With cooler temps and that distinctly crisp scent of fall in the air (not to mention our first snow showers), the best time for leaf peeping is the next few weeks! Here are the best places to see colorful aspen leaves in Winter Park this fall.
Jim Creek Trail
If you’re looking for a short hike to golden mountainside views, Jim Creek Trail is the stop for you! About 1 mile into the hike, you’ll come to a meadow opening out to broad views of the massive aspen groves on the opposite mountainside. Stop here or continue on a few more miles to the Jim Creek waterfall, depending on how much sightseeing and trail trekking you’re up for.
The Top Of Winter Park Resort
Get an express ride to panoramic leaf-peeping on the gondola! Get your tickets here and hop on board Fridays through Sundays until Sept. 27. Once you’re at the top, you’ll be able to see the aspen-spotted Continental Divide all the way to the colorful hillsides near Byers Peak. You can also hike the Lower Roof Of The Rockies trail to link up to the Fantasy Meadow loop if you’re in the mood for some scenic high alpine hiking.
We would be remiss not to include this incredible (and not to mention very accessible) scenic drive in our guide. Just South of the town of Granby, turn onto County Highway 55, which puts you out at the town of Hot Sulphur Springs. This gravel road is accessible for all vehicles and offers views of impressive aspen groves the whole way. Once you reach Hot Sulphur, you can turn around and head back the way you came for an encore, or take Highway 40 for a quick cruise back.
Serendipity to Yankee Doodle Trail
This is another hike-a-little or hike-a-lot situation. Get started on Meadow Trail, then hang a right on Crosstrails and you’ll soon link up with Serendipity. This mellow incline winds through the forest and opens up to sweeping views of the Fraser Valley. If you’re only going a few miles, head back the way you came or make a loop out of it by taking Whoops back to Crosstrails. For a longer out-and-back, continue on Serendipity to Yankee Doodle, which will take you all the way to Corona Pass.
Situated just above downtown Winter Park, this charming park features walking trails and scenic views looking out at the Continental Divide. While you’re at it, bring a soft blanket and a picnic basket to fan out on the grass or get comfortable in the gazebo. If you’re looking to expel a little energy, there’s also a playground, tennis court, and basketball court.
There’s nothing like fall in the Rockies, so you can’t go wrong, no matter where you decide to venture out. With warm sunshine one day and a wintry breeze the next, be sure to check the forecast before your excursion. We’d recommend OpenSummit for a detailed forecast, estimated trail conditions, weather radar, and more.
Need a place to stay? Save up to 25% on fall lodging conveniently located at the base of Winter Park Resort here.