Looking for fall foliage pictures – head to Aspen, Colorado. Aspen is home to landscape photographer’s dream scene with Maroon Bells during the fall colors. This travel tips article will help you plan your next fall trip, including lodging options and eating options for Aspen, Colorado.
Time of Year
To hit the peak season of fall colors with Aspen, Colorado and the Maroon Bells – plan your trip for late September. The key to timing your fall trip is to watch the weather for cold nights combined with hot days. This weather combination aids the color change process. For 2013, the peak color in Aspen, Colorado landed on September 25, 26. This year we planned our trip for September 20-22, just missing the peak season. Peak season for fall colors in Aspen, Colorado is short lasting less than 5 days. You can see from the pictures the yellow is there, but it isn’t quite peak.
Where to Go
The main attraction to see near Aspen, Colorado in the fall is to experience Maroon Bells. Maroon Bells is best viewed at sunrise – but beware, there will be photographers galore there in the morning. On this morning we were able to catch a beautiful sunrise with the morning reflection. One thing to know about going to Maroon Bells in the fall is there is a shuttle bus that takes you to the park. If you drive earlier than 9 am you can drive all the way to the parking lot, but good luck if you are driving up there after 6:30 am. The parking lot fills fairly quickly. You want to get there before sunrise because this gives you the best bet for a reflection without wind.
Another highlight of Aspen, Colorado is to hike the trail after catching a Maroon Bells sunrise. Take the scenic trail first – you have better odds at seeing a moose down by the water. While we were there, there were two families of moose hanging by Maroon Lake. After you scout the moose, head up the trail and walk all the way to Crater Lake. It is a 1.6 mile hike – and if you aren’t from Colorado be advised the elevation will take its toll on you! After making it to Crater Lake, keep hiking a bit further as there is a marshy area a bit further that is also known to host several moose.
Along the hike you can head off the trail and wander through one of many aspen groves that has turned bright yellow during the fall season. Scout out your best aspen trees – the key is to look for the groves with white trunks. Several groves have greyer trunks but are unflattering to pictures. Take your time and find the right grove for your photo.
Where to Eat and Stay
One of the better options for staying in Aspen, Colorado is to find a good VRBO. We stayed at Lift One during our stay which had two bedrooms, a full kitchen, and was located right in the middle of downtown Aspen, Colorado. You can enjoy the many local sites, stores and restaurants. Keep in mind that Aspen is not a town to explore on a budget as most places can become quite pricy.
For eating there are many options to consider – check out The Big Wrap. The Grateful Deli, and the 520 Grill. The 520 Grill offers excellent fish tacos topped off with sweet potato fries.