Almost every tourist visiting Aspen during autumn has the same question upon arrival: where can I find the best fall colors? There are a number of ways to see the fall foliage in Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley, but one of the local’s favorite ways of experiencing the beauty of the season is on foot. A few beloved Aspen locals have provided information for curious fall leaf peepers with their favorite fall hikes - take advantage of this insiders' glimpse to make the most of your stay.
"For fall hiking, I like to head up to Cathedral Lake. It’s the perfect time of year to enjoy the trail – it’s less crowded and starts by walking through a beautiful, golden aspen forest before climbing high up in the valley. The view of the Castle Creek Valley is amazing, especially with the fall colors below you. If it’s a clear, blue-sky day, you can easily scamper up to Electric Pass Peak and tag its 13, 635ft summit!"
“The Capitol Creek valley is stunning in the fall. It’s blanketed in enormous stands of butterscotch aspens that rise up to the jagged, snow-capped Capitol Peak. Hikers can opt to loop onto the Ditch Trail for a 6-mile hike, or push on all the way to Capitol Lake for a full-day, 13-mile out-and-back.”
-Christine Benedetti, Editor in Chief, Aspen Magazine
“American Lake is my favorite fall hike. The beginning of the hike switchbacks up through an aspen grove that turns bright gold. Then once you reach the lake, the surrounding high peaks may already have a dusting of snow!”
-Darcy Conover, Chief Visionary Officer, Corbeaux Clothing
“For a burst of fall color, I recommend running or hiking to Capitol Lake for a 12.8-mile roundtrip adventure. It’s stunning as it threads through bright gold aspen groves and scented spruce-fir forests. I love scenic destinations; so, to arrive at the 11,580-foot glacial lake, it feels far enough out there to get a sense of getting away from it all and take in the views of surrounding Capitol Peak, K2 and Mount Daly.”
-May Selby, Senior Director of Public Relations & Social Media, The Little Nell
“I would say one of my favorite hikes is Hunter Creek because it starts right in town and is gorgeous from start to finish. I love it because of the interesting rocks along the creek and the view at the top where golden autumn splendor is on display. When I'm on the trail I feel like I'm so far away from town but it's so close! Kudos to those who designed this gem of a trail right in Aspen's backyard.”