Hiking Aspen Alley in Nederland / Baby Yuzu’s Third Hike
Last year when I was 5 months pregnant, just days before we found out we were having a girl, we hiked Aspen Alley in Nederland to enjoy the fall foliage. It was a lovely and easy 2-mile hike and we thought it would be nice to re-visit the same location with baby, and that it would be the perfect length of a trail for Yuzu.
Instead of doing the full 2-mile loop as last time, we cut it short by simply hiking out to Aspen Alley and back for a total of 1.3 miles.
The trails are much better marked than they were last year and there are signs you can follow to find Aspen Alley.
It took us two tries to successfully get out to Aspen Alley with baby this year.
My husband took two days off of work – Monday and Tuesday – expecting to go for a hike on Monday, and then relaxing a bit on Tuesday. We headed out to Aspen Alley from Longmont, an approximately 1 hour drive, on Monday morning as soon as I finished feeding Yuzu and pumped, and we got all our stuff together. We got to the trailhead and Yuzu didn’t want to breastfeed much, even though it was time for a meal. We figured that it’s a short trail, so we prepared to go on the hike.
I set Yuzu in the ErgoBaby 360 carrier facing outward so she could take in the scenery. About 0.1 miles into the hike, she started wailing. It was the kind of desperate crying with tears that you can tell won’t stop with simple shushing. We went back to the car. I tried feeding her there to calm her down, but she didn’t want milk.
She did settle down after a little while, so we decided to try again. This time she started crying almost immediately after we got out of the car. We tried to calm her down in the car one more time and then bring her out again. Same result. Since she was obviously not happy, we decided to go back home. Yuzu continued to cry in the car a bit on the way home, but eventually fell asleep.
We decided to try again the next day, but in the afternoon. These days Yuzu has been pretty consistently sleeping for 2 hours in the morning, so we thought that perhaps taking her out in the morning was the mistake the previous day, since the adventure somewhat overlapped with her nap. Also, we thought that maybe she’d be in a better mood if she at least completed her first nap.
The second try worked out somewhat better than the first.
The trail starts out from the parking lot. There is a sign for the trail that leads to Aspen Alley to the left.
About 0.1 miles in there is a turn-off to Aspen Alley to the right that is well marked.
Soon after that, there were a couple copses of bright yellow aspens.
It was quite chilly and windy, so we bundled Yuzu up in a couple layers, including this warm blanket for carriers from Uniqlo on top.
About half a mile in there is fork in the path. We followed the sign pointing to the path straight ahead to continue on to Aspen Alley.
At 0.7 miles in, we reached Aspen Alley. The leaves were not quite at peak, but there were still plenty of golden leaves.
We took some family photos, as well as photos of me and Yuzu together. Yuzu looks a bit grumpy in all of the photos because she was super sleepy.
Yuzu fell asleep after we took our photos and remained asleep for the entire journey back to the car. I kept checking on her to make sure she was ok and didn’t really have the bandwidth to enjoy the forest during that time. But that’s ok. Baby comes first!
Lessons Learned for Hiking with Baby
1) You have to be flexible and even expect setbacks when trying to hike with baby. If you can hike, take it as a win. If you can’t, don’t be disappointed. At least it’s all practice.
2) Bring several types of clothes and layers of clothes for baby. Conditions on the trail might change or be different than you expect.
3) Multiple layers of hats / hoods might be irritating for baby.
4) It’s possible that baby might not like winding mountain roads when driving to trails at higher elevations, and that could have contributed to her fussiness. On the way back it helped to calm her down when we stopped the car a couple times to get out an look at the scenery.
5) I need to practice hiking with baby more to get her used to it. I also need to get myself used to it to the point that I’m not always worrying about her every single moment. Although, really, as a mom, maybe that’s just how it will be from now on!
Recommended as an Easy Trail
Aspen Alley is an easy, accessible, and beautiful trail in Nederland that is a great option for viewing aspen fall foliage. Going out and back to Aspen Alley is only 1.3 miles and a doable hike with baby.
Although we had some challenges, I’m glad we went with Yuzu. It wasn’t an enjoyable or refreshing hike for us, since we were mostly preoccupied with baby, but at least we accomplished our goals of getting in another practice hike for Yuzu and taking some seasonal family photos.