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Where to Experience the Colors of Fall

By Muriel Perez

Photo by Winter Van Alstine

09.18.17

Fall is easily the most underrated time to be in Aspen. With the leaves changing from green to yellow and red, the mountains are painted with color and vibrancy. While the Maroon Bells always bring a picturesque allure, don’t expect solitude as others also flock to see their glory. If you wish to enjoy the colors of nature in peace, here are a few spots that will look exceptionally breathtaking during the fall.

Ashcroft Ghost Town is often visited because of its rich and fascinating history. The small village that once experienced its own piece of the silver mining boom is now eerily deserted, sitting quietly among the mountains. Drive the 11 miles up Castle Creek Road to Ashcroft, and don’t forget picnic baskets to enjoy the serene beauty of fall’s paint brush with an al fresco meal.

The Silver Queen Gondola will be making weekend trips up Aspen Mountain until it closes on Oct. 8. Take the 15-minute ride ($21) to the top to experience the change of the leaves and grab a bite at the Sundeck, which will remain open so long as the gondola runs. Once ski season starts, typically Thanksgiving Day, the gondola will begin its on-season schedule.

To see the way the fresh new leaves light up the night, hike the 6.5 miles to Capitol Lake and set up camp at sunset. While the lake is always glistening and reflecting the trees and mountain peaks that surround it, the yellow and red leaves combine with the pink, blue sunset to create a masterpiece of color.

Take a scenic drive over the Continental Divide to Twin Lakes and enjoy the colorful backdrop on Independence Pass. Keep eyes ahead if you are the driver embarking on this meager stretch of pavement. For all lucky passengers, enjoy the myriad of leaves that surround you. Every drive over the 12,095-foot pass offers unparalleled beauty, but when you mix in the colors of fall, the aspens never looked better.