Smith Fork Fall: Foliage, Fishing, Festivals and Food

The aspen and oak trees turning a glowing shade of gold and red tell us that the fall season has begun here at Smith Fork Ranch, where an unforgettable autumn escape awaits. 

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Everyone knows about the northeast’s leaf-peeping opportunities. But have you ever spent the fall season in the Rocky Mountains? One of the best ways to experience the fall foliage explosion of color that takes place this time each year is to take a guided horseback ride. You’ll amble along scenic trails, soaking in views of the West Elk Mountains, Needle Rock and of course, those swoon-inducing golds and reds running riot wherever you turn. Smith Fork’s equestrian program is top notch, and our wranglers will get you set up with the right horse for you, whatever your level of experience is.

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The fall is fantastic for fly fishing as well – try to land the big one in the three private miles of the Smith Fork of the Gunnison River that runs through the ranch. The browns and brookies are biting!

If you can’t decide when to book your visit, consider the weekend of September 22-25. That’s when the 16th annual Mountain Harvest Festival takes place in Paonia, Colorado, just a short drive from Smith Fork. This is one of the North Fork Valley’s signature celebrations, with the region’s best musicians, makers, chefs, winemakers and more come together for four days of concerts, farm tours, harvest dinners, grape stomps, bike parades, local libations, and fun for all. The Mountain Harvest Festival one of the best ways to experience the unique cultural delights this lovely corner of Colorado offers.

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The harvest season is a bountiful one at Smith Fork Ranch as well, as we take advantage of the North Fork Region’s meats, fruits and vegetables, as well as produce from our very own Organic Farmstead.

Our Tip: Join us for our five-course Smith Fork Harvest Dinner by chef Marcus Parrott, Friday September 23, as part of your all-inclusive long weekend at the ranch. Complement your dinner with some of the finest vintages from our extensive wine cellar, which also features the best Colorado wines. 

The Harvest Dinner menu features:

First Course

Beets and Blackberries

nasturtiums, pepitas

Second Course

Corn Bisque

-crayfish, potato, piment d’esplette

Third Course 

Locally Raised Goose

-carrot, chanterelle, artichoke

Entrée

Desert Weyr Rack of Lamb

ratatouille

Alfred Eames Syrah, Paonia, 2012

Dessert

Apple Variations

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Eat,Drink and Be Merry this autumn and take advantage of SFR special Fall rates: Book three nights, get the fourth night free. Plus, Colorado residents take an additional 20% off. Both offers valid through October 31. All Inclusive Romantic Getaways and B&B rates, available as well. Call for reservations at 970.921.3454 or email reservations@smithforkranch.com.

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