menu

What to Wear Hiking in the Fall in Colorado


Fall is one of the best times of year to go hiking in Colorado! There are fewer crowds, the weather is (usually) nice, and if you time your hike right, you may also get to experience hiking through a golden aspen forest during peak fall colors in Colorado. What you want to wear hiking in the fall in Colorado is going to depend on your personal style, but there are some pieces of clothing that you want to make sure are included so you can stay safe and stylish on the trail.

Most fall days in Colorado are sunny and pleasant, but the weather in Colorado can be unpredictable, so it’s important to plan ahead and prepare when getting dressed for a hike. It typically begins snowing in the mountains in September, so you may encounter varied conditions.

Keep in mind that it gets colder the higher you get in elevation. Even if it’s warm out in a city like Denver or Grand Junction, it may be chilly in the mountains, especially on cloudy days. Layering is ESSENTIAL when it comes to get dressed for a fall hike in Colorado!


Affiliate Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. This means if you click a link and make a purchase I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Having affiliate links on the site allows me to provide you with valuable, free content.


What to Wear Hiking in the Fall in Colorado

Colorado fall hiking outfit.

Patagonia Puffy // Patagonia R1 // Patagonia Raincoat // Gigi Pip Hat // Lululemon Tank Top // Lululemon Leggings // Darn Tough Vermont Socks // Merrell Hiking Boots // Altra Trail Runners

Essentials to Wear Hiking in the Fall in Colorado:

Outer Layer

A lightweight puffy is the perfect outer layer for a fall hike in Colorado. I recommend finding one that you can pack into itself to easily keep in your backpack. While you may encounter some snow during the fall on a high elevation hike in the mountains, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll need something heavier like a ski shell or parka on most fall hikes in Colorado, unless you’re hiking at high elevations in winter conditions.

Kate Outdoors Recommends:

Patagonia Nano Puff Insulated Jacket Price: $137-239 Sizes: XXS-XL

Couple wearing hiking clothing while on a hike in Colorado National Monument.
Wearing a Patagonia Nano Puff, Lululemon Aligns, Darn Tough Vermont socks, and Merrell Moab 3 hiking boots.

Mid-Layer

Your mid-layer should be a top that’s heavier than your baselayer, but lighter than your jacket. On a colder day a fleece makes a reliable mid-layer. If it’s nice out, wear a flannel as your mid-layer to complete the perfect fall look.

Kate Outdoors Recommends:

Fleece: Patagonia R1 Fleece Pullover Price: $90-139 Sizes: XXS-XXL

Flannel: L.L. Bean Signature Heritage Textured Flannel Shirt Price: $79 Sizes: XS-XL

Baselayer

On a nice day in Colorado in the fall your baselayer can just be your favorite hiking top. I typically wear a sun shirt while hiking in Colorado, which acts as my baselayer. You can also get away with wearing a tank top or other athletic top as your baselayer with the proper mid-layer and jacket. If it’s a cold day or you’re heading to a high elevation you may want to have a thermal baselayer.

Kate Outdoors Recommends:

Sun shirt: Black Diamond Alpenglow Hoody Price: $95 Sizes: XS-XL

Athletic Top: Lululemon Align Tank Top Price: $69 Sizes: 0-20

Woman stands in an all black hiking outfit on top of Thunder Knob above Diablo Lake in the North Cascades.
Wearing a Lululemon Align tank and Lululemon Align crop leggings

Leggings/Pants

Wearing leggings or hiking pants is going to be the best way to stay warm and protected on the trail during the fall. What you choose to wear ultimately comes down to your preference and the type of terrain/weather you’re hiking in. I personally have a hard time finding hiking pants that fit well, so I typically stick to leggings unless I’m in tough terrain where I need to scramble.

Lululemon Aligns are my ride or die leggings!

Kate Outdoors Recommends:

Leggings: Lululemon Align High-Rise Crop Price: $88 Sizes: 0-20

Pants: Eddie Bauer Departure Joggers Price: $49-70 Sizes: XS-3X (petite and tall sizes available)

Socks

A pair of good socks is one of the most underrated pieces of hiking gear. Wearing wool socks while hiking helps keep your feet warm when it’s cold out, and cool when it’s hot, due to their natural moisture-wicking properties. Wool socks also dry faster than cotton, which helps keep your feet healthy on the trail.

Kate Outdoors Recommends:

Darn Tough Vermont Micro Crew Light Cushion Sock Price: $14-24 Sizes: S-L

Hiking Boots/Trail Runners

Whether you should wear hiking boots or trail runners is ultimately a matter of preference, but wearing hiking shoes with good traction is essential. It’s not necessary to wear waterproof boots while hiking in Colorado during the fall. When it comes to trails with water crossings I prefer wearing a lightweight trail runner that dries quickly. Hiking boots are a great option if you’re looking for more stability or a warmer shoe.

