Travel: Watch Fall Colors in Beaver Creek

September 2012

It may not feel like it yet, but fall is right around the corner, which means Colorado’s green aspen groves are about to turn gold. If you’re looking for a little pampering with a tour of the fall foliage, check out Park Hyatt Resort & Spa’s Summit @ The Park hiking package.

All guests who book a five-night stay from September 22 to 27 can explore three of the region’s top trails (including one fourteener) with guide Nate Goldberg, founder of the Beaver Creek Hiking Center. Aside from breathtaking vistas of maize-colored patches spread among thick evergreen forests, the package also includes three mid-hike gourmet lunch picnics along with two sports fusion massages and two reflexology treatments at the luxury resort’s 30,000 square-foot Allegria Spa. (Boot and pole rentals are tossed in as well.)

“I have a set schedule, but I can adjust based on ability levels,” says Goldberg of the trail itinerary. Common destinations include a warm-up six-mile hike to Beaver Lake, a 4.5-mile trek to the Missouri Lakes, and an ascent of Colorado’s tallest peak, 14,433-foot Mount Elbert.

Prices vary depending on the level of accommodations booked, but packages start at $1,900 per person (based on double occupancy). To reserve the five-day package, book online at the Summit @ The Park special offers webpage.

Only interested in a dayhike? Here are three of Goldberg’s favorites:

Beaver Lake: At six miles (roundtrip) and with 1,500 feet of elevation gain, this moderate trail passes through aspens and pines on the way to a lake (hint: stop for a picnic lunch). The route starts at Beaver Creek Ski Resort and stretches to the edge of the Holy Cross Wilderness. “This is a great hike because of its location,” Goldberg says. “If you time it right, you can pick some good raspberries in the last half-mile.”

Ridge Route: The mileage for this Vail Mountain hike can vary between three and five miles roundtrip depending on how aggressive one wants to be, with minimal elevation gain (about 500 feet). The trailhead begins at Adventure Ridge at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola. “There are views of Holy Cross, views of Beaver Creek, and views of the back bowls,” Goldberg says. “Little effort, lots of reward…lots of eye candy.”

Mount of the Holy Cross via the Halo Ridge: Though it is one of the lowest fourteeners in Colorado, Mount of the Holy Cross is no cupcake. Using the exposure-rich Halo Ridge route, the trail climbs more than 5,000 feet and totals 15 miles roundtrip. “The views are extraordinary; this is a route less traveled,” Goldberg says. “It’s a challenging trail.” The hike commences eight miles in from U.S. 24 on Tigiwon Road.

—Image courtesy of Cody Downard