After a long summer and before the exciting winter season, fall makes a brief but beautiful appearance in Aspen and Snowmass. Even though it’s a short season, there’s still plenty to do before officially trading in your hiking poles for your ski poles. Get ready to pack in the fun!
Hike. For visitors who want to hit the trail without the high-pressure exertion of a crowded footrace, there’s no better time to hike in Aspen and Snowmass than in Autumn. More experienced hikers can hike between the two places, beginning on Fanny Hill in Snowmass Village and following Government Trail to Aspen. Hikers in search of a more moderate hike should head over to Hunter Creek and Smuggler Loop, which offers 6 miles of scenic trekking over flat terrain, through meadows and between mountains.
Another unforgettable hiking experience is found in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness just outside of Aspen. While all of the trails around Maroon Bells (Maroon Creek, Maroon Lake, and Crater Lake) offer unmatched beauty, the Crater Lake trail is exceptional during the Autumn months. You’ll pass through aspen forests blanketed with golden fall leaves, up in the direction of Maroon Bells, and past the pristine Crater Lake. When you turn around, you’ll have a full view of Maroon Lake behind you. Remember to bring your camera, because with sights like these, you’ll know exactly why the Maroon Bells are one of the most photographed places in America.
Bike. There’s no better time to bike in Aspen: it’s never too hot or too cold, and bike traffic is at a minimum. While there are several places to ride (including a quick jaunt from downtown Aspen to Snowmass Village), most visitors prefer to follow the Rio Grande Trail from Aspen to Woody Creek.
Although it’s a small area, Woody Creek is always fun to visit, including lunch or dinner at the Woody Creek Tavern or taking in an art exhibition at the Woody Creek Community Center. Experiencing the changing fall colors that paint the valley shades of amber and gold, the powerful rush of the Roaring Fork River, and the crisp fall air make this destination well worth the ride. (If you’re not drawn by natural beauty, at least visit the town that was once home to Hunter S. Thompson).
With so many outdoor activities available in Aspen and Snowmass during the day, you may be too tuckered out to even consider a night out. Just kidding. For even more fun in the evening time, try catching a movie at the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen or take a late dinner in Snowmass.
As always, when planning a trip to the area, remember to book your accommodations early – even during this “quieter” time of year, things have a way of selling out quickly in Snowmass.