October is the best time to visit Aspen if you want to see the change of seasons and enjoy the spectacular display of fall colors in the Roaring Fork Valley. The weather starts to cool down, and the crowds get smaller, especially toward the end of October when the town gets its first dusting of snow.
If you want to find out what to expect from your visit to Aspen in October, keep reading!
ASPEN WEATHER IN OCTOBER: WHAT IS IT LIKE?
October sees cooler temperatures in Aspen ranging from the mid-’40s to the low 60s. It’s not uncommon to see temperatures plunge as low as the 30s at night, which means you will need warmer clothing, especially if you plan to venture out to higher elevations.
The air is crisp in the morning, but by midday, it usually warms up, and there’s plenty of sunshine, making it a perfect time for hiking and other outdoor activities.
➡️ Find out whether there’s Uber in Aspen
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE WEATHER IN ASPEN DURING OCTOBER
The average high temperatures in October range from around 55 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit (13 to 18 degrees Celsius). The average low temperatures can drop to the range of 25 to 35 degrees Fahrenheit (-4 to 2 degrees Celsius).
October typically brings some precipitation to Aspen. The average monthly precipitation is around 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm). This precipitation can come in the form of rain or snow, depending on the temperature.
While it’s not uncommon to see some snowfall in October, significant snow accumulation is less likely during this month. If snow does occur, it’s more likely towards the end of October as temperatures continue to drop.
Is there snow in Aspen in October?
Aspen usually sees the first snowfall in October, although most of the snow usually falls in the mountains surrounding the town. Still, you should have tire chains for your car and warm clothing, as it’s not uncommon to see the first few inches of snow in Aspen during this time.
➡️ Learn about when it snows in Colorado
When can you fall colors in Aspen?
The best time to see fall colors in Aspen is from mid-September through early October. The aspen trees at higher elevations are the first to show their colors, with the trees at lower elevations following suit later. If you visit Aspen in late October, you might not see any colors high the mountains, but you could still find some golden leaves around town.
TIPS FOR VISITING ASPEN IN OCTOBER:
- Wear layers – one of the top tips for visiting Aspen in October is to pack plenty of layers. Nights and early morning can be chilly in Aspen, while afternoons have pleasantly warm weather with plenty of sunshine, especially in early October before the town sees its first snow.
- Rent a car – If you want to enjoy the best hiking trails in Aspen and surrounding areas and see the golden aspens, you need a car rental. While Aspen has a good public transportation network, you need a vehicle to get to most hiking areas.
- But don’t forget to bike – If a car rental isn’t in your plans, you can explore many Aspen groves surrounding Aspen by bike. Aspen Mountain ski resort usually opens in November, while Snowmass and Buttermilk ski resorts near Aspen open in late November-mid December
- Visit in early October – I visited Aspen in the fall several times, and have seen fall colors completely gone at high altitudes before mid-October. If your goal is to take photos and enjoy the best of the fall foliage, plan your trip for late September-early October.
- Plan your trip for a weekday – Weekends can get busy in Aspen, especially during the peak fall season when many travelers from all over Colorado and out of state come here to snap photos of the golden leaves. If you can, visit Aspen on a weekday to avoid weekend crowds.
- Go for a hike – While there are plenty of scenic drivers around Aspen, there are plenty of cool hikes around Aspen like Smuggler Mountain or Ute trail that you can take to enjoy fall colors.
- Stay hydrated – I can’t stress enough how important it is to stay hydrated. Aspen is located at an altitude of 7,908 feet (2,400 meters) and if you are not used to the high elevation, you can quickly develop symptoms of altitude sickness. Drink plenty of water, and take time to acclimatize, before attempting hikes at high elevations.
BEST THINGS TO DO IN ASPEN IN OCTOBER
Visit downtown Aspen
Downtown Aspen is home to many restaurants, stores, and several museums like Aspen Art Museum or Stallard Museum.
