BEST FALL HIKES

Get Outside While You Wait for it to Snow.

Fall is every skier’s second-favorite season. Winter—and all that glorious snow—is right around the corner, and the turning leaves and cooler temperatures make the final days of summer outdoor activities even sweeter.

To that end, we’ve put together a roundup of our favorite fall hikes across skidom. Most of them are moderate-to-easy, so you can fully focus on the golden aspens and red sumac bushes. Get out wherever you are and enjoy them, because before you know it, the flakes will be flying.

Northeast

The view along the Atlantic Ocean from Acadia National Park
The view along Ocean Path Trail, Acadia National Park. [Photo: NPS]

Ocean Path Trail, Acadia National Park, Maine
The Ocean Path Trail is one of the most scenic spots in the East, regardless of the time of year. But come fall, the 2.2-mile path that skirts the Atlantic Ocean comes alive with fall colors. Reward yourself afterward with a lobster roll and a beer from The Thirsty Whale Tavern in Bar Harbor.

The fall trees shine in Vermont.
Not much better than east coast trees in the fall. [Photo: Emily SD/alltrails]

Sunset Ridge Trail, Stowe, Vt.
Before the snow coats the legendary slopes of Stowe, take the Sunset Ridge Trail to the summit for a show of colors bested only by the view of Lake Champlain. The hike, which rises mostly above treeline, is absolutely gorgeous, but you’ll also enjoy the car journey to get there, too.

Midwest

The lake view from Bare Bluff, Mt. Bohemia, Michigan.
The view from Bare Bluff, Michigan. [Photo: T. Trombley]

Bare Bluff, Mt. Bohemia, Michigan
As far as Midwestern skiing goes, Mt. Bohemia owns the extreme niche, and it turns out the fall hiking is no exception. Up on the wild Keweenaw Peninsula, the hike to Bare Bluff is a hard scramble up to exposed cliffs that boast an unbeatable view of Lake Superior and all its incredible surrounding foliage. Do some research before you go, however, as it might take some navigational skill and/or a local who’s done it before.

West

The Maroon Bells glow in the evening light.
The Maroon Bells glow in the evening light. [Photo: istock]

Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colo.
Scenic, indeed. This trail is the most popular in Aspen’s iconic 14,000-foot Maroon Bells, and for good reason. It’s a lollipop loop that starts at Maroon Lake and passes cascading waterfalls of Maroon Creek. The area’s namesake aspens light up like wildfire, and the views of the valley are unparalleled.

Dyke Trail, Crested Butte, Colo.
Also a popular mountain bike ride, the Dyke Trail has grown famous for its fall leaves. It travels through one of the biggest aspen groves in North America, passes through Lake Irwin, and offers incredible views of Mt. Owen and Ruby Peak.

Wilson Peak from Deep Creek trail above the airport.
Wilson Peak (aka. Shandoka) from Deep Creek Trail area.

Deep Creek Trail, Telluride, Colo.
This trail can link to a lot of different loops, but regardless of which one you choose, be prepared for some high-angle hiking. The San Juans are the youngest mountains in the Rockies, so nothing here is exactly mellow. It offers views of the whole valley and passes through many groves of shivering aspens.

Taggart and Bradley Lake Loop, Grand Teton National Park, Wyo.
On the outskirts of Jackson Hole sits one of the most dramatic national parks in the country. And the best time to see it is in the fall, after the summer tourist season wanes and before the snow renders the trails impassable. This 6-mile loop is moderate in grade and passes two lakes cradled by the Tetons.

General Creek Trail, Lake Tahoe, Calif.
This trail isn’t just pretty, it’s historic, too. The 1960 Olympic cross-country skiing trail, General Creek begins at the Sugar Pine Point State Park 10 miles south of Tahoe City. It loops through 4.5 miles (5.5 if you push on to Lily Pond, which we strongly recommend) of gorgeous golden aspens.

Happy fall hiking, from Wagner Custom!

 

A skier enjoys some powder snow on Wagner Custom Skis.