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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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1. Stuart Lake, Leavenworth

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Diandy Backup

2. Shirley Lake Trail, Tahoe

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Shirley Lake Trail
Olympic Valley, CA 96146
Squaw Valley

3. Hyndman Creek Trail, Sun Valley

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High-Powered Planet

4. Lake Blanche, Big Cottonwood Canyon

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Redbubble

5. Hummocks and Uplands trails, Big Sky

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33 Lone Peak Dr
Gallatin Gateway, MT 59730
A Mountain Journey

6. Death Canyon Trail, Grand Teton

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touristlink

7. Deep Creek Trail, Telluride

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mtbr

8. Three Lakes Trail, Kebler Pass

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Thinkstock

9. 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.

10. Zirkel Circle, Steamboat Springs

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Mt Zirkel Wilderness
Walden, CO 80480

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.

1. Stuart Lake, Leavenworth

Washington
Diandy Backup

2. Shirley Lake Trail, Tahoe

Shirley Lake Trail, Olympic Valley, CA 96146
Squaw Valley
Shirley Lake Trail
Olympic Valley, CA 96146

3. Hyndman Creek Trail, Sun Valley

Idaho
High-Powered Planet

4. Lake Blanche, Big Cottonwood Canyon

Salt Lake County, UT
Redbubble

5. Hummocks and Uplands trails, Big Sky

33 Lone Peak Dr, Gallatin Gateway, MT 59730
A Mountain Journey
33 Lone Peak Dr
Gallatin Gateway, MT 59730

6. Death Canyon Trail, Grand Teton

Moose, WY 83012
touristlink

7. Deep Creek Trail, Telluride

Colorado 81435
mtbr

8. Three Lakes Trail, Kebler Pass

Colorado
Thinkstock

9. West Maroon Pass, Aspen

Aspen, CO 81611

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.

10. Zirkel Circle, Steamboat Springs

Mt Zirkel Wilderness, Walden, CO 80480

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.

Mt Zirkel Wilderness
Walden, CO 80480