Fall Hikes in Summit County
Colorado is known for amazing hiking and splendid mountain views. One of the best times to visit Summit County for hiking is in the autumn as the colors come to life with color and locals and visitors alike head to the mountains for “leaf peeping.”
In mid-September, the color of the Aspen trees beings to deepen into a golden hue and other trees turn into varying shades of orange, brown, red, and even purple. In the fall, you can’t miss these hikes in Summit County for wonderful photo opportunities of Colorado’s fall foliage:
French Gulch Road to Sallie Barber Mine:A 5.6-mile trail combines wonderful views with a touch of Colorado’s history. This trail is relatively easy and only encompasses about 110 feet in elevation gain. The mine dates back to 1882 and much of the original equipment is still on-site today. You can pass the mine and continue down the trail into a wooded area on Sallie Barber Road.
Photo Credit: ProTrails
Gold Hill Trail: A moderate 6.6-mile hike between Frisco and Breckenridge, this trail is part of the Colorado Trail that runs for 500 miles and connects Denver to Durango. This trail has several areas of clear mountain views, wildflowers, and even some wildlife sightings with elk being drawn to food sources nearby.
Lily Pad Lake: This easy 3.2-mile hike meanders through the Aspens, giving you an up close and personal look at these beautiful trees. If you’re looking for photo opportunities of wildflowers and beaver ponds, this is the trail for you. You’ll still see stunning colors but this trail isn’t as strenuous or time-consuming as some other trails in Summit County. The family-friendly trail is about 4 miles west of Silverthorne.
Ptarmigan Peak:This 12-mile hike is not for the faint of heart but the sights from the top are faint worthy. It’s a difficult hike that lies along the county line separating Summit County and Grand County near Silverthorne. You’ll gain more than 3,000 feet in elevation but the panoramic views of Grays, Torreys, Longs, and Red Peaks are well worth the trek.
Photo credit: ProTrails
Sapphire Point Overlook:Located on Swan Mountain Road, between Keystone and Breckenridge, this scenic overlook is part of the White River National Forest – a 2.3 million acre wilderness area. At an elevation of 9,500 feet, the views alone draw visitors from all around. This overlook area connects to many of the trails on the 50-mile Summit County trail system but a popular one is the Old Dillon Reservoir trail that includes views of the Continental Divide and the Tenmile Range.
Willow Falls: An 8.7-mile trail near Silverthorne offers a variety of terrain and landmarks, as well as expansive views of the changing colors in fall. You’ll pass waterfalls and forests filled with golden Aspens. This trail has over 700 feet in elevation gain but a stunning payoff.