Fall is arguably the most beautiful time of year to hike in Colorado. The air is crisp and cool, the sun’s rays peek through golden aspen trees, and the trails are often less crowded than during the July and August busy seasons. One of the best ways to explore the Elk Mountains that encompass the 14,000-foot Snowmass Mountain is on foot: these stunning peaks are known for meadows of abundant wildflowers in the summer months and gilded aspen groves in fall. Below you’ll find five of our favorite fall hikes in Snowmass, Colorado, perfect for experiencing and photographing the beautiful Colorado fall season.
1. Yin Yang (a.k.a., Rim Trail South)
If you’ve got an hour, hike the Yin Yang, a 1.3 mile trail up to a marble platform locally known as the Yi Yang with views of Snowmass, Mt. Daly, Capital Peak, and Ziegler Reservoir. The marble platform at the top is home to the ancient Yin Yang symbol in its center. The view from the top makes an excellent photo of Snowmass Village drenched in gold foliage. The perfect color for Snowmass’ upcoming 50th Anniversary, December 15-17, 2017. Click here for more info!
2. Cathedral Lake, Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness
If you’ve got a half day, take a hike to Cathedral Lake in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness. It’s a three-hour hike for fast hikers and up to five for amblers, but there’s no reason to hike fast when the fall scenery is so beautiful. The hike begins surrounded by towering aspen trees and finishes with views of a blue/green mountain lake surrounded by incredible peaks, making it one of our favorite fall hikes in Snowmass. Click here for more info!
3. Vista Trail, Snowmass Ski Area
If hiking where the winter action is on Snowmass Ski Area is of interest, guests can take a hike on the Vista Trail, access by the Elk Camp Gondola. Starting mid-mountain at the Elk Camp Restaurant, a bike-free 2.5-mile loop takes guests through wildflower-filled meadows and aspen groves, home to Snowmass’ famous slopes, for incredible views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Click here for more info!
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4. Ditch Trail, Snowmass Ski Area
This leisurely trail follows an old irrigation ditch at the base of Snowmass Ski Area. Expect a gentle 1.62-mile out-and-back trail perfect for every level of hiker. Expect beautiful views of Mt. Daly and the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Area on the east end of the trail. When you approach the west end, the trail turns sharply southward and climbs to the West Government Trail. Click here for more info!
5. Sky Mountain Park Traverse, Snowmass
Three of Snowmass’ most popular trails converge for this 7.08-mile one way traverse. The hike begins the ascent on the Cozyline trail and then intersects with the Skyline trail. After five miles, at the meeting point of the Viewline and Deadline trails, follow Viewline back down to the base. Stunning views makes this iconic trail one of the most unforgettable fall hikes in Snowmass. Click here for more info!
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