With snow consistently in the forecast for the next week, the fall hiking season seems to be coming to an end. However, for those still wanting to get out and stretch their legs good hiking can still be found. Whether you stay local and deal with the snow, or drive west to the desert—snow in the forecast isn’t a true excuse to stay in. Here are a few suggestions, tips, and tricks for getting out in the next week!
- Chase Fall Colors in Fruita!
Although driving 2 hours west doesn’t truly fit as a “Vail Area Hike of the Week”, it is desert season and the locals know it. Fall colors on the Cottonwoods are at peak right now in Grand Junction & Fruita, and it is a great time to explore some hikes out of our backyard. The McInnis Canyons Conservation area near Fruita has a stunning diversity of Canyonlands and desert hiking. Find a trail down to, or along the Colorado River for fall colors or hike into Rattlesnake Arches or Mee Canyon for classic desert scenery. If Fruita is too far a drive for your weekend adventure, check out some of the trails in Glenwood Canyon Fall is a great time for a hike up Grizzly Creek or Hanging Lake!
- Pick Your Aspect
For those that can’t make the drive, plenty of Eagle Valley Trails dry up quickly if you know where to look. Focus on trails that are south facing. At 7,500 feet, Avon is right in between Colorado’s Montane and Foothills zones. What this means for hiking is that on the south side of the highway you will find pinon pine, juniper, and shrub communities, plenty of sun, and dry trails. The trails of the Avon Preserve, June Creek Trail, and Berry Creek Trail (all in Avon or Edwards) are great shoulder season choices!
- Dress for Winter!
Finally, for those who are un-deterred by a little snow all of the valley’s best trails are still hike-able, and you will likely have them to yourselves. Make sure to wear your water proof boots, put on a pair of gaiters, and maybe throw some hot tea or coffee in your backpack! Until our snowpack gets over 8-10 inches, it is probably best to leave the snowshoes at home. However, once we do build a base and there is enough snow to snowshoe, remember that there is also enough snow to avalanche and leave the steep, alpine hikes for next summer (or at least later in the winter when the snowpack is more stable)!
Enjoy the last few weeks of fall hiking wherever your boots take you, and be warm and safe out there!