September is the time of year when we start to get the crisp morning and evenings, gold aspen leaves, great daytime temps, the chatter about ski season and the Parade of Homes. It’s a fantastic time to be here! There’s no better excuse to come visit than to see the changing leaves in Summit County.
Generally the leaves are at their peak around the 3rd week of September. That varies from area to area and year to year. It’s beautiful where ever you are but there are a few spots where the aspen groves are spectacular and worth the drive. Here are a few suggestions.
Boreas Pass Road, Breckenridge
Up at the top of Boreas in Breckenridge, the road turns to gravel and the aspen trees canopy the road. It’s a spectacular drive in the fall. It will take you to the top of Boreas Pass where you will find some historic buildings like the Section House, a hike up Black Powder Pass or a couple mountain bike trails.
Cataract Lake, Silverthorne
North of Silverthorne, near Green Mountain Reservoir, is Cataract Lake. It’s a small mountain pond surrounded by mountains and aspen. You can drive to it but a trail goes completely around the lake if you want to take a hike. Take your lunch and enjoy a picnic on the banks. There are several other hikes in the area that are also spectacular this time of year!
Ptarmigan Mountain in Silverthorne
This hiking trail is generally an early season hike for us. It runs through an aspen grove that should be incredible in the fall. This can be a hot hike when you’re not in the trees so September is a really good time to hit this trail.
Here are a couple of nearby spots to check out.
Guenella Pass, a drive between Georgetown and Park County.
Piney River Ranch is a private lake and lodge near Vail. It has a public hiking trail running through the valley and back to a waterfall.
Anywhere you can find yourself in a stand of aspen trees will be a spectacular spot for changing leaves in Summit County and beyond. If you happen to time it right and have a little bit of luck, you might get some fresh snow too. As long as it’s not too much snow, it adds another element to the spectacular fall colors in the Colorado mountains.