Thar’s gold (leaves) in them thar hills

The aspens in Hope Valley on Friday morning before the Aspen Festival.

The aspens in Hope Valley on Friday morning before the Aspen Festival.
Photo by Kurt Hildebrand.


The aspens are turning color in Hope Valley and so is the traffic light at the bridge over the West Fork.

Work on the bridge at the top of Woodfords Canyon has traffic down to one lane, so visitors may find themselves stopped briefly before they get to the main event.

Cooler temperatures and shorter days have the trees trading their green raiment for gold just in time for the Alpine County Aspen Festival.

The festival will have activities in both Hope Valley and Markleeville through the weekend.

The Friends of Hope Valley will be guiding hikes and outdoor activities 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Picketts Junction, where highways 88 and 89 meet. Visitors will be able to check out the fall colors while learning about Hope Valley’s history and ecology.

Saturday, the first Leaf Peepers Chili Cookoff and Crafters Fair will be held at the Library Park in Markleeville. Tasting kits for the Chili Cookoff are $5 each and may be purchased on site. Proceeds benefit Alpine Kids. Tasting kit sales begin at 11:30 a.m., with the cookoff 12:30-3 p.m.

A Crafters Fair both days at Library Park, where the Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway Association will be presenting live music featuring indie folk rock and acoustic band Ten Dollar Pony from noon to 3 p.m. Opening for Ten Dollar Pony will be guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Beans Sousa.

Admission to all events except the Chili Cookoff is free. For more information about the Aspen Festival, visit

More information about Alpine County is available at or calling (530) 694-2475.


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