It’s officially “shoulder season” again, that lull in tourism between the summer/winter seasons of activity. This might be just a mountain term, but it’s still something worth knowing if you’re not living the mountain life. This “slow season” might be the perfect time to go exploring in areas that are usually full of tourists. Spring + fall are fantastic times to get creative + get outside when the hotel rates are low + the trailheads are overflowing with cars.

Everything we’re about to touch on works for both the spring + fall shoulder season but at the moment we’re going to focus on fall, only because that’s the season surrounding us all at the moment. When spring rolls around just swap out “chill in the air” with “warmth of the sun” and “shorter days” with “longer days”…it’s really that simple.

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We’ve been dancing through fall leaves for a few weeks now but true chill of winter is just now starting to creep up on us. It’s getting dark before dinner, there’s frost on our cars before dawn + it’s getting harder to convince our toes to survive another day in sandals. For some of us, we’ve even seen fresh snow on the ground! With the fall colors fading + the leaves disappearing for the high branches “color peeping” isn’t really worth the trek outside so why bother…right?!

WRONG!

Get yo’self outside…nowzo!

Don’t worry — we’ll never be that bossy without also having a handful of enabling excuses to help you talk yourself, your friends + your family out the door with you!

A tentsite camp dreams are made of. #letscamp

A photo posted by lynne petre (@lynnepetre) on

What: Go Camping!
Why: Whether you’re headed for an official campground or looking to hit up some public land the should season is a great item to get outside + live out of a tent, if only for a weekend. You’ll get to watch the seasons change before your eyes. If you’re lucky you’ll have frost on your tent in the early morning hours + the perfect amount of sunshine for an afternoon hike along trails covered in leaves. It’s also the perfect weather for marshmallows over a campfire since you’ll be jones’ing for the warmth + light before 8pm rolls around!
Watch For: Colder than expected nights, high winds + lots of foraging animals.

What: Visit National Parks!
Why: With the school year in full swing the National Parks will be experiencing a dip in visitors so now is your chance to actually get a parking spot at the main trailheads! With fewer people on the trails, you’ll be able to really enjoy your time in the wilderness + take your time getting epic photos from well-known overlooks. Get advice from the Park Rangers + trust their intel when it comes to trail closures + snow cover.
Watch For: Animals preparing for winter, seasonal closures + changing weather.

When the fall and winter start to collide 🍂❄️😊 . . . #coloRADo #optoutside #trailrunners #neverstopexploring #trailsisters #mountaingirls #runhappy #stepintosuperfeet #expandyourplayground #runwithud #maroonbells #rockymountains #flystyle #choosemountains #coloradotography #radgirlslife #runsteepgethigh #runnersofinstagram #goatworthy #runshots #rockdiscrete #mountainlife #poweryourpassion #lifeofadventure #womenwhohike #coloradolive #instarunners #co14ers #rei1440project #dirtbagrunners

A photo posted by Taylor White (<blockquote class=”instagram-media” data-instgrm-captioned data-instgrm-version=”7″ style=” background:#FFF; border:0; border-radius:3px; box-shadow:0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width:658px; padding:0; width:99.375%; width:-webkit-calc(100% – 2px); width:calc(100% – 2px);”><div style=”padding:8px;”> <div style=” background:#F8F8F8; line-height:0; margin-top:40px; padding:33.2407407407% 0; text-align:center; width:100%;”> <div style=” background:url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAACwAAAAsCAMAAAApWqozAAAABGdBTUEAALGPC/xhBQAAAAFzUkdCAK7OHOkAAAAMUExURczMzPf399fX1+bm5mzY9AMAAADiSURBVDjLvZXbEsMgCES5/P8/t9FuRVCRmU73JWlzosgSIIZURCjo/ad+EQJJB4Hv8BFt+IDpQoCx1wjOSBFhh2XssxEIYn3ulI/6MNReE07UIWJEv8UEOWDS88LY97kqyTliJKKtuYBbruAyVh5wOHiXmpi5we58Ek028czwyuQdLKPG1Bkb4NnM+VeAnfHqn1k4+GPT6uGQcvu2h2OVuIf/gWUFyy8OWEpdyZSa3aVCqpVoVvzZZ2VTnn2wU8qzVjDDetO90GSy9mVLqtgYSy231MxrY6I2gGqjrTY0L8fxCxfCBbhWrsYYAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); display:block; height:44px; margin:0 auto -44px; position:relative; top:-22px; width:44px;”></div></div> <p style=” margin:8px 0 0 0; padding:0 4px;”> <a href=”https://www.instagram.com/p/BLWB7s3Bzj6/” style=” color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;” target=”_blank”>The Tetons have become one of our favorite places. After two full days of roaming around, we&#39;re now in Yellowstone! On the lookout for some grizzlies😎 📷: @zachtheleon &amp; @allietheleon</a></p> <p style=” color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;”>A photo posted by Betsy, the #yourlead van (@yourlead_van) on <time style=” font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;” datetime=”2016-10-09T13:41:46+00:00″>Oct 9, 2016 at 6:41am PDT</time></p></div></blockquote>
<script async defer src=”//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js”></script>) on Oct 10, 2016 at 6:20am PDT

What: Hike Local Trails!
Why: Remember that trailhead you drove by a few times last summer + kept thinking “wow, that trail must be great…the lots always full”? Well, go there! It’s a safe be the lot isn’t full right now! If you’re really lucky you’ll be able to spend some time getting familiar with an area that will also be great for winter hikes + snowshoe outtings!
Watch For: Other locals on the trails [new friends?!], clutches of trees clinging to fall leaves + local overlooks

Of course, there are a few things you’ll want [need!] to consider when heading outside during the should season.

Some local establishments may be closed for the slower weeks or for the upcoming season so call ahead rather than rely on their website to be accurately updated. Water access can be limited in areas that experience a major lull in tourism during the winter months so plan ahead + pack extra water. The weather may be fickle so be prepared for all types of weather, including below average cold, + keep an eye on the sky for changing conditions. Oh, + don’t forget…bears are still a thing until winter has officially set in so take the proper precautions with food!

Obviously, these aren’t the only things you can do in the shoulder season! There are many, many more excuses to get yourself outside…enlighten us! We’re already doing the three we’ve shared above so hit us up with a few more so we have exactly zero excuses to avoid a day outside!

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The mountains were calling...and she went. While she pretends to avoid cliches this one is true! Heidi is a farm girl from the Midwest living a nomadic mountain girl life. When she isn't working in a myriad of jobs she's out on the trails with her running shoes, snowboard or tent...chasing down her version of adventure + life one day at a time.