The end of summer always ushers in a sense of change, and with it comes a show from Mother Nature to mark the occasion. There are plenty of places across the U.S. to take in the vibrant colors of changing leaves, and some are worth the trip to see the dazzling display in person. Inspirato passholders or members aiming to make the most of the monthlong window for optimum autumn leaf-viewing should look no further than these three destinations, all near homes or hotels on the Inspirato Pass trip list.
Home to stunning displays of its namesake trees, Aspen, Colorado, offers some of the best leaf-viewing in the country. Aspens show their full colors through September and early October, but exactly when they change is based on elevation and how far north or south the stands of trees sit—more northerly stands of aspens will show colors sooner.
A trip to Maroon Bells, the most photographed site in Colorado, is the perfect place to witness the glory of the aspens in person, surrounding the snowcapped peaks of the Rockies. But that does require some planning ahead; the area’s access is restricted in the summer and fall for protection due to its popularity. The best way to get to the peaks is via bus, which is in service between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Tickets and parking can be purchased at the Aspen Highlands ski area, just a short drive from any of the Aspen homes available on the Pass trip list.
Pair beautiful fall foliage with stunning ocean views and you’ve got autumn in Coastal Maine. Another can’t-miss New England destination for optimum leaf-peeping, Ogunquit is nestled along the Atlantic Coast, just an hour south of Portland. Stay at the Cliff House, a resort on the Pass trip list that’s perched right on the ocean, from late September to mid-October for the best leaf-viewing opportunities. Take in some of the coastal culture with a stop at Ogunquitfest at the end of October, an annual fall celebration featuring a costume parade, ghostly tours, and pumpkin decorating.
To really immerse in nature, a drive to nearby Mount Agamenticus Conservation Region affords plenty of scenic hikes. Though more of a rolling hill than a mountain, the peak of Agamenticus offers a fire tower for optimum views of the surrounding countryside. It’s also known as one of the top destinations to spot hawks in Maine—watch the feathered creatures riding the breeze above hues of red and orange.
Harbor Country, Michigan
There’s nothing quite like fall in the Midwest, and our list wouldn’t be complete without a nod to the Great Lakes region. Harbor Country, right on the shores of Lake Michigan, offers a laidback locale to peep leaves and relax amid small-town charm. Passholders and members can sprawl in the spacious Grand Beach Estate, with room for up to 14, and take in sweeping views of the lake from the back patio with their morning coffee.
The best time to spot the leaves in this part of Michigan is from late September to early October. Hop in a rental and take to the backroads for dreamy photo ops and plenty of quaint roadside restaurants to stop for a bite. Cyclists might enjoy taking part in the Apple Cider Century, a bike tour on Sept. 29 that’ll take them through the orchards, forests, and wine country around the nearby town of Three Oaks. Celebrate those efforts by winding down with a cider afterward, surrounded by autumnal hues and the serenity that fall’s arrival brings.