We love being surrounded by Quaking Aspen Trees in our valley. Watching the change from summer to fall is very dramatic and celebrated with driving tours, bike rides, hikes, gondola rides, and a lot of pictures taken to capture the memories of this spectacularly amazing transformation of color. We get a lot of questions about the trees so we thought we would share some fun facts with you!
Quaking – Often referred to the visual show and the musical sound when the iconic shaped leaves shimmer in the breeze.
Tall – While not the tallest tree in the forest, these white-barked trees are generally about 20- 80 feet in height.
Stand – A group of Aspen trees is called a Stand. In a stand, each tree is a genetic replicate of the other or a “clone.”
Large Single Organism – A stand of aspen trees is connected by their roots under the soil. It is the largest single organisms, by area, on Earth.
Elevation – Quaking Aspen are found between 5,000 to 11,500 feet.
Orange, Yellow, Gold – Aspen trees change color as the days get shorter, the photosynthetic activity changes, chlorophyll disappears for these deciduous trees.
Vibrancy of Colors – Some years the leaves seem even brighter than others, dryer weather and sunny days mean more sugars in the leaves. Too hot or too cold can both make the colors a bit dimmer.
The Peak of Fall Colors –Summer and Fall weather play a major factor as to when the Aspen Trees are at their peak of color. Generally, we see the peak around the 3rd and 4th week of September.
Wind – Nature has a way of constantly changing in the mountains. At times, the wind blows the Aspen leaves into a whirl of color, the leaves take flight, twirling in the air, then land on the ground creating a beautiful golden path.
Winter – The Aspen tree grows year-round, even under the snow.
Best Place for Viewing – Right here in town you can see the Quaking Aspen on the mountainsides. Many people opt for a hike in the Aspen area or a Silver Queen Gondola Ride.
Visiting Maroon Bells
Of course, if you’ve never visited the majestic Maroon Bells, you surely should plan an outing there in the fall. Visitors and photographers come from all over the world to see this special place that is so breathtaking, you really need to see it.
Keep in mind that you cannot take a car to Maroon Bells and Maroon Lake between 8 am and 5 pm. Here are suggestions for planning your day trip:
Save yourself a parking fee by walking to the Rubey Park Transit Center in downtown Aspen then hop on the free Castle/Maroon Bus which will take you to the Aspen Highlands Village Parking. There you will pay a small fee to ride the Maroon Bells bus. During the 20-minute ride you will learn about the history and geographical features of this region. Buses depart and arrive several times throughout the hour so pack a lunch, and a jacket then spend some time engulfed by the majestic beauty of the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness. Last bus leaves the Bells at 5 pm.
Check out these sites for More information on the beautiful Quaking Aspen: