You don’t need to go panning this fall to find the gold in the historic mining town of Breckenridge, Colorado. As the days get shorter, the leaves of the aspens dispersed through the valley change to vivid yellows, golds, and oranges. All around the area, there are several great places to check out the fall foliage, but we have a few favorites that are fun to explore by hiking, biking, or driving. The season for leaf-peeping is short, so you’ll want to lock in your trip to Summit County now before the gold rush is over for the season and lifts start turning.
Lower Cataract Lake Loop Trail
Just a short drive from Breckenridge, (16 miles north of Silverthorne) Lower Cataract Lake Loop Trail offers many unique photo opportunities packed into a short, 2.25-mile hike. This family-friendly hike is a great choice for hikers of most ability levels, and the bright colors of the old-growth aspen groves certainly won’t disappoint. This is a fairly diverse trail for its short length; you’ll get to check out a popular fishing lake, waterfall, and even late-blooming wildflowers through October. This is the perfect day-hike for a quick outing in Summit County and is dog-friendly, so don’t forget your leash!
Boreas Pass & Aspen Alley
Boreas Pass and Aspen Alley are great areas to go exploring if your adventure of choice is on two wheels. If you prefer a mellow, paved climb to the continental divide, Boreas Pass Road offers scenic vistas of lodgepole pines and colorful aspen throughout the fall months. This ride is great for most ability levels and is easy to rent equipment for if you didn’t travel to the area with your bike. If you’re looking to step up the intensity of your ride you can dip off of Boreas Pass Road onto some singletrack mountain-biking trails. A local favorite for leaf-peeping is Aspen Alley; this trail has some of the most spectacular color changes in the area and can be crowded on fall days. Have the trail and falling aspen leaves to yourself by getting an early start.
Hosier Pass’s paved route is an easy drive before snowfall begins, and is perfect for a scenic autumn drive. You’ll find a parking lot at the summit that’s perfect for a quick break for photos, or a longer break for hiking and exploring nearby Montgomery Reservoir. On heavily traveled weekends this scenic route from Summit County to Park County will help you beat some of the crowds and frustrations that I-70 poses, and makes the most of your time in the high country.
Time is limited to check out the fleeting fall colors in the Rocky Mountains, and Breckenridge is a great base camp for all sorts of autumn adventures. These favorite hiking, biking, and driving destinations are just a small sample of the places to explore fall foliage in Summit County this season, so plan your visit now and pick up an area map at the local tourism office.