One of the best times to go hiking in Colorado is during the fall season. The weather isn’t too hot, but it’s not that cold either. So you can enjoy the exercise while taking in the fresh breeze and exploring some of the most incredible hiking trails that the state has to offer. If you’re all about finding new hiking trails to go on with loved ones, check out some of these best fall hikes to take while you’re in Colorado.
5 Hikes in Colorado to See the Beautiful Aspens
Spring Creek Trail in Steamboat Springs
One of the most popular trails in the state is the Spring Creek Trail in Steamboat Springs. It stretches for a little more than 10 miles, with plenty of visitors looking forward to taking the trek while exploring the area for its natural beauty. You can start at the Spring Canyon Park and work your way through the trail, reaching the endpoint of Kingfisher Point Natural Area after spending hours on the trails. So if you’d like to experience nature at its finest, this is the trail for you.
The Hope Pass via Willis Gulch Trail is another popular selection for visitors coming to Colorado during the fall season. It’s a lightly-trafficked area not far from Buena Vista that will provide you with incredible views while you walk, jog, or ride your bicycle. It’s known as one of the more challenging hiking trails, so it’s best for those with hiking experience to tackle. You can expect to spend up to eight hours on this lengthy and beautiful trail while exploring the stunning scenery and making stops for photos along the way.
Piney Lake offers some of the most spectacular hiking in Vail. No mountain bikes or motorized vehicles are allowed. Dogs must be on leash. The Upper Piney Lake Trail leads to waterfalls and is about 7 miles round trip to the falls.
When in beautiful places, I often try to sneak out early for an hour or two to get in a quick hike while my kids play. So, I didn’t have enough time to make it to the falls. But I can tell you that the Gore Range is beautiful. The aspen leaves were just starting to turn gold and the morning light light them up.
The Dyke Trail
If you’re in or around Crested Butte, consider checking out The Dyke Trail. It consists of over five miles and is a slightly challenging yet fun trail that lets you experience the beauty of Colorado firsthand. You can walk the path or ride your bike, depending on what you prefer. Head off on the trail at the Lake Irwin Campground and then end the journey at the incredible Horse Ranch Park after traveling for several miles and enjoying the views around you.
When you want to spend an entire day outside, be sure to check out the Lizard Head Trail not far from the area of Ophir, Colorado. The trail stretches for more than 18 miles, has a river that you’ll get to spot while you’re on your journey, and has received a reputation for being a slightly tricky trail to get through. It’s best for hiking enthusiasts to take a whack at it because of the challenges. However, no matter your experience level, you can still enjoy heading out on this trail to take in all the natural beauty around you.
Rabbit Ears Peak
If you’d like to take a shorter trip, heading out on the Rabbit Ears Peak Trail is a good idea. It stretches for a bit more than five miles and has much to offer. In addition, the top-rated area is ideal for people of all hiking skill levels. So, whether you’re a beginner or someone with more experience, you can head on this trail and have an incredible time!
Fall Hikes in Colorado for Kids
For young children, Rifle Falls is an amazing starter hike. About a mile-long trail takes hikers from the base of a stunning triple waterfall. Caves along the way are fun to explore. There’s fishing at a hatchery at the top, also viewing stations from the top of the waterfall. Of course with the changing of the leaves, fall is one of our favorite times to visit. It is one of Colorado’s state parks so there is a small fee to enter. And, there are camp sites available.
Closed in 2021 due to mudslides, Hanging Lake should reopen in 2022. So you will have to wait for then to experience one of our favorite hikes in Colorado. This hike is great for older kids. It isn’t too long, but has a pretty steep include. But it is one of the most amazing payoffs at the top at this shimmering green lake with a waterfall pouring in.
How Else to Take in Fall Colors
Fall may be our favorite time of the year to go horseback riding. It is such a unique way to see the mountain landscape and the cool crisp air of fall is the perfect temperature.
Take a scenic drive on one of Colorado’s mountain passes! Some of these roads may soon close for the winter, and what better perspective to take in the golden aspens than from atop the world.
Ride a train. For those faint of heart who would not enjoy looking down the cliff o the side of a mountain pass, a train ride may be in order. There are many historic trains in Colorado that not only provide unique views of the changing of the leaves, but also some history and even a lovely dinner.
Check out some of these hiking trails throughout Colorado. Which one would you like to visit first?