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Enjoying Fall at Purgatory

The trees at the Purgatory entrance are beautiful in the fall

Crisp mornings, bluebird skies and gorgeous pops of yellow, orange and red. These are just a few things we love about fall in the mountains! Read on for tips on enjoying fall at Purgatory Resort and maximizing your autumn in the San Juans. 

Where to spot fall leaves

You don’t have to wander far from Purgatory Resort’s base area to witness the beautiful colors. Even the free parking area provides a fantastic view looking east toward the Twilight Mountains! But the best way to take in the views is from the top of the mountain. Hop on a scenic chairlift ride for panoramic vistas and make sure to get off at the summit. Bring a picnic lunch and soak in the scenery, or amble along the forest roads or open ski runs for a closer glimpse. Morning and afternoon activity tickets (offered Saturdays and Sundays plus Labor Day through October 4) include unlimited access to scenic chairlift rides, plus many other activities.

Mountain bikers will love meandering through the blazing aspen stands on the Purgatory Bike Park trails. Novice riders will enjoy the fun and flowing berms on the Shangri-La trail, while pros will have a blast ripping advanced trails like Pirate, Links and World Cup. Bike park tickets can be purchased online in advance for a contactless transaction.

The alpenglow casts a soft evening light on the changing leaves on a fall evening

Colorful nearby hikes

The San Juan Mountains around Purgatory Resort offer world-class hikes. Here are a few of our favorite trails for checking out fall colors:

Purgatory Flats Choose your own adventure as you meander through aspen groves and take in alpine viewpoints. The full trail descends 4.5 miles to the Animas River, but for a shorter hike turn around whenever you are ready (the trail is gentle but remember you’ll be going uphill on the way back!). Located just across Highway 550 from Purg on the south side of Twilight Lake.

Cascade Creek This mellow trail slowly gains 800 feet of elevation spread over 4 miles and is great for all ages and ability levels. There are paths on both the east and west side of the creek making for a pleasant loop. Located 2.5 miles north of Purg on the west side of Highway 550.

Castle Rock Take the Elbert Creek trail through aspen groves and alpine meadows to a stunning viewpoint of the San Juan Mountains. At just over 5 miles roundtrip, this trail is rated moderate to advanced so remember to bring water and take breaks as needed. Located 3 miles south of Purg on the west side of the road.

Need a ride? Our transportation team offers service from the resort to select local trailheads.

Stay in the Mountains

With so much stunning scenery, fun activities and local trails, you’re going to want at least a couple of days to explore! Purgatory Resort offers vacation rentals ranging from slope-side hotel rooms to 5-bedroom homes, all complete with awesome amenities. Book your fall getaway today for as low as $89!

The Leaves Start turning around Purgatory Resort in late August or early September.

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