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Life is Golden

Posted by Kim Filler

There is something about the quaking golden leaves of an Aspen in Fall that does wonders for the sole. Coloradoans have been so inspired over the years that we have named a town, beers even our kids after this delicate tree.  It is therefore no surprise that as the seasons change turning hillsides from green into gold, we grab our sneakers to find solace amongst the trees. Before the falling leaves make way for snowflakes, we wanted to share with you 5 favorite hikes this Autumn.

Rabbit Ears Pass –A local’s favorite, this 6-mile trek brings you to the top of the iconic rocks where endless views await.  The drive back to town is spectacular. Your tired limbs may feel they have been wrapped up in a splendid autumn quilt as you descend among the patches of orange, red and gold.

Emerald Mountain – nothing can beat the location of Emerald’s ever-popular trails. Facing Mount Werner with a bird’s eye view of Ski Town USA, the paths wind around like ribbons. Reminiscent of a children’s novel where you choose the storyline at the end of a chapter, each trail gives options to continue along or head upwards. Whichever path you opt for, the views will bring reward…. how long you hike is up to you.

Mad Creek – just a few miles from town this “secret” hike is worth exploring. From the road you could be forgiven for driving by, not realizing what a jewel awaits. Hidden at the top of a steep rocky path, is a beautiful meadow embellished with aspens. The trail drops on one side to the Elk River, surrounded by evergreens and a wonderful selection of native shrubs. Hikers have the option of continuing for a well-deserved soak in the Strawberry Park Hot Springs

Three Island Lake and Gold Creek Lake – both of these North Routt hikes can be accessed from Seedhouse Road, on the edge of Mount Zirkel Wilderness. Stunning at any time of year, these two trails are spectacular in the Fall. The mix of vegetation brings evergreens and aspens together in abundance. Considering the devastation in the Zirkels after the 1997 blow down and 2002 fire, the re-growth on the hillsides is evident with new life forever apparent.

Fall can be a time of quiet contemplation for some. What better way to take 5, than to wander through a wood of golden Aspens watching the leaves quaking under a clear blue sky, inhaling the scent of pure mountain air.

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