Our informal poll with locals turned up unsurprising results: everybody loves to mountain bike in fall. On weekends through October 1, you can still take the Elk Camp Gondola up Snowmass Mountain and access the 50 miles of trails, many of which dash through thick stands of golden aspen. Other area paths, such as Government Trail, are at their peak as well. Need a bike? Swing by Four Mountain Sports.
Fall Guide to Aspen Snowmass
Always pack extra layers and check the weather before taking off for a trailhead, conditions can change drastically in the fall season.
Favorite fall activities range from mountain biking through the trees, hiking into the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, visiting historic sites (which take on a mystical mood in the silence of autumn), or just cruising around town. Unlike many mountain towns in the "off season," Aspen continues to thrive with several restaurants, shops and attractions staying open through October.
Come experience our quickest—and arguably most picturesque—seasons with this guide to fall.
A Favorite Fall Activity
Happy Golden Trails
The International Mountain Bicycling Association designated Aspen Snowmass and the Roaring Fork Valley an IMBA Gold-Level Ride Center. Learn more.
Other Fun Activities In Fall
Open on weekends through September, the Lost Forest combines a series of unique challenges for guests. Take your pick between a lengthy zipline course, a ropes challenge course, a new climbing wall and the thrills of the Breathtaker Alpine Coaster.
The air might be brisker, but the spectrum of colors in fall is just as vivid as summer on the hiking trails surrounding Aspen and Snowmass Village. For a strenuous climb, head up Buckskin Pass in the Maroon Bells/Snowmass Wilderness, or take a mellow stroll along the Roaring Fork. Hiking trails are generally snow-free until November, but keep an eye on the forecast.
Maybe its the prospect of cold weather, but the brown and rainbow trout lurking in the Roaring Fork and Fryingpan Rivers are ravenous this time of year. Stop by a local fly shop for tips, or — if you are staying at The Little Nell — connect with one of their adventure guides for a fly-fishing expedition you'll never forget.
Favorite Places for Fall Color
Maroon Lake and Maroon BellsOne of North America's most photographed spots, Maroon Lake and the twin, 14,000-foot summits of the Maroon Bells are at their best in late September when the aspen leaves surrounding them turn gold.
AshcroftThis abandoned but preserved mining town south of Aspen has always felt a little ghostly — they call them "ghost towns" for a reason, right? — but in fall, its spectral presence seems extra strong. Aspen trees surround the entire site.
Castle Creek RoadContinue past Ashcroft on Castle Creek Road for even more autumnal splendor. Get there early and spend your day hiking to Cathedral Lake or up Castle Creek, or just relax and dine at the Pine Creek Cookhouse, which stays open until the first few days of October.
Snowmass MountainThe approach to Snowmass Village is always stunning, but especially in fall, as the hundreds of thousands of aspens that drape across Snowmass Mountain blaze with color. Occasional dustings of snow on Mount Daly make the sight even more dramatic. Head up the Elk Camp Gondola on weekends through October 6 and ride your mountain bike through the scene.
Hunter Creek TrailOne of the most pleasant leaf-peeping strolls in Aspen originates at the Roaring Fork River in town, and follows Hunter Creek up valley. Aspens in various states of transformation can be found throughout much of the trail.
Town of Aspen in Fall
Aspen is certainly quieter in the fall, but it is far from "sleepy." Locals love riding and hiking the trails and paths emanating from downtown. Meanwhile, many restaurants and shops stay open into October, with concerts and films at the Belly Up, Wheeler Opera House and other venues continuing right up until the slopes open. After all, our cultured residents need their culinary and arts fix year-round!
Snowmass in the Fall
Trails covered in aspens, a walkable base village with great shopping and dining, and lively local events taking place throughout the fall, like the Balloon Festival or Golden Leaf Marathon, Snowmass is the perfect mountains destination in the fall. And, larger than our three other mountains combined, Snowmass mountain has unlimited potential with the Elk Camp gondola for accessing sightseeing or on-mountain dining, Lost Forest adventures, and the Snowmass Bike Park—all operating through October 2.
Places To Stay
Learn more about exciting hotel packages and deals at one of Snowmass' best-rated places to stay, the Limelight Hotel.
The Little Nell
What could be better than staying at an acclaimed, Five-Diamond hotel? Booking a package deal at a Five-Diamond hotel. Learn more about the Little Nell’s deals and packages.