Autumn has arrived, and what better way to soak it all in than to go on a hike in the midst of a sea of Aspen trees?
Every year, autumn brings us a spectacular opportunity to watch the leaves of our Aspen trees turn from a vibrant green to stunning shades of red, yellow, gold, and orange against the clear blue sky.
You don’t have to stray very far from Summit County in order to enjoy the beautiful change of color. In fact, you can stay right here. Grab your best camera and embark on a hike on one of the following 4 hiking trails that are abundant with color-changing Aspen trees.
1. Eaglesmere Lake
7 miles round-trip / Intermediate
Located on the very north side of Summit County, this trail is nestled in the middle of a thick aspen forest and boasts wildflowers, fewer than 2,000 feet of elevation gain, and backcountry camping sites. The trail leads you to Eaglesmere Lake and offers stunning views over Lower Cataract Lake and Cataract Falls.
Directions to trailhead: Drive 16 miles north of Silverthorne. Turn left onto Heeney Road. Continue for approximately 5¼ miles to County Road 1725. Turn left at the juncture and then continue for 2 miles. The parking lot is located at the right fork.
2. Peaks Trail
15.5 miles one way / Beginner–Intermediate
The fall foliage is strong with this one. If you’re looking for an easy hike, start at the Breckenridge trailhead, as the trail goes downhill from there. If you’re looking for a more challenging hike, the Frisco trailhead is the place to start, because you’ll be going uphill most of the time.
The trail stretches between Breckenridge and Frisco, and it provides majestic scenery over Summit County, as well as plenty of aspen trees changing colors at the onset of autumn. The trail also passes by Rainbow Lake in Frisco, where you can take great photos of the fall foliage against the vibrant blue sky and the lake.
Directions to Breckenridge trailhead: Take Highway 9 to Breckenridge, and then make a right onto Ski Hill Road. Continue on Ski Hill Road to the top. Make a right at the Peak 8 base area and drive past the Grand Timber Lodge. The trailhead parking lot is ahead.
Directions to Frisco trailhead: Drive west on Frisco’s Main Street and then make a left onto 2nd Avenue. Drive to the end of the street and then park. Walk over the paved bike path and then you’ll see the trailhead.
3. Lower Cataract Lake Loop Trail
2.25 miles round-trip / Beginner-Intermediate
This trail has a waterfall, a creek, a bridge, a lake, and plenty of aspen trees that add a lot of color to the scenery. It goes around the Lower Cataract Lake, so there are plenty of photo ops along the way.
Directions to trailhead: Drive 16 miles north of Silverthorne. Turn left onto Heeney Road. Continue about 5.6 miles to Cataract Creek Road, and make a sharp left turn there. Drive to the end of the road, where the trailhead is.
4. Boreas Pass/Aspen Alley Trail
1 mile round-trip / Beginner
What better way to experience the Aspen fall foliage than to hike a trail named after Aspen trees? This short hike is a great way to soak in the fall scenery without too much planning, driving, and walking. There are so many Aspen groves along this trail that it is practically shaded the entire way. There is also an old mine dump you can explore. Not only that, but if you’re up for a scenic drive, you can drive up
Boreas Pass Road to the very top, where the fall foliage is stunning.
Directions to trailhead: Drive south on Main Street in Breckenridge. Take a left at Boreas Pass Road and then take the road all the way up the mountain. It will turn into a dirt road. When that happens, keep your eyes peeled for the trailhead parking lot on the left side less than half a mile up the dirt road.