There’s no questioning that fall is a spectacular time of year in the Rocky Mountains, but there is something distinctly spectacular about fall in the Crystal River Valley. When the state’s signature Aspen trees turn from green to shimmering shades of gold, orange, and red, there are few places more beautiful than Redstone, Colorado.
Fall colors typically fill the landscape from mid-September to mid-October, but here in the Crystal River Valley, the window for viewing fall colors can often be a little bit broader. Which is ideal, as timing for peak fall colors each autumn is an imperfect science. Here are a few of our top picks for leafing in and around the Crystal River Valley.
Redstone, Colorado may be a small town, but it just might be the most charming small town you’ve ever visited. A walk around this quaint town is like taking a short historical tour of Colorado’s mining past. Visit the historic coke ovens, take a short drive to Hays Creek Falls, enjoy a slice of Detroit style pizza by the river at Propaganda Pie, have dinner at the Historic Redstone Inn, stop by the General Store for a scoop of ice cream, or treat yourself to a little retail therapy at one of Redstone’s eclectic boutiques. Read more here.
HIKE THE CASTLE GROUNDS & BEYOND
A property unlike any other, the Redstone Castle experience extends beyond its stately stone and Tudor-style walls and encompasses 150 acres of private land, including access to the Crystal River, on-site walking paths, the gazebo, 1960s ski lift and more – which guests can explore at will. Read more about the grounds here.
Care to venture a bit further? Redstone is surrounded by both national forest and scenic wilderness areas. One of our favorite local hikes is The East Creek Trail, easily accessible from Redstone Blvd. East Creek and Gift Creek Trail is a 14.4 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail, but you don’t have to do the full hike to view some incredible scenery. The access road to the East Creek Trail itself offers expansive views of Redstone and the Crystal River Valley. In just about a 1/2 mile, you’ll rise quickly in elevation and be able to take in one of our favorite views in town. Other notable favorites of ours include Coal Creek Road, Coal Basin Trail, Boulders Trail, and Braderich Creek. Learn more about nearby trails here.
RIDE ON TWO WHEELS
Autumn is a beautiful time of year to set out on a mountain bike or road bike ride. With cooler fall temperatures and magnificent fall colors, there’s no better time to explore area trails. Spend a day at the newly opened Coal Basin Ranch Community Trail System here in Redstone, cruise the paved Crystal River Bike Path running from the KOA Campground all the way to neighboring Carbondale, or explore over 300 miles of high quality singletrack trails from Aspen to Glenwood Springs – recently named a Gold Level Ride Center by the International Mountain Bike Association.
TAKE A SCENIC DRIVE
Combining the changing of the seasons with a scenic drive in Colorado is a win-win every year. These leafy scenic routes will bring you up close and personal with Colorado’s fall foliage:
- West Elk Loop and Scenic Byway: This loop starts in nearby Carbondale and heads south on Highway 133 to Redstone. After a relaxing stay at The Redstone Castle, continue the loop towards neighboring Marble, another breathtaking location for fall colors, or head over McClure Pass to Somerset, Paonia, and Hotchkiss. The loop then follows Highway 92 towards Crawford, and turns on to Hwy 50 towards Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park. Finally, it loops around Crested Butte allowing you to take Kebler Pass back to Highway 133. Fun Fact – Kebler pass is home to one of the largest aspen groves in the United States! Please note Kebler pass is not open in the winter months.
- Even if you don’t travel the whole loop, taking a shorter scenic drive from the Redstone Castle up McClure Pass or Kebler Pass during the fall season will give you plenty to write home about.
- Independence Pass: If you are heading to Redstone from the Front Range, consider taking a scenic drive over Independence Pass, through Aspen and down Highway 82 to Carbondale. A trip over the pass is a visual feast with stunning groves of aspen trees, thick forests, and ample wildlife. This portion of highway is also incorporated into the Top of the Rockies Scenic and Historic Byway.
Want more? Look at this Quick Guide to Colorado’s 26 Scenic & Historic Byways.
SOAK IN AREA HOT SPRINGS
One of the most relaxing ways to view the autumn splendor is while immersing yourself in the soothing mineral waters of one of our area hot springs. Visit the nearby Avalanche Ranch featuring three soaking pools with views of Mt. Sopris, Elephant Mountain and the Avalanche Creek Valley. Take a day trip to Glenwood Springs, approximately 40 minutes away, and visit Iron Mountain Hot Springs’ 16 soaking pools along the banks of the Colorado River, the World’s Largest Hot Springs Pool, or the Yampah Spa & Vapor Caves. Learn more here.
No matter how you decide to enjoy the change of the seasons this year, you can’t go wrong with an overnight stay here at The Redstone Castle. With 9 spacious three-room suites to choose from—all meticulously restored and decorated—a delicious hot breakfast each morning, and a fascinating history, you’ll feel like royalty from the moment you arrive. For a truly unique autumn escape you’re sure to cherish for years to come, give us a call at 970.963.9656 today.