Kate Outdoors Recommends:

Hiking Boots: Merrell Moab 3 Price: $140 Sizes: 6-11

Trail Runners: Altra Lone Peak 7 Price: $150 Sizes: 6-11

Woman on top of San Luis Peak, a Colorado 14'er.
Wearing a Patagonia Nano Puff, Lululemon Aligns, Darn Tough Vermont socks, and Altra trail runners on top of San Luis Peak, a Colorado 14’er.

Helpful to Carry or Wear When Hiking in the Fall in Colorado:

Raincoat

While Colorado is known for its sunshine, fall usually brings at least a few rainy days. Sudden afternoon rain showers and thunderstorms aren’t as common as they are during the summer, but they still happen in the fall, especially in the mountains. Most days you won’t need a raincoat, but I’d still recommend carrying one in your pack for the days that you do!

Kate Outdoors Recommends:

Patagonia Torrentshell 3L Jacket Price: $116-179 Sizes: XS-XL

Windbreaker

I always keep a lightweight windbreaker in my hiking pack in case of inclement weather. Wind is very common on hikes that take you above treeline, so having a small, lightweight windbreaker comes in handy. A windbreaker can also take the place of a heavier jacket on nice days.

Kate Outdoors Recommends:

Black Diamond Alpine Start Hooded Jacket Price: $82.50-165 Sizes: XS-XL

The Black Diamond Alpine Start jacket was a great outer layer for an early morning start hiking Rim to Rim in the Grand Canyon.

Hat & Gloves

You likely won’t need a hat and gloves on a fall hike in Colorado, but it never hurts to carry them in case you encounter cold weather. Mornings are cold in the mountains in the fall, so having a hat and gloves readily available will help keep you warm if you’re getting an early start to beat the crowds.

Kate Outdoors Recommends:

Warm Hat: Smartwool Lodge Girl Beanie Price: $22-40 One Size

Fall Hat: Gigi Pip Zephyr Rancher Hat Price: $129 Sizes: XS-XL

Gloves: Patagonia Retro Pile Gloves Price: $27-59 Sizes: XS-XL

Fall Dress

The secret to Instagram-worthy fall photos is a cute dress. Depending on how much room you have available in your hiking pack (and your level of commitment to nailing the ultimate fall shot), you might want to pack a dress on your hike. Even if you don’t hike with a dress, I always recommend keeping a cute fall dress handy in your car for an impromptu photoshoot!

Woman in a white dress takes photos in the road during fall in Colorado surrounded by golden aspen trees.

Kate Outdoors Recommends:

White Puffed Sleeve Dress Dupe: Antonio Melani Maria Mini Scoop Neck Short Puffed Dress Price: PERMANENTLY REDUCED to $55.65 Sizes: 0-14 (limited sizes available)

On My Wishlist: Hill House Home Ellie Nap Dress in Navy Autumn Paisley Price: $178 Sizes: XXXS-XXL

Colorado Fall Adventures You May Enjoy:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

FREE guide:
the top 5 resources for finding epic hikes

Download your free backpacking gear packing list

Get the Packing List

sign up for the newsletter

thank you for subscribing!

Affiliate Disclaimer: As an Amazon Influencer, I earn from qualifying purchases made from affiliate links that I share. This means that Kate Outdoors will earn a small commission from any purchase that you make through an affiliate link at no additional cost to you.

Hiking Disclaimer: Hiking and other outdoor activities are inherently dangerous and can result in serious injury and/or death. The information provided on this Website is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for additional research, proper training, experience, and judgment.
You may encounter certain risks and hazards when hiking or engaging in other outdoor activities. These risks and hazards include, but are not limited to, falling, injury, wildlife, dangerous terrain, inclement weather, falling rocks or debris, hypothermia, heatstroke, dehydration, and getting lost. 
Trail conditions are constantly changing. This Website is not liable for any errors, omissions, or inaccuracies in the information provided. All users of this Website should be aware of the risks involved with hiking and other outdoor activities and should exercise caution at all times.
By using the information contained on this Website, you agree to assume all risks associated with hiking and other outdoor activities and release Kate Outdoors LLC from any liability for any harms, claims, injuries, losses, and/or damages that may occur. Always use your own judgment and discretion when hiking or participating in other outdoor activities, be prepared, and take responsibility for your own safety. 

Privacy Policy

Terms & Conditions

 © 2020-2024 Kate Outdoors LLC