Each year the quest of vistas of golden aspens take front-range locals high up into the mountains to spend time among the magic of the changing colors during the fading of summer light. But you don’t have to travel hours on the road in order to enjoy change of color this season.
Here are a few trails within a short drive from Boulder which you can hike or run to get your color fix.
The Switzerland trail can be accessed just a few mile drive from Downtown Boulder, either via Four Mile Canyon, Sugarloaf Mountain, or through Gold Hill. The old railroad graded trail is wide, flat and 100% runnable offering spectacular vistas over the canyons below and of the Indian Peaks Wilderness to the West. While not engulfed in Aspen groves, there are moments of brilliance along the way.
Macklin Chaffee on Twitter commented, “Amazing run just outside boulder at 9000ft.
Meyers Homestead Trail
Meyer’s Homestead Trail is up Flagstaff Mountain just before White Ranch Open Space. The trail is 6 miles of an out and back and weaves through a large grove of aspens around the mid point of the distance.
Mud Lake/Caribou Ranch
One of the favorite destinations of many from the area is Mud Lake and Caribou Ranch just outside of Nederland which boasts 2,151 acres of variety of landscapes to explore including wetlands, meadows, streams and forests. Kathy Butler of Boulder Track Club agrees “My favorite trail for fall colors is the mud lake mountain park to caribou ranch open space loop. You get distance for those big open mountain vistas but also run right through tunnels of aspens.”
One of the most popular trailheads on the Boulder Ranger District, Long Lake Trailhead is located at the west end of the Brainard Lake Recreation Area (BLRA). This trailhead provides access to Pawnee Pass, Jean Lunning, and Isabelle Glacier trails within the Indian Peaks
Rollinsville Road to Moffet Tunnel
Rollinsville Road is a poplar destination for local runners as it offers high altitude rolling roads amid the high alpine valley opening up to hillsides of Aspen groves.
Gold is not the only stunning color that fall brings, you can catch immense fiery patches of Red Sumac along the Mesa Trail.
South Boulder Creek or Boulder Valley Ranch
And as the weather cools down at 5,400′, the Cottonwoods will put shine in turn. Cottonwoods are popular along the Bobolink, South Boulder Creek, Boulder Valley Ranch, the Cottonwood trail or along the Coal Creek trail in Louisville.