I don't know what it is about the combination of yellow aspen trees + quiet mountains, but I could sit amongst it all forever. 

Echo lake was one of the first places we went to right after moving to Colorado in 2014. Being the amateur Coloradans we were at the time, we were one of the only people at the lake on a cold December Saturday. The lodge was closed, lake was frozen over, and our kids managed to scream for the entire trip there and back. 

I was itching to redeem that trip and fall seemed like the best time to do so. 

With family in town, we caravanned our way to Echo lake. Luckily, I have learned to always throw our hats, gloves, vests, and scarves into the car to prepare for "just in case" temperatures. As soon as we stepped out of the car we were hit by frigid winds and immediately bundled up.

Colorado weather continues to surprise me! 

Thankfully the sun is almost always shining so we warmed up quickly and made our way around the lake to take a few pictures and check out Chicago Lakes Trail. That particular trail is stunning, but not doable with kiddos as it is 10 miles round trip. Luckily, the first half mile is gorgeous and gives you spectacular views with not much elevation change. A perfect little jaunt if you need something short. 

After spending about an hour hiking, we headed back to the lake and found a spot to let the boys play around in the water. The sun felt so good as we sat and took in the views, enjoying some time of rather peaceful play between the boys. I try to get lost in these types of moments as they are far and few between in this stage of parenthood. 

The boys eventually lost their patience for staying in one spot so we packed everyone back up in the car and drove a few minutes up the road to Echo Lake Lodge. I went in to get us some lunch. While waiting for my to-go order, I noticed their famous cream pies they have apparently been making from scratch for 65 years. 

And you guessed it. Chocolate, peanut butter cream pie came home with us. 

On the way home, Daniel and I snuck in bites of pie in the front seat. Let me assure you, it was the best cream pie I have ever had. Please get some if you are ever there! FYI: They do close for the season at the beginning of September. 

Our trip home was even more beautiful than the drive up as the sun was lower and beaming straight through the aspens. It looked as though the mountains were on fire with the groves of aspens lit up by the afternoon light. 

I assure you, there were still plenty of crazy toddler moments during this trip, but all-in-all Echo Lake was redeemed. 

What are your favorite places to explore in your area during the fall?