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.
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.
Tee Up Amongst Fall Color
The Roaring Fork Valley is filled with numerous top-notch golf courses, and fall is the best time to play them from a value standpoint. Mid-week tee times are easy to get, and the mellow weather and colorful foliage only enhance the experience.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.