Check out Crystal Mill
Also known as the Old Crystal Mill or the Sheep Mountain Powerhouse, this historic landmark was built in 1892 and served as a power source for nearby silver mines and later for a hydroelectric plant. It’s a well-preserved remnant of Colorado’s mining history about a 45-minute drive from Marble, Colorado, and approximately 1.5 hours from Aspen.
The Crystal Mill is not easily accessible by car. The road leading to the mill, known as the Crystal River Jeep Trail, is rough and recommended for experienced off-road drivers. You can reach the mill by hiking or biking along the trail, which adds to the adventure and allows you to appreciate the natural surroundings.
Take a trip to the nearby Ashcroft Ghost Town, located just outside of Aspen. Explore the well-preserved remains of this former mining town and learn about its history.
One of the most photographed places in Colorado, the Maroon Bells are two iconic peaks in the Elk Mountains just outside of Aspen. Take a scenic drive to the overlook and continue by hiking to Maroon Lake, where you can capture stunning views of the mountains and the surrounding area.
Independence Pass is the highest continuous paved road in the United States that offers incredible views of the surrounding Rocky Mountains. Take an Independence Pass from Leadville, the highest mountain town in the United States by elevation with an altitude of 11,000 feet.
Leadville has an interesting mining history which you can explore in its quaint downtown and is also near Twin Lakes where you can camp, kayak, and paddle board.
CAN YOU SKI IN ASPEN IN OCTOBER?
Although October brings the first snow to Aspen, the skiing season isn’t here yet.
WHAT SHOULD I PACK FOR ASPEN IN OCTOBER?
October brings plenty of cool days to Aspen, especially in the second half of the month. While afternoons still see sunshine and temperatures hover in the low 60s, mornings and nights can get chilly, so it’s essential to pack the right clothing.
Here’s what you should pack if you plan to visit Aspen in October:
- Ankle-length boots
- Comfortable hiking shoes so you can enjoy trails around Aspen
- Long-sleeve shirts and tops
- A breathable jacket
- A windbreaker
- A warm hat
- A pair of gloves
- A hiking backpack
BEST HOTELS IN ASPEN, COLORADO
Aspen is known as one of the most expensive places to visit in Colorado, but you can still save money on your accommodations, if you follow a simple trick: Book your hotels ahead of time.
Here are a couple of options for your vacation in Aspen:
- The Inn at Aspen – A 3-star hotels with a fitness center, a restaurant and a bar. It also has an outdoor swimming pool, air-conditioned rooms with free Wi-Fi, and free airport shuttle.
- St. Regis Aspen Resort – One of the most popular resorts in Aspen, St. Regis is located at the base of Aspen mountain, and has an outdoor pool and ski storage space. On-site restaurants and spa services are also available. Free airport shuttle and private parking.
- Limelight Hotel Aspen – A popular Aspen hotel with an outdoor pool, hot tub and rooftop terrace. Breakfast is served daily.
What airport do you fly into to go to Aspen Colorado?
If you want to fly directly to Aspen, you should book tickets for Aspen/Pitkin County Airport (ASE), which has daily flights from Denver and other destinations from the United States like Houston, Los Angeles, and Chicago. You can also fly into Denver International Airport (DEN) and take a private transfer, rent a car, or use public transportation or ride shares to get to Aspen from there.
BEST RESTAURANTS IN ASPEN
- The Bangkok Happy Bowl – A great Thai restaurant with an outdoor patio that has a separate vegan menu
- Spring Cafe – has sample menu items like vegan spinach and mushroom enchilada, almond flour blueberry pancakes, chickpea carrot veggie burger.
- Aspen Pie Shop – a pizza place that has vegan pizza with vegan parmesan, and a selection of pizzas and salads that can be made vegan upon request.
- Little Ollie’s – a popular Asian restaurant in Aspen that has available vegan options.
- Mawa’s Kitchen Aspen – one of the best places for breakfas, brunch and dinner in Aspen, Mawa offers a nice selection of pancakes, omlelettes and yummy hash browns.
