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10 Ski Country Hikes for Fall Foliage in the West

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It's that time of year again. There's a chill in the air, some snow on the peaks, and plans are being made for winter. But before it's time to start making turns, there's the shoulder season ritual of fall foliage hikes. Across the West, leaves are starting to turn, and Curbed Ski has a primer on where to start when looking for fall colors.


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Stuart Lake, Leavenworth

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Diandy Backup

Shirley Lake Trail, Tahoe

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Squaw Valley

Hyndman Creek Trail, Sun Valley

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High-Powered Planet

Lake Blanche, Big Cottonwood Canyon

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Hummocks and Uplands trails, Big Sky

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A Mountain Journey

Death Canyon Trail, Grand Teton

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Deep Creek Trail, Telluride

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Three Lakes Trail, Kebler Pass

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West Maroon Pass, Aspen

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This stunning 12-mile wildflower hike over the Elk Range to Schofield Park, outside of Crested Butte, can also be done in reverse; note that the Aspen route involves an ass-blasting, 1,000 foot elevation gain on the final mile to the 12,500-foot summit. Fall means few hikers and a stunning display of flame-colored stands of aspen. Aspen's Limelight Hotel (one of our 38 Essential Ski Town properties) has once again put together a package that includes a room in Aspen, a shuttle to the trailhead, a map and Spot Satellite GPS Messenger for the hike and accommodations at Crested Butte's newly-renovated Nordic Inn. There's also the option to return to Aspen by helicopter, for the ultimate foliage views.

Zirkel Circle, Steamboat Springs

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The Zirkel Circle hike strings together the Gilpin Lake and Gold Creek trails into an 11-mile loop that runs through colorful aspen groves. The ridge above the stunning high-alpine Gilpin Lake affords amazing views of Mt. Zirkel and Big Agnes. Grab a sandwich at the Clark Store on your way to the trailhead and cross the gorgeous hike off your bucket list.

Stuart Lake, Leavenworth

Diandy Backup

Shirley Lake Trail, Tahoe

Squaw Valley

Hyndman Creek Trail, Sun Valley

High-Powered Planet

Lake Blanche, Big Cottonwood Canyon

Redbubble

Hummocks and Uplands trails, Big Sky

A Mountain Journey

Death Canyon Trail, Grand Teton

touristlink

Deep Creek Trail, Telluride

mtbr

Three Lakes Trail, Kebler Pass

Thinkstock

West Maroon Pass, Aspen

This stunning 12-mile wildflower hike over the Elk Range to Schofield Park, outside of Crested Butte, can also be done in reverse; note that the Aspen route involves an ass-blasting, 1,000 foot elevation gain on the final mile to the 12,500-foot summit. Fall means few hikers and a stunning display of flame-colored stands of aspen. Aspen's Limelight Hotel (one of our 38 Essential Ski Town properties) has once again put together a package that includes a room in Aspen, a shuttle to the trailhead, a map and Spot Satellite GPS Messenger for the hike and accommodations at Crested Butte's newly-renovated Nordic Inn. There's also the option to return to Aspen by helicopter, for the ultimate foliage views.

Zirkel Circle, Steamboat Springs

The Zirkel Circle hike strings together the Gilpin Lake and Gold Creek trails into an 11-mile loop that runs through colorful aspen groves. The ridge above the stunning high-alpine Gilpin Lake affords amazing views of Mt. Zirkel and Big Agnes. Grab a sandwich at the Clark Store on your way to the trailhead and cross the gorgeous hike off your bucket list.