While every season in Aspen has its allure — mild temperatures and abundant greenery in the spring, opportunities for rafting and mountain biking and hot air balloon viewing in the summer, and fresh powder for skiing and snowboarding in the winter — fall holds a special place in every Aspenite’s heart.
The purity and vibrancy of Aspen’s fall colors will astound you. Not just the colors of the leaves themselves, but the unbelievable amount of color coverage that you’re able to see on every mountainside. You’ll feel like you’ve been swathed in a blanket of bliss and you won’t be able to look away.
No matter how long you’re visiting the valley, you’ll want to maximize your experience of Aspen’s fall colors. For that reason, we’ve created our version of The Ultimate Day for immersing yourself in Aspen’s autumn opulence.
A Fall Morning Hike to an Overlook
Get up early and your muscles moving while avoiding the local running and hiking crowds on the Smuggler Mountain Trail. Breathe in the crisp autumn air while walking a mile and a half uphill to the Smuggler Mountain overlook. You won’t have to wait until you get to the overlook for incredible views, though — whether you’re in the trees or clear of them, this entire hike is scenic (which is why it’s a local favorite), and blankets upon blankets of Aspen’s fall colors will be visible on the surrounding mountains and throughout the valley.
Fall Colors with Coffee and Croissants
Once you’ve finished your morning hike, treat yourself to breakfast downtown with an up-close view of the fall colors covering Aspen Mountain. Victoria’s Expresso (on the corner of East Durant and South Galena) and ink Coffee (on East Durant between Victoria’s and East Dean) are both near the base of AJAX, so you’ll be able to relax and enjoy the view while sitting outside and sipping coffee — or eagerly devouring your morning meal.
See the Colors from Aspen’s Backcountry
After you’re satiated, join Blazing Adventures for a half day jeep tour that begins around 9am. Their experienced and entertaining backcountry guides will take you through autumn-decorated aspen groves, spruce forests, and open space before reaching the treeline and taking you above. You’ll get a 360-degree view of Aspen’s fall colors, spread around the peaks and down into every valley.
Don’t Miss the Fall Colors at the Maroon Bells
When your jeep tour is complete, be sure to call ACRA (the Aspen Chamber) and reserve your bus seats to see the Maroon Bells. You can bus or drive the 3 miles from downtown Aspen to Aspen Highlands, where the RFTA shuttle will take you all the way to the parking lot at Maroon Lake. You’ll never forget your experience of the Maroon Bells in the fall — not only will you be stunned by the beauty of bright colors contrasted by sharp layers of rock, but the clear reflection of the Bells in Maroon Lake will have you seeing double (in the best of ways).
Find Some Colorful Singletrack at Snowmass
Believe it or not, the day isn’t over. From Aspen Highlands, head downvalley (away from Aspen) less than 10 miles to Snowmass Village, where you’ll find Snowmass Bike Park. If you didn’t bring a bike of your own, you’ll be able to rent one here — and take your bike up the Elk Camp Gondola to ride downhill-only, if uphilling isn’t appealing. Imagine riding singletrack and following bike paths lined with fall-colored trees and surrounded by golden hills. The entire Roaring Fork Valley (which includes Aspen and Snowmass) has been designated an IMBA Gold-Level Ride Center, one of only 7 in the world and the only one in Colorado!
Autumn Adventure at Aspen Snowmass
When you’re done with your bike ride, the fall fun is far from over; your Ultimate Day continues. Stay at Snowmass and continue your adventure surrounded by autumn leaves in the Lost Forest (open weekends through September). You’ll find the Breathtaker Alpine Coaster, Rugged Ascent Climbing Wall, Treeline Trial Challenge Course, and a 3 hour Canopy Run Zipline Tour (which literally bings you into the trees via seven ziplines, three sky bridges, three rappels, and multiple tree platforms). If that’s too much adrenaline for you, you can still enjoy the fall colors on the disc golf course or creekside hiking trails.
Colors at Sunset While Downtown Dining
Head back to Aspen and enjoy a downtown stroll while choosing from delicious al fresco dining options (don’t forget a jacket; the temperatures drop quickly in the evenings). Enjoy the intense fall colors as the sun begins to set and create dramatic landscape movies as light and shadow play across the mountains. You might even forget to eat; nature’s performances in downtown Aspen during the fall are spectacular.
Enjoy Aspen’s Fall Season with Alpine Property
When you’re ready to book your autumn Aspen stay, contact Alpine Property's concierge. We’ll help you find the perfect location for your convenience and enjoyment. We’ll make sure your Aspen fall vacation is one you’ll never forget.