Without insider information, it’s a crapshoot: You head up the hill to Hope Valley, hoping to see the aspens in all their vibrant fall glory, just to discover 1) They’re not ready or 2) All the orange and yellow has blown away already.
We were there this past weekend. This is what it looked like on Sunday, Oct. 9, around noon. Wylder Hope Valley (formerly Sorensen’s Resort) was hopping with visitors, and Highway 88 hosted a number of vehicles parked along the shoulder. People tromped along the roadside, dropping onto the rocks to take selfies, collect dry flowers and reeds and set up real cameras to capture the fall splendor. Puffy clouds scuttled across brilliant blue sky—a few raindrops fell later in the afternoon—while the tawny grasses, spent shrubbery blooms and flame-colored leaves brought cravings for pumpkin spice and apple cider.
The key to good fall color? Cold nights. Hope Valley, at around 7,000-foot elevation, has seen temps dropping into the low-30s, although daytime has been perfect: 70ish, with mild breezes. Bring your sweater, but you might not need it during the day.
To get there: Take Highway 50 east nearly to Meyers; at the traffic circle, turn right to head south on Highway 89. In approximately 12 miles, turn left on Highway 88. You can’t miss the color.