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Let four-footed friends do the work in order to fully enjoy the view.


An Aspen Bucket List for Fall

By Tess Weaver Strokes

Hiking photo by Jeremy Swanson, courtesy of Aspen Skiing Company | Horseback photo by C2 Photography


An Aspenite's guide to horse back riding, hiking and uphill skiing for fall.


Classic: Horseback ride to Crested Butte
Let the horse watch the trail while taking in the golden fall foliage. Aspen-to-Crested-Butte hikers mostly avoid East Maroon Pass because of the added mileage. On horseback, however, take advantage of this lesser-used corridor and ride to Crested Butte for the night before returning home just like the silver miners once did. $1,250 per person, includes lodging

Alternative: Horseback ride to Maroon Bells
Ride horses through the majestic Maroon Creek Valley with Maroon Bells Outfitters based out of T-Lazy-7. The flower-filled meadows and spectacular rock formations surround the gem of the valley: the Maroon Bells. $225 per person

Upgrade: Overnight horseback pack trip to Snowmass Lake
Framed in a granite cirque by three large peaks, Snowmass Lake deserves an overnight stay, if only for the alpenglow. Either hike the 8 ½ miles carrying a heavy pack, or hire the help of a horse. $650 per person

The best part about hiking Aspen Mountain is the free gondola ride down.


Classic: Hike the Ute Trail
No hike from town offers more cardio per vertical foot than the Ute Trail. Its signature switchbacks through the dark timber on lower Aspen Mountain swiftly gain 700 feet on their way to a rock outcropping with an aerial view of Aspen. Rockfall closed the popular trail last fall, so check pitkincounty.‌com for updates.

Alternative: Hike Aspen Mountain
Conquer the 3,267 feet up Aspen Mountain the first weekend of October and the Silver Queen Gondola might still be running on weekends to eliminate the descent, saving hikers’ knees. Free to ride down

Upgrade: Paragliding
Aspen was the first ski area in the country to allow paragliding (1991) and remains one of the few to allow flight junkies airtime above town. Try Aspen Paragliding’s introductory tandem flights, in which a student passenger and a pilot certified by the U.S. Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association launch off the mountain and land up to 45 minutes later. $275

Aspen Skiing Company—fortunately for athletes—has some of the most liberal uphilling policies in the industry.


Classic: Skin Ajax
Before the lifts start spinning, the ever-growing sect of uphill skiers can skin to the top of Aspen Mountain any time of day. Once the ski area opens, uphillers must reach the top by 9am. Free

Alternative: Skin Tiehack
A popular choice for its shorter vertical climb and all-day availability, Buttermilk Mountain—particularly the Tiehack side—beckons uphillers of all kinds, from hikers to skiers. New this year, the Friday Morning Uphill Breakfast Club, 8:45-10am at the Cliffhouse, features oats in a Mason jar and a toppings bar with healthy add-ons. The Cliffhouse also offers ski-to Full-Moon dinners March 2 and 31.

Upgrade: Snowshoe to Lynn Britt Cabin
Indulge in the Lynn Britt Cabin Dinner Series, Feb. 19 or March 10, featuring a nighttime snowcat ride to the Snowmass cabin, where chefs prepare a multicourse dinner featuring menu items like meats from Colorado purveyors. $185, includes wine pairing, 970.923.8715, email