Elevated Living Blog

9 Ways to Take in Fall Foliage in the Roaring Fork Valley

Posted on September 23, 2020 by Sophia Jones

Fall is a magical time in the mountains. With Aspen’s namesake tree coloring the Roaring Fork Valley in beautiful shades of gold, red, and orange, autumn is one of the most vibrant seasons in the area. It's the perfect time to get outdoors. Whether you choose to hike, bike, or drive, there are plenty of wonderful places to take in the gorgeous fall foliage. From Aspen to Glenwood Springs, here are nine of our favorite spots to leaf peep. 

HIKE

Photo: Crater Lake Trail

This 3.8-mile hike is considered moderate, and features an alpine lake and views of the Maroon Bells and Pyramid Peak.  

Mushroom Rock overlooks the town of Carbondale, sitting high above Highway 82. This local favorite is part of the Red Hill Recreation Area, and offers amazing views of Mt. Sopris and the Crystal and Roaring Fork Valleys. 

 

 Photo: Conundrum Hot Springs

If you’re looking for a challenge with high rewards, this is the hike for you. At 11,200 feet in elevation, Conundrum Hot Springs is one of the shining features of the 181,976-acre Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness. The distance from the Conundrum Creek trailhead to the hot springs is 8.5 miles one way with an elevation gain of 2,400 feet. 

Starting at the Glenwood Springs Fish Hatchery and considered moderately difficult, this 6-mile bottom-to-top hike is the only hiking trail that connects the Flat Tops plateau directly to the town of Glenwood Springs. 

 

BIKE

Photo: Maroon Bells

 

This is one of Colorado’s most iconic bike rides. The 16.2-mile trip from Aspen Highlands to Maroon Lake passes through numerous aspen groves en route to Maroon Lake. Take in the stunning view of Maroon Bells on the way.

At 17.7 miles, Hay Park Trail is a mix of rocky roadbed and classic single track. It offers gorgeous mountain scenery and is rated difficult, so we don’t recommend for first time riders.

 

DRIVE

Photo: West Elk Range

Shaped like a lasso winding through Colorado’s West Elk Mountains, this 205-mile loop takes drivers through charming mountain towns like Carbondale, Paonia, Gunnison, Crested Butte, and more. It takes 6-8 hours to travel.

 

 Photo: Ruedi Reservoir

Located on the boundary of Pitkin and Eagle counties, this awe-inspiring uphill drive includes scenic views of canyons and red rock in the White River National Forest. Drive or bike the 14-mile route from Basalt to Ruedi Reservoir. 

 

 Photo: Castle Creek Road

Beauty abounds on this windy 13-mile road. We suggest taking it from Aspen to the picturesque ghost town of Ashcroft, a sight worth seeing.

 

 

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