13 Reasons to Visit Aspen in Autumn
1. The fifth annual Mac and Cheese Fest returns to Aspen's "Restaurant Row" Sept. 12. Local restaurants provide free tasting samples of their cheesy concoctions, and voting determines the Mac and Cheese Masters of Aspen. Previous festival samples include variations of duck confit, lobster, truffle and more.
2. Kayak the Roaring Fork and Colorado River with the Aspen Kayak and SUP Academy team. Alternatively, visitors are able to take in the autumn hues at a slower pace and get an incredible core workout with stand-up paddle boarding.
3. The 2015 Colorado Tough Mudder race will return to Snowmass Sept. 12-13. The 10-12 mile race course will travel through rugged mountain terrain, steep climbs and deep mud pits. Spectators can also cheer on Mudders throughout this stamina- and strength-testing endeavor.
4. Take in an aerial view of Aspen’s fall foliage with a paragliding adventure. Aspen Paragliding’s tandem guides take guests to the top of Aspen Mountain where they take off and experience mountain views from new heights.
5. Running mid-June through mid-Oct, the Aspen Saturday Market offers a bounty of Colorado’s produce, meats, artisan items, and wares, as well as live entertainment and fun for the family.
6. Timed to the Rocky Mountains’ spectacular fall color, Aspen Filmfest will return Sept. 25-30. The festival is an intimate affair that allows participants to view new releases, sneak previews, surprise films and favorites from the festival circuit. Other special events include post-screening dialogues, presentations, and opportunities to interact with the filmmakers.
7. Called one of the most beautiful in the country by Trail Runner magazine, the annual Golden Leaf Half Marathon will take place Sept. 26 with a route from Snowmass to Aspen.
8. Visit the Shigeru-Ban designed Aspen Art Museum and enjoy a collection of innovative and timely exhibitions, education and public programs, immersive activities and community happenings.
9. The 48th annual Ruggerfest will return to Aspen taking place in Wagner Park and Rio Grande Park. This is the only all-ages, full-contact rugby tournament in the world, and teams from around the country will be competing for the championship title.
10. Lace up your hiking boots and take on a fall hike in Aspen. Popular paths include Grizzly Peak, Cathedral Lake, the Hunter Creek Valley and American Lake. Adventure seekers can also take a guided hike up one of Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks. For gear, maps and guides visit the Ute Mountaineer or contact local outfitter Aspen Expeditions. Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES) also offers guided Aspen Mountain hikes and nature walks around town.
11. Locals and visitors can get excited for the 2015 ski season by attending the 11th annual installment of The Meeting, a weekend of snow sports film screenings, fashion shows, music, and industry news presentations, returning to Aspen/Snowmass in early Oct.
12. As an epicenter for cycling, Aspen bikers can choose from the gently sloping Rio Grande Trail, a serene road ride up to the iconic Maroon Bells, a grueling ride up Independence Pass and more. For bicycle rentals and trail, recommendations contact local experts at Aspen Velo or Bike Butlers.
13. Ambitious mountain bike riders can take on the newly acquired, single-track Sky Mountain Park, located in Snowmass Village with views of Aspen, Independence Pass, and Mount Sopris. Bikers who would like to stay closer to town can opt for a climb up Smuggler Mountain Road and a gorgeous decent into the Hunter Creek Valley. For privately guided adventures contact Aspen Alpine Guides.