Hiking Aspen Alley in Autumn
My husband and I were looking for trails within an hour of Boulder that featured the lovely autumn foliage of aspen trees. Aspen Alley is located just outside Nederland, which is still in Boulder County.
The Aspen Alley hike is just over 2 miles long with less than 200 ft elevation gain. This easy hike features aspen trees along the central trail that turn beautiful golden yellow before they shed their leaves for winter. It is a great spot to take seasonal photos.
If you go during the week, there are hardly any visitors and you can enjoy the fall foliage to your heart’s content.
We did this hike at the end of September, when the aspen leaves were close to peak yellow.
The trails in this area are not well marked, so we actually took a slightly different path than the Aspen Alley Trail Loop hike listed on AllTrails. It turns out that I think we hiked along a better trail for aspens, but I recommend using a GPS tracking app such as Gaia GPS, HikingProject, or AllTrails to watch where you are going.
The trail starts out behind the parking lot. We took the trail that heads to the left.
Soon we came out into a meadow, followed by a copse of aspen trees.
It was a nice spot to take some seasonal photos.
After passing through this bunch of aspens, the trail passes through a meadow with a view of the mountains and Nederland down below –
At the end of the meadow there is another copse of aspen trees to the right –
In this area the aspens had not fully turned yet.
After the curve you come out into another meadow with mountain views before reaching Aspen Alley.
A Note on Junctions
Unfortunately, the trails are not well marked in this area, so I recommend consulting a GPS tracking app. At the first junction you turn right, and at what appears to be a second junction on the map, keep left / straight (although we couldn’t find the right-hand path when we were there).
We spent most of our time on this hike taking pictures of this beautiful spot. Here is just a selection of the pictures we took of this area –
The Return Journey
After passing through the highlight of the hike, you continue on to a junction at mile 0.9 and turn left.
There is another junction about 0.1 mile later that leads down to the road. Stay on the trail, keeping left.
The path winds around and heads back to the parking lot. Along the way there are patches of aspen trees and some views of mountains in the distance.
After a short uphill…
…you come out into an open area with some lovely views –
After that, the trail heads back through some more aspen and pine tree forest.
You pass by the original junction again and head back to the parking lot along the trail that you started on.
Recommended as an Easy Hike for Fall Foliage
Aspen Alley is an easy, but lovely hike that likely shines at its best during the peak aspen fall foliage season. The ease and beauty of this trail make it a great option for a family-friendly or pregnancy-friendly hike. If you go during the week, as we did, there are hardly any visitors and you can enjoy the fall foliage to your heart’s content.
For those that live in Boulder County in particular, I think it can be a good alternative fall foliage hike for those who don’t want to travel more than an hour to famous (and likely busier) leaf-peeping trails such as Kenosha Pass.