The early fall is a special time in the Aspen Snowmass area. The summer crowds are dispersing, the evenings are starting to cool down and, most importantly, the leaves are changing. Each year, it starts on the hillsides with the oak brush leaves turning a deep red and shortly after the hills are alight with aspen groves carving swaths of gold across their faces. For many locals, the fall marks the most beautiful time of the year.
Interested in seeing some of the Aspen Snowmass beauty for yourself? Here are some of our favorite spots for Aspen Snowmass leaf peeping:
Sunnyside Trail to Hunter Creek
Mountain biker? Hiker? The Sunnyside Trail is the place for you. This beautiful single track weaves its way uphill for about 3 miles through scrub oak and then countless aspen groves as it winds its way across the mountainside into Hunter Creek and Van Horn Park. Due to the constant sun, this is a great option for seeing leaves during the heat of the day.
Enjoy seeing leaves from the comfort of your car? Take a drive over Independence Pass! Independence Pass is spectacular year-round (if you’re willing to put in some effort during winter), but it’s especially beautiful come fall.
This Colorado Scenic Byway winds its way up to the continental divide passing through ghost towns, trailheads and, of course, countless aspens. Pro tip: the view looking down towards Aspen from the top of the Pass is one of the best for viewing aspen groves.
Gondola Views on Aspen Mountain and Snowmass
Every day is a three-day weekend in Aspen Snowmass until October 6! Take advantage of the gondolas still running on Aspen Mountain and Snowmass and enjoy views from the top courtesy of lift power. From both mountains, there are plenty of trails to explore - whether you’re looking to take a stroll along Richmond Ridge on Aspen or find some thrills in the Snowmass Bike Park.
Looking for a classic Colorado view? The Maroon Bells
are for you. These awe-inspiring Colorado 14’ers soar high above the glittering alpine lake just a short mile from the trailhead and are ringed with Aspen groves. The bus to the Maroon Bells (which is the only way to access the bells between 8am-5pm) will be running through October 6. Make sure to check the bus schedule before leaving and stop by the new Maroon Bells Basecamp at the base of Aspen Highlands as you wait for your ride to the natural beauty of the Maroon Bells.
Get your Sightseeing Package, which includes a Maroon Bells bus ticket, here!
Another fantastic drive, Castle Creek winds its way out of Aspen and up to the ghost town of Ashcroft. Long abandoned, Ashcroft still has a few old buildings and of course, thousands of aspen trees. Beyond Ashcroft, cruise through the Aspen to take in majestic views of the Elk Mountains set in front of an idyllic meadow.
Or, rent a road bike or e-bike from Four Mountain Sports and enjoy the spectacular views in the fresh fall air while you get some exercise. If biking, be sure to stay to the right and ride single file. American Lake and Cathedral Lake are also two popular and beautiful trails off of Castle Creek that are beautiful for leaf peeping!
It's never too early to book winter!