Locals Corner: A Guide to Aspen Fall Foliage

Indulge in Aspen Fall Foliage

As the seasons change so do the colors of the leaves of the trees and there is no time more beautiful to be in the Roaring Fork Valley then now!  Whether you choose horseback riding, cycling, hiking, a hot air balloon ride, a guided tour or just a scenic drive, you must experience the explosions of red, orange and gold that sweep over the Rocky Mountains as fall approaches.  There is no right or wrong way to do this – just get it done!  Here are some of our most captivating ideas…

Independence Pass – Only open for several months a year “the pass” is an extraordinary drive at any time, but a must-do this time of year and indeed one of my favorite ways to enjoy the fall foliage.  You can actually “kill 2 birds with one stone” as you can take a short drive up the pass pull over and enjoy one of the many hikes that are offered in that area.  For those not motivated to do any physical activity a drive from the St. Regis to the top of the pass and back to town is just 90 minutes.  Access to Independence Pass is via Cooper Avenue located right in downtown Aspen just a few blocks from the hotel.  Do not hesitate to contact the concierge desk for your transportation needs. To get the full experience I suggest renting either an Audi TT convertible or a Jeep Wrangler Soft Top – do the needful… plug in your pod device, drop the top & enjoy the ride.

West Maroon Trail (Maroon Bells) – I just tackled this exhilarating hike the other day with friends and I now consider it a must-do.  An extension of the ever so popular Crater Lake trail – the West Maroon Trail allows for what many would consider a mild/moderate hike to become a bit of a workout and definitely a great way to break a sweat.  Twisting and turning through a dense forest of Aspen trees with picturesque mountain peaks stretching above as you reach one of the many small meadows that you will encounter… have your cameras ready!  Unfortunately this late in the season the Crater Lake is dry but don’t let that deter you as the scenery is astounding.  A 20 minute car ride from the hotel to the trailhead – 4 turns and you are there.  Allow at least 3.5 hours round-trip for the hike. Guides are available (but not necessary).  If the explanation of this experience enchants you, but not the hiking bit…. the West Maroon trail is also popular for horseback riders.  Want just half of the workout?  There is also an outfitter that will drive you all the way up to the Bells and you can enjoy an all downhill ride back to town.  Allow the St. Regis Aspen concierge desk to arrange any of these excursions for you.

Hot Air Balloon Ride – Sunrise with a bird’s eye view of the majestic Elk Mountain range of the Rocky Mountains.  Enjoy the early morning wildlife and, of course, the fall foliage from your basket floating a few thousand feet above the mountains.  After the ride enjoy a continental breakfast and a sip of champagne.  This is an experience unlike any other. Accomplish more before 8am than most people do all day!

There are a lot of ways to experience Aspen as the fall foliage is upon us.  Give us a call at the concierge desk or simply stop by upon your arrival and it would be our pleasure to discuss any available options with you. Safe travels and we look forward to seeing you soon!

Stanton Moore
St. Regis Aspen Concierge

 

Photo Credit Kristen Merselis

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