Summer is great for enjoying nature, but there’s just something about fall – the crisp weather, the scent of a wood fire burning, the frenzy of college football – that seems to fire up the adventurous spirit. Fortunately, festivals abound this time of year that cater to those of us who’d rather enjoy the brilliant foliage from the saddle of a bike than the backseat of a car. Here, some picks for fall festivals with adventure front-and-center.
Moab Ho-Down Mountain Bike & Film Festival, Moab, Utah, October 25-28
Extended to four days this year, this gathering at one of the country’s top mountain biking meccas encompasses all the essentials of the sport: biking, beer, and revelry. Sponsored by the local Chile Pepper Bike Shop, the festival also features a film component, with evening showings of movies featuring independent mountain biking footage. Rounding out the action is a Hot Pepper Eating Contest and Ridiculous Costume Party that promises plenty of photo ops galore – all for the bargain price of just $35 for a festival pass.
Adventure Film Festival, Boulder, October 4-6; Asheville, October 25-26
OK, so the adventure happens on-screen, but there’s no better way to fire you up for a killer run, monster ride, or epic wave than watching other adventurers, athletes, and adrenaline junkies do it – and, more often than not, changing the world for the better in the process. This year’s incredible list of films chronicles surfers riding a 50-foot wave in Northern Island, cancer survivors learning to rock climb and kayak, and a group of climbers missing various limbs successfully ascending Zodiac, a 1,800-foot route on the southeast face of El Capitan.