Saying goodbye to the sunny days of summer doesn’t have to be a sad occasion. Fall holds most of the same adventure opportunities as summer, with a little something extra: glowing, sweeping, golden red views.
Aspens in Cripple Creek, CO - Image Credits: Robert Reyes
At Sunski, we’re all about living your best life outside. So instead of seeing the end of summer as the end of sun basking, we prefer to think of it as the changing of the guard: the gradual transition from the thrill of summer to the chill of winter. Maybe it’s a little cooler than summer, but you can still get out and hit some hikes! Just grab a shoulder-season beanie and you’ll be all set to enjoy your favorite adventures.
Cozy up in the Shoulder Season Beanie!
Embrace the spirit and beauty of fall! Fall hikes are truly one of a kind, and the window to experience the explosion of color is small. To help you make the most of your time outside, we rounded up some of the best places in the west to seek out fall colors on the trail.
Aspens Galore in Colorado
Changing Aspens in Colorado - Image Credits: Intricate Explorer
For fans of fall foliage, aspen trees define the phrase ‘the more the merrier.’ Since aspens need to interconnect their roots to survive, there can’t just be one. All the connected aspens are technically considered one tree, but when you look out among the hundreds and thousands of stems, it certainly doesn’t feel singular. It’s picturesque to walk through the white-bark aspen forest any time of the year, but it’s the autumn magic that strikes particular awe and stoke.
Fall in Colorado means aspens, and what better place than Aspen itself? The Maroon Bells are popular for good reason, and luckily for us adventure enthusiasts, there’s an abundance of sweet hikes in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness. You’re guaranteed to see some fall colors popping off in this area of the world.
Northwest of Aspen, Rocky Mountain National Park is another scenic locale with plenty of hiking options. One (of many) treks worth noting is the Sprague Lake Trail. This trail is an out-and-back is a moderate trail with wildlife galore. You may see moose or elk on this route along with bright and beaming aspens, as well as glorious views of the mountains.
Rocky Mountain National Park - Image Credits: Kelsey Wiedel
In the west, Colorado has some of the most epic fall foliage. Venturing into the Rockies this fall is a sure-fire way to bask in the changing colors, breathe in the crisp cool air, and ring in the fall vibes.
Awe in a Flagstaff Fall
When we think Arizona, we tend to think desert. But in Northern Arizona, you can find some sweet mountains and, you guessed it, some stunning fall colors.
A trail worth checking out is the Aspen Trail Loop. This easy, 2.7 mile loop is perfect if you’re looking for a leisurely stroll through the autumn leaves. It’s also the perfect trail if you have an hour to kill and are itching for your nature fix.
Aspen Trail Loop, Flagstaff, AZ - Image Credits: Valerie Cervantes
Another gorgeous fall hike if you’re craving a bigger adventure is the Abineau-Bear Jaw Loop. Over the course of the 7-mile loop, you can expect a decent amount of elevation gain. But the views are majestic, and in the fall, the excursion is made all the more savory. This is Arizona, so don’t forget your favorite hiking sunglasses! Sunskis are durably-made for year-round adventure, after-all.
Wandering the Skyline in Washington
It may be the Evergreen State, but Washington still boasts a vibrant fall. The maple and larch trees remind us that fall does grace the Pacific Northwest, with displays of yellows and deep reds that stand out against the firs and hemlock.
Perhaps one of the best spots to embrace fall is at Mount Rainier National Park. The mountain is a booming sight in its own right, but adding fall foliage to the mix is an intoxicating combination. Bursting fall colors under the shadow of the tallest volcano in the Lower 48! Definitely worth adding to your list of must-see natural feats.
A popular hike among mountain chasers is the Skyline Trail near Paradise. The loop is about 5.5 miles, and weather permitting, you’ll be met with open views of Rainier to complement the fall colors.
Fall Feast in the Eastern Sierra
Eastern Sierra Mountains in peak fall colors - Image Credit: Ross Stone
The 395 corridor from Bridgeport south to Bishop is well-known for its stunning views, so it comes as no shock that it’s a marvelous spot for fall colors. Whether it’s the foliage or the climbing that brings you to the East Sierra, you can add an extra sprinkle of color to your mountain getaway.
Lundy Canyon - Image Credit: Mark Pecar
Most of the trails in the area are in the moderate to challenging zone, like the Lake Sabrina to Blue Lake Trail and the Lundy Canyon Trail, but you’ll be rewarded with gorgeous landscapes and bursting fall color. Hitting up any trail in the area is sure to be a great trek for a mental reset! An afternoon snow flurry is not uncommon in this area, so consider bringing along your Type-1 Fun Sling so you can pack a beanie for some extra warmth.
Our Type-1 Fun Sling is ready for all the fall adventures on the horizon!
With so many prime opportunities to seize autumn, the Bishop Visitor Center actually curated a Fall Color Guide to assist the foliage expeditions. You can find recommendations for hiking, fishing, and camping as well as nods to easy vistas. Whatever kind of adventure you prefer, there’s some fall color for you in this mountain landscape!
Autumn is arguably the best time of year to find peace in the outdoors. The cool air seems to bring a little extra peace and stillness, reminding us to appreciate the view, practice slow living, and exist in the moment.
This feeds into our adventure worry-free mentality. All Sunski sunglasses come with a lifetime warranty, so you can focus on what really matters: enjoying some soul-fueling time outside. So grab your favorite Sunskis and chase those fall landscapes!