Each year, the concierge teams at The Little Nell and The Limelight hotels in Aspen get asked the same question: “When will the fall colors be at their peak?” They don’t ACTUALLY know the answer to that, since weather has more to say about it than they do; however, they can share their tips for enjoying fall colors with adventure and fun. Here is a curated list from Pat Vaughan, adventure concierge at The Limelight Hotel, and Steven Goff, chief adventure concierge at The Little Nell:
1. Road biking. Fall colors are stunning, and there’s no better way to see them than from the saddle of a road bike, pedaling up some fresh asphalt (or “summer corduroy” as we like to call it). Rent a bike from Four Mountain Sports’ many locations.
2. Wet a line. Take to the rivers and enjoy some late-season fly fishing on the Roaring Fork or Frying Pan Rivers. Adventures with The Little Nell offers a gourmet guide services that include lunch served streamside, with wine paired by a master sommelier, for an extremely civilized morning or afternoon in the mountains. Fish caught in private waters may also be prepared by the chef at element 47 that evening.
3. Take a scenic flight or helicopter. Gateway Canyons Air Tours offers both and flies from the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport, while The Little Nell will add a European-style catered lunch at a rustic cabin near the Maroon Bells wilderness.
4. Downhill mountain biking. The lifts at Snowmass will spin on weekends through September, so lift-served downhill mountain biking will definitely include those golden aspens we all know and love. Be sure to grab lunch at the new Elk Camp Restaurant, and enjoy more than 50 miles of trail.
5. Go for a scenic drive up Independence Pass, on Kebler Pass or McClure Pass. You can’t go wrong here. Both The Little Nell and Limelight Hotel offer complimentary Audi vehicles to their guests, so grab the keys and go. Or book a Jeep Tour with The Little Nell Adventures, and leave the driving to a professional (we don’t need pavement where we’re going).
6. Pedal the Rio Grande Trail to the Woody Creek Tavern on a cruiser bike. If you are staying at The Little Nell or The Limelight Hotel, use one of the free fleet for guests, or rent one from Four Mountain Sports. If you have one too many margaritas at the legendary Hunter S. Thompson’s old haunt, take a taxi back to town, or arrange a ride from the hotel.
7. Bring Fido and play fetch in Wagner Park. There are SO many dog-friendly hotels in Aspen, including The Limelight and The Little Nell. And then pamper the pooch with a selection from the pet menu at The Little Nell, like salmon with brown rice and vegetables or gourmet doggie biscuits.
8. Take a hike. Smuggler Mountain, the Ute Trail, and many of the trails up Castle Creek are beautiful spots to take in the colors. Just ask us our favorites at the moment.
9. Get your cowboy on. Join The Little Nell Adventures on a horseback outing. Short trips, as well as overnight expeditions, are available. Don’t forget to outfit yourself with a hat from Kemo Sabe before you mount your horse.
10. Dine al fresco. During the day, grab a spot on the Ajax Tavern patio to view Aspen Mountain’s colors, or head up the gondola to the Sundeck on Aspen Mountain for lunch and stunning views from 12,000 feet. Or hang out on one of The Limelight’s outdoor terraces and roast marshmallows. The possibilities are endless.
The Little Nell and Limelight Hotel both are offering deals for fall, including complimentary fly fishing; biking packages; 25% off and more. Colorado Local Rates are also available during much of the fall color season. Rates at The Little Nell are $169/night for Colorado residents with identification, while The Limelight rates are $139. Based on availability. Some blackout dates apply.
The Little Nell is a year-round destination hotel at the foot of Aspen Mountain and the only five star, five diamond property in Aspen. For more information and reservations, please call 970-920-4600 or 888-843-6355. Or visit www.thelittlenell.com.
The Limelight Hotel is Aspen’s newest hotel, offering guests the best of mountain adventure in a contemporary and relaxed atmosphere. Dogs welcome. More at www.limelighthotel.com.