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Best Fall Activities in Aspen

June 13, 2022
Gather Vacations
| Aspen, Colorado

Visiting Aspen in the fall is one of the best times of the year! The leaves are beginning to change colors, temperatures are cooling down, and locals are looking forward to the first snow of the season.  

At Gather, we want our guests to have a fun-filled stay wherever they land, but Aspen is guaranteed to show you a great time!

Here are a few fall activities to get you started:

Prioritize your points of interest

With endless options for outdoor (and indoor) activities, it is best to narrow your approach ahead of time. 

  • Downtown Aspen – This area is transformative during the fall and boasts a John Denver Sanctuary and Aces’ Hallam Lake preserve. 
  • Aspen Mountain / Snowmass Gondola & Chairlift Rides – Hitch a ride high above the town for one of the best views located in the US. See more information and schedules here.
  • Maroon Bells – With its iconic peaks, mirror lake, and choices of hiking trails, the Maroon Bells Recreation Area is a must-visit spot on any fall vacation. Read our Visitors Guide to the Maroon Bells to plan your excursion. Note: reservations are required during the summer/fall of 2022!
  • Castle Creek / Ashcroft – Castle Creek Road winds up 12 miles and offers many spectacular viewpoints. From this road, hikers access American Lake and Cathedral Lake trails, lined with expansive aspen groves and terminating at picturesque alpine lakes. Families enjoy visiting Ashcroft Ghost Town and ACES’ Catto Center at Toklat.
  • Hit the Snowmass Bike Park: This is a favorite pastime outside ski season. Don’t have a bike? Rentals are pretty priced by half-and-full days. 

Local festivals

Every Saturday through Oct. 8, the Aspen Saturday Market is sure to please. Also, Oktoberfest and Downtown’s Fall Fest occur from Sept. 17 to 19, so be sure to mark your calendars!  

Casual and fine dining 

A favorite haunt of an outlaw journalist and writer Hunter S. Thompson, the J Bar is a casual gastropub inside the Hotel Jerome. The Hotel Jerome has been a downtown hub for visitors and locals since opening its doors in 1889.

For more casual yet delicious fare, check out the Daly Diner. Are you looking for a more fine dining-oriented atmosphere? Try local staple, The Monarch, for an old-school steakhouse approach. 

Drive Independence Pass

The drive on Highway 82 towards Independence Pass is breathtaking between the summer and early fall. As spectacular as the views of the terrain are, the road is not for the faint of heart. Due to inclement weather, hairpin turns require extra precaution and cause road closures, typically between early-to-mid November and the Thursday before Memorial Day weekend.

Park in the designated lot for Grottos Trail off Highway 82, which will take you to the trailhead. Look for the signs that say “ice cave” and follow the path to the magnificent rock formations. Walking a little further past the cave will lead you to the Cascades: a series of waterfalls pouring into the Roaring Fork River.

While there is so much to keep you occupied during your time in Aspen, please do yourself a favor to check a few off this list. Thanks for staying with us!

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