Coming off an incredible snow season with lots of moisture and a wet spring, the conditions are prime for an exceptionally brilliant show of colors this fall in the Summit County high country. Experts have predicted that prime colors near Keystone Resort will peak around September 20 into the first week of October. Head to the mountains to take in the amazing views of hillsides of golds, oranges and reds.
Although the Resort is closed for the summer season, there are still plenty of things to enjoy on your visit to Keystone. Most restaurants offer special mud-season deals like 2-for-1 dinner entries. Many of the sporting goods and equipment shops also run some great sales on last year’s gear so it is a good time to shop for new skis, winter jackets, ski socks, boots and more and enjoy sales up to 60% off regular prices.
Hiking in the fall is nothing short of amazing. Fall tends tend to be full of bright sunshine and perfect temperatures, not too hot but very pleasant. You can hike a fourteener, grab a hike with a grand finale such as a waterfall, alpine lake or mountain vista, or just enjoy a tree lined trail speckled with colorful aspens. If mountain biking is your preferred sport, try one of the many trails around Summit County, such as Aspen Alley in Breckenridge or the Oro Grande trail closer to Keystone.
Fall is definately one of our favorite seasons in the mountains, but it goes by in the blink of an eye! Book your lodging today and head up to enjoy a fall escape while you still can!
The Old Dillon Reservoir Trail is located off of Dillon Dam Road, near the Lake Dillon Reservoir. This is a relatively easy hike, capping out at about 1.7 miles round trip and about 200 feet in elevation gain. It is a perfect choice to do with kids, elderly or if you only have an hour. It would also be a good ‘first’ hike to do to get you acclimated to the area and altitude. Even though it is quick and considerably ‘easy’, it offers up some of the best views in the area! This trail can be done in any season and is very rewarding, without too much work. The hike starts out in the trees with shade and then opens up once you reach the lake.
The hike has incredible 360 degree views of Lake Dillon, Buffalo Mountain, Ptarmigan Peak, the Tenmile Range and the Continental Divide. You’ll enjoy the fall foliage all the way up to the top, where you will find the Old Dillon Reservoir, which was built in the 1930’s. You can even see Keystone’s North Peak from here! Bring a fishing pole (if you have a Colorado fishing license) or just enjoy the stroll along the lake. This hike shouldn’t take you more than an hour to complete.
If you are traveling from Keystone, head towards Dillon and take a left onto Dillon Dam Road, at the stoplight near the movie theatre and grocery store intersection. Then travel on the Dam road for about 2.1 miles and you will see the trail head on the right.
The fall colors in this area are currently just beginning to peak, so we recommend doing this hike within the next two weeks to see the best colors. The photos featured were taken on Tuesday, September 11, 2018. Get out there and enjoy this wonderful Summit County hike!
If you are dreaming of seeing a moose during your mountain vacation, you should book a trip to Keystone over the upcoming few weeks. Fall is one of our favorite seasons in the mountains and not just for the incredible leaf peeping and amazing weather. It is also one of the best times to see moose in the mountains. Fall is the prime mating season for moose and it is when they are most active, mainly in the months of September and October. Moose are most comfortable in cold, damp environments and you can often see them hanging out in marshes or ponds. These moose were spotted today in West Keystone, near the marshy areas close to the Snake River. We have also seen them at other times in River Run Village, near the Gateway Lodge and out and about Snake River Townhomes.
If you are lucky enough to spot a moose during your visit to Keystone, please remind that these are wild animals and keep your distance. Moose are very large animals and can often be unpredictable and aggressive and could charge at any time. Enjoy the view, but from a distance. Good luck with your moose ‘hunting’ this fall!
On Thursday, September 6, 2018 Summit County received its first dusting of snow of the 2018 – 2019 ski season atop the peaks! The light dusting of snow stuck around until mid-day and looked amazing, contrasting against the golden aspen trees seen lower down the mountains.
Keystone Ski Resort is scheduled to open for the winter ski season on Friday, November 9, 2018. Nearby Arapahoe Basin typically opens earlier, as soon as mother nature allows, typically in mid-October.
