Our Favorite Fall Leaf Viewing Spots
Posted on October 10 2022
Fall. We love it and we don’t care what anyone thinks. Along with the sweaters, boots, scarves, and (yup, we’re going there) pumpkin spice everything - are fall rides and hikes in search of golden leaves. Getting out to see the season changing right before our eyes is a lovely reminder of the cyclical nature of life and our reminder to slow down and take things in one falling leaf at a time.
Here is our team's favorite fall hiking and riding spots across the US.
Where: Flowing Park Trail - Grand Mesa, Colorado
When: Late September - October
Describe the ride, hike or activity: Best for mountain biking or hiking. About a 15 mile, flat loop that crosses meadows and weaves in and out aspen groves. Some rocky sections that can be walked if needed. Trailhead is at reservoir - not great for swimming, but ok for paddle boarding. The vest part of this ride will be the views of the Grand Valley below where you can see views of Sneffles to the south, Grand Junction to the north, the Uncompahgre plateau and La Sal mountains to the west and the North Fork Valley to the east.
Where: Kenosha Pass, Colorado, on the Colorado Trail
When: Late Sept to Early October
Describe the ride or hike: Like many Colorado rides, elevation is a factor, but this one isn’t as tough as some. It starts out off HWY 285 on Segment 6 of the Colorado Trail. Your elevation on this trail roughly dabbles in the 10K range. The best Aspen are at the tail end of CT Segment 6l, if you ride from east to west. You can take this all the way up to Georgia pass and nearly 12K, but if you’re looking for a more mellow ride you can also ride Segment 6 from west to east and get directly into the leaf peeping and make it a mellow out and back. To ride from west to east, you will need to park by Beaver Ponds and there is a $7 fee that must be paid in cash or check. Parking on 285 is free.
Where: Smuggler’s Notch in Stowe, VT
When: Late Sept, early October can be pushing it
Describe the ride or hike: This is an epic road ride if done the long way. At 65-miles you’ll be putting that summer fitness to use. The ride highlight is the 1,600 foot, 7-mile climb to the top of Smuggler’s Notch. The decent is one you’ll remember for years among the golden laden trees. Take in every moment. The rest of the ride through Vermont countryside is beyond idyllic. We highly recommend stops for apple cider and of course, apple cider donuts. When you’re done, celebrate with a cider with more of a kick.
Where: Airstrip Trail - Dupont Forest, NC
When: Mid November
Describe the ride or hike: Best done on a mountain bike or hiking. There are multiple trails you can use to access the Airstrip. You exit Dupont singletrack and find yourself on a long paved airstrip - once you crest over the hill you have an unobstructed view of the NC fall leaves! Once you are done taking it all in, you have a fun flowy downhill depending on your route!
Where: Kebler Pass, CO
Describe the ride, hike or activity: Best done on a gravel bike out and back from Crested Butte. But watch for cars, it’s a popular drive as well. However, should you dare to brave the slow-moving, leaf-gaper traffic, you will get to peep one of the largest groves of aspen trees (think more than 30 miles long)…in front of a dramatic rock formation known as the Dyke. Did you know that aspen trees are a single organism? There is debate on whether or not this grove is all a single clone - but if you haven’t heard of Pando, look it up. Arguably the world's largest organism, covering over 100 acres, are genetically identical clones of aspens. Fascinating!
Where: Bonanza Flats, UT
When: Early fall, it’s one of the first places in the area where the aspens really go golden.
Describe the ride, hike or activity: Starting at the Bonanza Flat Trailhead, you can find everything from epic mountain biking to mellow, family friendly hiking trails through glowing aspens. I love taking the kiddos to this zone at the height of fall feels to take it all in before the snow falls. We usually follow a 1-2 mile loop through the trees, take some pictures, enjoy snacks and let our dog run loose. It’s always a fun way to welcome the season.