Get your thrills ― whitewater, spicy chiles, baked treats ― in a town south of Denver
The town of Pueblo sums up all that's great about fall: harvest season and perfect temps for outdoor strolls.
Test your capsaicin tolerance at the Pueblo Chile & Frijoles Festival, then test the waters in the town's lively whitewater kayaking park. Dawdle along Pueblo's Union Avenue, flush with boutiques and restaurants, or walk or bike along the riverfront, a renovated greenway that stretches for miles.
From Colorado Springs, drive 45 miles south on I-25 to exit 98-B. For more information, contact the Greater Pueblo Chamber (800/233-3446).
Celebrate the town's obsession with chiles at the 13th annual Pueblo Chile & Frijoles Festival - three days of cooking competitions, a jalapeño-eating contest, farmers' markets, and artisanal crafts. Sep 21-23; free; Union Avenue Historic District; The Greater Pueblo Chamber; 800/233-3446.
The District Sample sockeye salmon with vegetable quinoa and spinach pesto, followed by spicy New Mexico brownies made with pine nuts and dried Chimayo chiles. INFO: $$; closed Mon; 121 W. B St.; 719/546-5360.
Rojas Restaurante Mexicano An authentic south-of-the-border joint. Try the nopales con chile rojo. INFO: $; 126 E. Fourth St.; 719/543-1055.
Hopscotch Bakery The locally owned bakery also serves panini, fresh-from-the-garden salads, and sweet indulgences. INFO: $; closed Sun; 333 S. Union Ave.; 719/542-4467.
Pueblo Whitewater Park Experienced kayakers can rent gear from the Edge, Ski and Paddle (107 N. Union Ave.; 719/583-2021), but anyone can sit on the banks of the Arkansas River and watch daredevils tackle eight drops along a challenging half-mile course. INFO: Between 4th Street Bridge and Union Avenue Bridge at Corona Ave.; Pueblo Paddlers.
Sangre de Cristo Arts & Conference Center Paintings by Western artists. INFO: Closed Sun-Mon; $4, $3 ages 3-13, ages 2 and under free; 210 N. Santa Fe Ave.; 719/295-7200.
Rosemount Museum Tour the 37-room pink rhyolite mansion with its coffered ceilings, elegant Tiffany chandeliers, and lovely antiques. INFO: Closed Sun-Mon; $6; 419 W. 14th St.; 719/545-5290.