What to wear to dinner in Aspen?
If you are going to dine in Aspen, it’s best to stick to a casual dress code. Leave your ski and hiking outfits in your hotel, but don’t dress up in high heels and club dresses or suits because it’s not a theme here. Wear a casual outfit like a pair of jeans and a dressy sweater or a casual dress and a pair of boots if you are going to a more high-end restaurant.
HOW TO GET TO ASPEN
1. Car Rental
Renting a car in Denver and driving to Aspen is a popular option. You can take Interstate 70 west from Denver to Glenwood Springs, and then take Colorado State Highway 82 south to Aspen.
✅ Check my complete guide to car rentals in Denver
2. Shuttle Service
Several shuttle companies offer transportation services from Denver to Aspen. These companies provide door-to-door service, picking you up at your desired location in Denver and dropping you off at your destination in Aspen.
The shuttle journey takes around 3.5 to 4 hours, depending on traffic and weather conditions. It’s advisable to book your shuttle in advance, as availability may vary.
✅ Click here to book your shuttle from Denver to Aspen
3. Public Transportation
If you are on a budget, you can take public transportation from Denver to Aspen. Start by taking the A Line train from Denver International Airport to Union Station in downtown Denver.
From Union Station, you can catch a Bustang bus operated by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to Glenwood Springs. Once you reach Glenwood Springs, you can transfer to a Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA) bus that will take you to Aspen.
4. Taking a flight
If you prefer a quicker option, you can fly from Denver International Airport (DEN) to Aspen/Pitkin County Airport (ASE). Several airlines offer flights between the two airports, and the flight duration is approximately one hour.
From Aspen/Pitkin County Airport, you can take a taxi, shuttle, or RFTA bus to your final destination in Aspen. Consider your preferences, budget, and schedule when choosing the best method of transportation from Denver to Aspen.
5. Private transportation from Denver Airport to Aspen
Private transportation from Denver to Aspen is the best, hassle-free option which means you don’t have to worry about catching Uber or using public transportation.
6. Uber from Denver to Aspen
If time is short, and you need a quick ride, you can catch an Uber at Denver Airport to Aspen. Don’t expect to get a bargain though, as prices are usually around $170-200 for a one-way ride depending on the timing of your trip.
ASPEN IN OCTOBER: FAQs
What is the best time to visit Aspen?
June through September is the best time to visit Aspen if you want to enjoy outdoor activities, while September and October offer an opportunity to see the spectacular fall colors around Aspen. December through March is a busy winter season in Aspen with many travelers coming to hit the slopes in popular ski resorts like Buttermilk and Snowmass.
Does Aspen close in October?
No, Aspen doesn’t close in October. The town is open year-round, so visitors can enjoy its super outdoor opportunities and fantastic fall colors. Although October is considered a shoulder season, it’s still a perfect time to enjoy the last warm days in the Aspen Valley.
Is October a good month to go to Aspen?
October is a perfect month to visit Aspen when you can get an incredible view of the golden foliage as thousands of Aspens in the valley surrounding Aspen begin to turn gold. Although weekends can be busy, as more people flock to the valley to enjoy the stunning fall display, weekdays are great if you want to avoid crowds.
Are there aspen trees in Colorado in October?
Colorado is famous for its impressive fall foliage, as aspen trees in many mountain towns like Aspen, Telluride, and Crested Butte put on an impressive display of colors from mid-September through October.
Is Aspen Gondola open in October?
Yes, the Aspen gondola is still open in September, but you should always check the hours, as the town begins to transition into the winter season during this month.
Is Aspen a party town?
While Aspen has an impressive number of restaurants and great nightlife for its small size, it’s not known as a party town. Most nightlife in Aspen revolves around breweries and fine dining restaurants where you can try an assortment of wines, and local beer and listen to live music while enjoying your meal.
What is the cheapest time to go to Aspen?
The cheapest time to go to Aspen is during the shoulder season which is from the end of March through May or from mid-October through November before the busy winter season begins.