The leaves have already started changing colors and fall is in the air. The next two weeks will be the prime time for leaf peeping here at Keystone Resort. Head to the high country to experience one of our favorite seasons – fall! Take a hike or ride through the trees as you enjoy a gorgeous sunny fall day amongst the golden and orange sparkling hues. SummitCove Lodging is offering properties at ultra-low mud season rates, so it is the perfect time to enjoy a weekend getaway without breaking the bank!
This is a relatively easy and short trail, making it great to do with young kids or older adults. Head towards West Keystone to pickup the Keystone Gulch Trailhead. Head up the access road about half a mile and look for the bridge on the right to start your hike. You’ll do a short climb and then turn right when you get to the top where the trail levels out. You’ll overlook much of the West Keystone area, including the River Golf Course and Snake River. Intermittent views of Buffalo Mountain and the Gore Range come into play as you continue on the trail. Beautiful aspen trees will be peaking in golds during the fall months. The trail soon ends after about a mile and a half at Keystone Ranch Road, where you have the option to continue onto Soda Ridge to your left, Flume Trail straight ahead or just turn around when you’re ready. Want to hike here from your condo? Stay anywhere in West Keystone at Wild Irishman, Flying Dutchman, Soda Springs, Starfire or Northstar Condos and you’ll have the perfect basecamp for your fall color hikes!
Upper Peru Creek / Peru Creek Road
This hike is located just up the road from Keystone off of Montezuma Road. It is another easy trail that is about 6 miles that follows along the Peru Creek. Head down Montezuma road about 4.6 miles and look for the parking area on the left side of the road where the trailhead is located. You can park here, or if you have a 4WD vehicle, you can drive down the road another 4 and a half miles to begin the hike to Upper Peru Creek and Horseshoe Basin with multiple historic mine sites along the way. If you can’t make it to the upper trailhead, you can still walk along this road and enjoy this beautiful area hiking along the service road and end at Shoe Basin Mine. Other hikes in this area include Warden Gulch, Lenawee Trail and Chihuahua Gulch.
This hike is great for visitors as it offers unparalleled wide open views of Summit County and particularly, Lake Dillon. There are a wealth of Aspen Trees on this hike that are absolutely stunning as the leaves begin to change! Get to the trailhead by heading towards Silverthorne and driving just past the I-70 overpass and turn right onto Rainbow Drive (by the Wendy’s). At the stop sign, turn right again onto Tanglewood Drive and then take another right onto Ptarmigan Trail and a final right turn into the trailhead parking area, about a half mile later. This trail climbs about 5 and a half miles, ultimately to the summit of Ptarmigan Peak. If you aren’t up to that 3,400 vertical challenge, the first 3 miles of this trail are relatively flat and perfect for a stroll in which you turn around when you’ve had enough. You won’t believe the views from this trail!
Plan a weekend in the mountains this fall to see the fall colors at their best! Spend the weekend hiking, enjoying the hot tub and enjoying great off-season deals at Summit County restaurants! Many of them offer two for one deals and other specials during late September and October. Save 30% on fall stays with the promo code ‘FALL’ when booking online. Check out our available properties here.
If you haven’t made it up to the mountains to catch the changing of the Aspen leaves, don’t wait! The fall colors are covering the mountains in the high country and they will soon be reaching their peak within the next week or two. With less crowds and crisp weather, September and October are the perfect time to get away to the mountains and enjoy the outdoors. The weather couldn’t be better for hiking and biking and enjoying your favorite summer activities before the snow hits. And while you’re up here, catch some of the live music around the county. Beat the weekend traffic and head up to Summit County on Thursday, September 22nd for a long weekend. Zuma Road will be playing at Rainbow Park in Silverthorne for their Cafe Concert Series; this free concert starts at 5:30. The Snake River Saloon will be hosting local band High 5 on Friday, September 23rd, and the Lee Rogers Band the following night; $5 cover gets you in.
If you are looking for a perfect Fall hike, we have a few recommendations. The Keystone Aqueduct Trail offers great views of Keystone, the Ranch and Buffalo Mountain. Head down West Keystone Road to Soda Ridge Road, where you will turn left at the Keystone Gulch Townhomes and you will see the parking area just ahead. The trail starts off with some wooden bridges and stream crossings and a quick uphill with a right turn, where the trail then levels off and you start seeing the views and all of the spectacular yellows, reds, and oranges on the trees. Turn around whenever you’d like and head back to the parking area.
Another great fall hiking trail in the Summit County area near Keystone is the Ptarmigan Peak Trail in Silverthorne. From Keystone, head West on Highway 6 into Silverthorne. Cross under the I-70 overpass and turn right at the Wendy’s, take another right at the first stop sign. You will then right onto Tanglewood Lane and continue to Ptarmigan Trail Rd and turn right. Follow this road for approximately 0.8 miles to the trailhead parking on the right. The trail takes you through some nice forest and meadow areas with tons of Aspen trees. You will overlook the Lake Dillon Reservoir and take in some great views of the Gore Range along the way. The hike continues up to Ptarmigan Peak Pass, which is almost 11 miles if you go the whole way, but even just hiking a few miles and turning around is well worth it if you don’t want to go all the way up.
Fall is one of our favorite times of the year to be in the mountains. The crowds dwindle, the weather is gorgeous and the scenery comes alive with brilliant colors. Come take in the gorgeous aspen colors in Keystone this weekend!
I know that the sun is starting to wane and those fresh summer mornings give way to crisp dewy mornings. A light sweater will be required when sipping coffee on the deck and the snowflakes are still a month away, but there are so many reasons to fall in love with Fall in Keystone.
First of all, there are the COLORS! Colorado is known for providing for wonderful “leaf peeping” opportunities, but have you seen Keystone? The hills are sprinkled with reds, browns and the most brilliant yellows you have ever seen. Take a hike and enjoy collecting leaves to press, or bring your camera along in order to capture the brilliance and preserve your memories. The Keystone Aqueduct Trail is a great one, as it overlooks much of the Keystone area from a bird’s eye view.
Speaking of hiking, the trails that are normally crowded are empty. You might be the only one on the trail, or maybe you will catch a glimpse of Bullwinkle (just don’t try to pet him.) If you head up near Montezuma, you could catch a few photos of a real ghost-town. Make sure you bring along a picnic lunch, because once you start hiking, you won’t want to turn back.
When you do get back to Keystone, take a dip in the pool, or soak in the hot-tub. Do you remember the pool with all of the activity in the summer? That same pool might be all yours in the fall! With few guests in town, you can use the pool and never once be stepped on by a kid yelling Marco-Polo. The hot tub won’t be buzzing with tired skiers, but you will get to choose any seat you like.
Once you are refreshed, grab the Summit Daily to find a great deal on dinner. Although the options in River Run are limited, there are several restaurants in nearby Dillon that offer a “locals” deal for buy one get one free meals and discounts on drinks during the mud season. Bonus, the restaurants are not crowded so you won’t wait nearly as long for dinner as you would in the summer or winter seasons.
As the trees make preparations for the winter to come and the shadows grow longer, we are given the greatest performance of all: the changing colors of Aspens to golds and reds from their summer greens. The leaves hint color at first, giving way to full blazes as the days progress through Autumn. Colors have already started to change and we likely only have a few more days for prime viewing!
Here in Summit County, we have groves upon groves of Aspen trees at our fingertips, but that doesn’t stop us from driving around to take in the full show. Here are a few of my favorite drives from Keystone to enjoy the beauty of Fall. So grab a pumpkin spice latte, your favorite mix tape and enjoy the ride!
Boreas Pass Road: Boreas Pass Road is an old railroad bed that climbs up the pass from Breckenridge and eventually ends at US Hwy 285 north of Fairplay. This historic route gives passengers unrivaled views of Breckenridge and the surrounding mountains. Stop and enjoy the many groves of Aspens and incredible views along with the railroad history of the area. There is even a short hike off of the Boreas Pass Trailhead called ‘Aspen Alley’ which is about 2.5 miles round trip and a must-do if you are in the area.
Directions: Drive west on Hwy 6 out of Keystone and turn left on Swan Mountain Road. Take another left from Swan Mountain to Hwy 9 towards Breckenridge. Stay on the Hwy 9 downtown bypass past Breckenridge and turn left on Boreas Pass road just south of main street. Take this road all the way up to Boreas Pass and don’t forget to stop and take photos!
*Bonus: Drive all the way to Hwy 285, turn south to Fairplay and take Hwy 9 from Fairplay back over Hoosier Pass to Breckenridge and back north to Keystone.
