Fall in Colorado is hands-down my favorite time of the year. The air is crisp, aspen leaves are changing and it is the start of sweater and boot season. There is nothing better than driving up to the mountains in mid to late September to witness the colorful change of the season. My favorite place to go is Aspen, CO one of the most stunning mountain towns in Colorado.
My preference is to find a great hiking trail and soak it all in on foot. One of the best fall hikes in the area is Cathedral Lake. It is a difficult 6.4 round-trip hike as noted in the link, but the views are pretty gorgeous all the way up to the emerald green lake. Once you get to the lake, views of the ragged edges of the surrounding majestic peaks are abundant. The trek down, provides amazing views of the aspen covered valley below. If the lake doesn’t interest you, the first mile or so will take you through a rather large aspen grove where the photo opportunities are endless.
The drive to the trailhead takes you through the pristine Castle Creek Valley which, by itself, is well worth it. The gently winding road is lined with aspen grove after aspen grove. If you decide the hike is too much, you MUST do the drive at a minimum. An added bonus: You will pass by the ghost town of Ashcroft which was once home to 2,000 silver miners back in the day (specifically 1883). It is a pretty well preserved historical site if you are into such things.
Key tips: Start out early in the morning to find good parking and if you do so, wear warm layers as it will be cold up there. Be prepared for a potentially warm decent. Bring plenty of food and water – it is a strenuous hike so you might as well be hydrated and well fed. Consider kicking back at the lake with a picnic and a good book. Enjoy!