Fall is unforgettable at Aspen Snowmass. Days can be warm and deceptively summer-like, followed by a sudden dusting of snow overnight. The abrupt temperature changes can set off a tidal wave of color among the aspen trees, willows and tundra plants, creating one of the most colorful displays of autumn in North America.

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 magical — seasons with this guide to fall.

Favorite Activity in Fall

Mountain biking through autumn splendor and golden aspen trees

Mountain biking through autumn splendor and golden aspen trees

Our informal poll with locals turned up unsurprising results: everybody loves to mountain bike in fall. On weekends through October 6, 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.

Snowmass Bike Park

Other Fun Activities In Fall

Hiking

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.

Favorite Places for Fall Color

Fall color turns the mountains gold near Aspen Snowmass Colorado

Fall color turns the mountains gold near Aspen Snowmass Colorado

First snow covers Maroon Bells near Aspen, Colorado

Maroon Lake and Maroon Bells

One 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.
Ashcroft in early winter snow

Ashcroft

This 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.
Golden aspens and mountain views near Aspen, Colorado

Castle Creek Road

Continue 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.
Mount Daly and fall color and Snowmass Village, Colorado

Snowmass Mountain

The 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.
Tall aspens in fall color in Colorado

Hunter Creek Trail

One 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

Fall color illuminates the slopes over Aspen, Coloradoo

Fall color illuminates the slopes over Aspen, Coloradoo

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!