Tennessee Pass: Tennessee Pass outside of Leadville is another great Fall color drive. If you are a little less comfortable driving on a dirt road miles into the backcountry, this is a great alternative to Boreas Pass. You can enjoy beautiful colors and stay on the comfort of a paved highway.
Directions: Drive west on Hwy 6 out of Keystone to I-70 west. From I-70, turn south on Hwy 91 at Copper Mountain Resort. Stay on Hwy 91 to just before Leadville. (Detour to Leadville and grab a coffee at City on a Hill Coffee in Leadville, you will enjoy every sip!) Take Hwy 24 north towards Ski Cooper and stay on Hwy 24 to I-70. You will pop out on I-70 just west of Vail. Enjoy the drive back east on I-70 to the Silverthorne/Dillon exit and stay on Hwy 6 East to Keystone!
*Bonus: Take a right Camp Hale from Hwy 24 and read about the 10th Mountain Division of World War II and their incredible feats in Italy! This is the site where they did their primary training for the war.
Independence Pass: An unforgettable drive to view Fall foliage, the drive from Twin Lakes outside of Leadville over Independence Pass to Aspen is one on which to spend an entire day.
Directions: Drive west on Hwy 6 to I-70. Drive west on I-70 to Hwy 91 at Copper Mountain Resort and drive south. Stay on 91 through Leadville. It merges with Hwy 24 which you will continue South on to get to Twin Lakes. Turn right on Hwy 82 and pass the small town of Twin Lakes, continue up over Independence Pass to Aspen. Turn around to head back to Keystone or continue north on Hwy 82 to Glenwood Springs on I-70. Take I-70 East to get back to Silverthorne/Dillon and to Keystone.
It’s that time of year again in Summit County – the aspens are changing! During the next couple of weeks, locals and visitors alike will be witness to the beautiful gold, red and orange hues that spread throughout the mountains. The mountains offer the first sightings of the leaves changing, with prime viewing time expected to last through the end of September in the high Rockies.
There are plenty of ways to take in the spectacular views in Summit County. Take your bike (or rent one) over to the Lake Dillon Recreation Path and make your way around the lake to get a 360 view of the fall leaves. This 18-mile path will take you through Dillon, Frisco, and Breckenridge, over Swan Mountain before you head back to Keystone!
For a more leisurely intake of the changing leaves, make a day trip to Aspen, via Independence Pass – arguably one of the best drives in Colorado for viewing the aspen trees. Plan for a 4-5 hour drive, round trip. Or if you’re on a time crunch, simple drive east on Montezuma Road from Keystone – a quick 5-miles in and you’ll be surrounded by the fall leaves. Along the way there are plenty of places to stop by the stream or take a quick hike on one of the many trails in the area. If you are looking for a beautiful, longer day-hike that is nearby, Chihuahua Gulch is a great option. It is around 7 miles round trip and although considered moderately difficult, it offers great views of aspens, Grey’s and Torreys Peaks and Chihuahua Lake.
Now is the time to visit the high country and take in the brilliant colors of the aspen trees!
Cooler temperatures and rainy weather turned to snow overnight and Summit County residents awoke this morning to a snowy white blanket covering the still mostly green trees. Has winter beat out fall this year? Fall colors only have begun to peek through and they will likely be in their full, colorful glory within the next week or two in Summit County and at higher elevations all around Colorado. Fall is a wonderful time to visit Keystone. Come up and enjoy the beautiful colors and special ‘mud season’ deals at local restaurants. You will even find unbelievable sales on last season’s winter ski and snowboard equipment as retailers are hoping to make room for new gear.
Arapahoe Basin and Loveland ski areas are typically the first resorts in Colorado to begin snow-making and both have reported that they have their snow guns ready to blow as soon as the conditions are right. Once snow-making begins, the two resorts are at a race to be the first ski resort to open their doors for the season. For the past two years, A-Basin has claimed the title as the first to open in Colorado, last year opening on October 17th.
Keystone Ski Resort is slated to open in just 38 days on Friday, November 1st! It’s time to get out your winter jackets and start thinking about ski season! Have you reserved your condo in Keystone for your winter ski getaway?