Most people only associate Aspen with snow, snow and more snow! Or maybe all the outdoor activities there in the summer. The fact is, autumn is one of the most spectacular times of year in Aspen. The namesake trees turn a golden hue and the weather is ideal for various outdoor activities including playing golf, biking, hiking and fly-fishing.
Since we are regularly asked about Aspen activities during the Fall, this post will focus on the top 10 things that we suggest you check out during that season, with a little help from the Aspen Chamber:
1. The fifth annual Mac and Cheese Fest returns to Aspen’s “Restaurant Row” Sept. 10. Local restaurants provide free tasting samples of their cheesy concoctions, and voting determines the Mac and Cheese Masters of Aspen. Free to sample, previous festival delights included variations of duck confit, lobster, truffle and more.
2. The Snowmass Balloon Festival fills the sky with one of the highest-altitude balloon events in the country. From September 16-18, thirty pilots compete in challenges such as a distance race that covers the whole Roaring Fork Valley. Highlights include Saturday Evening Glow on Fanny Hill and free music with light show featuring brightly colored balloons lighting up the night sky. All Balloon Festival events are free.
3. Take in an aerial view of Aspen’s fall foliage with a paragliding adventure. Aspen Paragliding’s tandem guides take guests to the top of Aspen Mountain where they take off and experience mountain views from new heights.
4. Running mid-June through mid-October, the Aspen Saturday Market offers a bounty of Colorado’s produce, meats, artisan items and wares, as well as live entertainment and fun for the family.
5. Timed to the Rocky Mountains’ spectacular fall color, Aspen Filmfest will return Sept. 21- 25. The festival is an intimate affair that allows participants to view new releases, sneak previews, surprise films and favorites from the festival circuit. Other special events include post-screening dialogues, presentations and opportunities to interact with the filmmakers.
6. Nature is unpredictable as we all know; however, peak foliage season is typically the 3rd and 4th week of September. The iconic Maroon Bells are and ideal location to capture the splendor of fall leaves on camera. Visit the Maroon Bells page for access information. Scenic driving roads Maroon Creek Road and Independence Pass are available to those who prefer to enjoy the golden Aspen trees from the comfort of their vehicle!
7. Visit the Shigeru-Ban designed Aspen Art Museum and enjoy a collection of innovative and timely exhibitions, education and public programs, immersive activities and community happenings.
8. Lace up your hiking boots and take on a fall hike in Aspen. Popular paths include Grizzly Peak, Cathedral Lake, the Hunter Creek Valley and American Lake. Adventure seekers can also take a guided hike up one of Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks. For gear, maps and guides visit the Ute Mountaineer or contact local outfitter Aspen Expeditions. Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES) also offers guided Aspen Mountain hikes and nature walks around town.
9. Locals and visitors can get excited for the 2016 ski season by attending the 12th annual installment of The Meeting, a weekend of snow sports film screenings, fashion shows, music and industry news presentations, returning to Aspen/Snowmass October 6 – 8.
10. As an epicenter for cycling, Aspen bikers can choose from the gently sloping Rio Grande Trail, a serene road ride up to the iconic Maroon Bells, a grueling ride up Independence Pass and more. For bicycle rentals and trail recommendations contact local experts at Aspen Velo or Bike Butlers.
Ambitious mountain bike riders can take on the newly acquired, single-track Sky Mountain Park, located in Snowmass Village with views of Aspen, Independence Pass and Mount Sopris. Bikers who would like to stay closer to town can opt for a climb up Smuggler Mountain Road and a gorgeous decent into the Hunter Creek Valley. For privately guided adventures contact Aspen Alpine Guides.
As you can see, there is no limit to the number of things you can enjoy in Aspen during the Fall. And if you’re looking for a place to stay with a concierge to make a customized plan for you while you’re there, G2G Members pay around $500/night for a 3 bedroom/3 bath private residence next to the Little Nell in the Aspen Core. If you would like more information on how to stay in a luxury residence in Aspen at rates like this, please call us at 678-506-2700 or email us at