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Where’s the Best Place to See Fall Colors in Colorado?

by | Aug 26, 2022 | Vail

What’s your favorite season?

If you’re like 29% of Americans, your answer is fall. In fact, it’s the nation’s most beloved season, even ahead of summertime!

There’s no shortage of great places across the country to experience fall colors, and Colorado is no exception. Although the autumn is short here, it’s nothing less than spectacular.

The question is: Where’s the best place to see fall colors in Colorado? Keep reading as we count down five places in and around Vail to enjoy the upcoming autumn spectacle.

1. Vail Bike Path

Biking is a favorite activity among visitors and locals alike, and it’s not hard to see why. The Town of Vail maintains more than 15 miles of paved recreation paths that are perfect for a leisurely bike ride.

You’ll appreciate the views from any path, but our favorite is the portion of the Gore Valley Trail that connects Vail Village with East Vail. Cruise along and enjoy the canopy of golden aspens blooming right over your head!

2. Berrypicker Trail

There are dozens of trails that traverse Vail Mountain, but Berrypicker offers some of the best chances to see spectacular autumn leaves. As you climb, you’ll be rewarded with a bird’s eye view of Lionshead Village and sweeping panoramas of the Gore Range peaks.

It’s four miles each way with an elevation gain of nearly 2,300 feet, so choose a day when you’re feeling especially energetic. If you’re traveling up from sea level, wait a few days before you start hiking to minimize your chance of developing altitude sickness.

3. Scenic Gondola Ride

Want to experience amazing fall colors without the effort of hiking or biking? Hitch a ride on Gondola One (out of Vail Village) or the Eagle Bahn Gondola (out of Lionshead) for a scenic tour of the mountains.

This is a great option for families with small children or anyone with limited mobility. It’s also possible to ride the gondola only one way, in case you want to ride up and hike down (or vice versa).

4. Piney Lake

If you’re ready to explore Vail outside the immediate village area, hop in your car and drive up to the stunning Piney Lake. Look for the gravel road located just off Red Sandstone Road and follow it 12 miles up to Piney River Ranch (which stays open through the end of September).

From here, you can hike, bike, or paddle your way through some truly spectacular alpine scenery. Keep your eyes peeled for the moose and elk that frequent the area, but keep your distance and admire them from afar.

5. Colorado Scenic By-Way

The “Top of the Rockies” drive between Vail and Leadville is one of the best road trips in all of Colorado. This 38-mile stretch of highway takes about an hour to complete and is loaded with amazing fall foliage photo ops.

Along the way, you’ll pass the historic mining towns of Minturn and Red Cliff, along with the site of Camp Hale, where World War II troops trained for high-altitude combat. You’ll end up in Leadville at an altitude of 10,152 feet, making it the highest incorporated town in the US.

Vail: The Best Place to See Fall Colors in Colorado

Whether you’re a proud local or you’re planning a mountain getaway, autumn is the perfect time to visit the Rockies. And, as we’ve discussed, the area around Vail is the best place to see fall colors in Colorado!

Of course, you’ll need some rest and relaxation after those long days exploring the mountains. Apres Massage & Facial in West Vail is ready to welcome you with a variety of spa treatments and packages.

Click here to browse our spa menu or give us a call at 970-445-2114 to learn more.