5 Great Spots for Late Season Leaf Peeping Near Vail & Beaver Creak

It's late september and much of the foliage in the area has started to fade, but it's not too late. Here are five great spots in Eagle County all within an easy drive of Vail and Beaver Creek.

 My dog Georgia enjoys a hike along Piney Creek

My dog Georgia enjoys a hike along Piney Creek


1. Lake Creek Road in Edwards

If you are just visiting the Vail area, you may not know about the community of Edwards where many of the local professionals live.  In the far west and south area of Edwards is Lake Creek road.  As you head south on the road, it ascends and gives great views of the Elk Range and Mt of the Holy Cross.  Because of the higher elevation and north facing slopes, the trees turn their colors a few weeks later than most.

2. Piney Creek & Lake

To get to Piney Creek, get ready for a ride on a dirt road.  For this you stay on the north frontage road in Vail and look for Red Sandstone road.  This will be a bumpy drive on a , but any sound passenger car can make it.  The drive itself is scenic and when you drop down into the valley of Piney Creek, you'll have one of the more amazing views in the Rocky Mountains waiting for you.  In the summer and early fall, the privately-owned Piney Ranch has concessions, but this late in the season it will likely be closed.  Park at the trail head walking in past the lake and take in the view!  If you're lucky you'll spot one of the moose that love to frequent the wetlands in the area.

3. Route 24, Cape Hale and Tennessee Pass

For this trip, take I-70 to the Minturn exit and head towards Leadville.  You can head all the way to the Continental Divide at the Tennessee pass (about 30 minutes) or stop anywhere along the way to take in the views.  Camp Hale is a fun side stop and a great place to explore if you have an SUV.

4. Shrine Pass Road

You can take this direct road from either the top of the Vail Pass rest stop on I-70  or from the mountain town of Redcliff, which is on Rt 24 (see #3).  Any SUV can make this trip, as can most passenger cars, but parts are a little bumpy.  I recommend starting at the top of Vail Pass, then heading down to Redcliff, stopping to eat at Mangoe's Bar, a locals favorite.

5. Top of Eagle's Nest Gondola at Vail

The Eagle's Nest gondola is at the Lionshead base at Vail.  Unlike the Vail Village gondola, it gets up to a mountain ridge with 360 degree views of the Gore and Elk Ranges.  The gondola only runs on weekends this time of year.  If you're in Vail or Beaver Creek for the weekend and not interested in a road-trip, this will get you the best view in town.

Whatever you do, enjoy the glorious fall in the mountains!


Kevin R Foote

marketing exec | digital evangelist | trend spotter | outdoor enthusiast | x-Google Kevin Foote is an independent advisor and interim executive for private equity & venture capital firms, investors and their portfolio companies. His focus – rapid growth and capital optimization through the transformation of marketing and sales in the face of digital adoption and the changing customer-corporation dynamic. He and his clients expect rapid execution and results. Kevin's career in marketing, advertising, and strategic planning have nurtured his passion for understanding basic human truths and how individuals' beliefs, perceptions, and preferences are formed. He is focused on forging deep relationships and creating partnerships to unlock big ideas and activate brands through the innovative use of digital marketing and technologies. His blog, The Blurred, explores the overlap of our digital and physical lives. In his recent role at Google, Kevin had the privilege of working closely with the leadership of the world's leading creative and media agencies as a digital marketing evangelist. Prior, Kevin served as the Managing Director of Marketing at United Airlines Mileage Plus, the worlds largest frequent flyer program. However, his roots are deep in the digital domain, having worked at several agencies, including Leo Burnett and Digitas, for over a decade. At Digitas, Kevin was the Group Director of Strategy in the Midwest and Global Account Director on major accounts. He has had the privilege of working with great brands including Crate&Barrell, Purina, Energizer, Whirlpool, KitchenAid, P&G, and Microsoft. His career began in strategy consulting, working at both Braxton Associates (Deloitte Consulting) and Parthenon Group. He received his MBA from Kellogg and holds undergraduate degrees from MIT.