If you are in the Yampa Valley right now, you’ll notice the smattering of reds and yellows dotting the trees and shrubs. Fall is around the corner and we’ve put together our favorite hiking spots to experience the golden season in Routt County.
Fish Creek Falls
Immerse yourself in nature among quaking aspens and the sound of a cascading 283-foot waterfall that pours out of Mount Zirkel Wilderness from three trail options. The overlook is a half-mile, fully paved trail with rest stops and informational boards highlighting native plants and wildlife. A ¼-mile, steep dirt trail leads to the base of the falls with a pathway to the overlook trail if hikers want to make a loop. A 6-mile hike continues up from the falls following steep switchbacks through dense evergreen forest and golden aspen groves into a lush valley. The trail comes to a second falls, Long Lake and the Continental Divide Trail.
Hahns Peak Summit
Named after John and Joseph Hahn, gold prospectors from Germany, Hahns Peak’s bare, pointed pinnacle is one of the area’s most iconic sights. Gold and silver were mined out of the former volcano from the 1860s to the early 1900s. The trail is 1.7 miles each way and meanders up a forested hillside to the remains of an old mining cabin. The last stretch of the hike from there is steep and difficult, but the views of the autumn hued countryside from the fire tower at the top, are worth the climb.
Mount Zirkel Wilderness
Mount Zirkel Wilderness offers an overload for the senses at any time of year with high alpine lakes, meadows and dense aspen groves. Hike the Zirkel Circle, an 11-mile loop that starts from the Slavonia Trailhead. The trail passes Gilpin Creek to the clear waters of Gilpin Lake, over to Gold Creek Lake, down Gold Creek Trail and back to Slavonia.