawn wagons, local performers, and Santa stride down F Street. After dusk, the Salida Fire Department will oversee a flashy fireworks display to officially usher in the holiday season. Nov. 24; at dusk; free

Grand Junction

Western Slope Cowboy Gathering
Ever wondered how cowboys entertain themselves on the range? (Hint: it’s not with Netflix or TikTok.) It turns out, some of them can wrangle a tune as well as a steer. At this celebration of traditional Western poetry and music, catch performances from national and Colorado-based cattle ranchers-turned-artists, including poets Floyd and Valerie Beard, singer-songwriter Susie Knight, and Colorado Country Music Hall of Famer Peggy Malone. If you can muster the courage, sign up for a slot during the open-mic session. Nov. 3–4; times vary; $15–$25

Steamboat Springs

Farm to Table Dinner at Yampa Valley Kitchen
You don’t have to wait until Thanksgiving to start feasting. This homey farm-to-table function will satisfy your craving for seasonal produce weeks before the big day. You’ll be welcomed with a cocktail from Mythology Distillery and then sit down for a three-course meal of Colorado corn chowder, local lamb shank, and Muscat grape–rosemary shrub sorbet, all made by Yampa Valley Kitchen using ingredients sourced from Community Agriculture Alliance members. Out of town for the November dinner? Secure a spot for the December 5 installment. Nov. 9; 6:30 p.m.; $125 per person

Pagosa Springs

Hot Springs Fest

Even if this festival only consisted of sitting in the Springs Resort‘s healing pools for three days, we don’t think there’d be any complaints. But there are plenty of other wellness activities hosted across the resort during this weekend event, including Vinyasa-based aqua yoga classes, sound baths, calming hikes through the pine forests, and a gratitude ceremony. After all that relaxing, elevate your heart rate during a DJ dance party beside one of the hot spring pools. Nov. 10–12; times vary; $40–$150

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